(TW: Bad doctors, depression, suicidal thoughts, infertility, endometriosis)
Do you know what it's like to never see a doctor that treats you with respect? Do you know what it's like to constantly be spoken to like you're a child, like you're stupid, like it's your own fault something is wrong with you? Do you know what it's like to see a doctor who doesn't listen, who never pays attention, who doesn't care? A doctor who tells you there's something wrong with you for having HPV- that you're dirty and should be ashamed. Do you know what it's like to see a doctor who, instead of referring you to a specialist or trying to find a cause, continues to prescribe increased doses of ibuprofen for your intense cramping around your period, so much ibuprofen that it ends up wearing a hole in your stomach lining that a surgeon says is days away from becoming a bleeding ulcer? Do you know what it's like to cry because you can't swallow food or lie on your stomach because of the pain? Do you know what it's like to tell a doctor you're allergic to something, only to have her use it on you anyway? Do you know what it feels like to have an allergic reaction inside your surgical incisions, and all around your abdomen? Do you know what it feels like to ask a doctor to do something during elective surgery, only to wake up and find out that she didn't do it because she "didn't feel like it"? Do you know what it's like to be told, at age 15, that because your periods are so irregular and painful you won't be able to have children? Do you know what it's like to have that hanging over your head for 12 years? Do you know what it's like to complain of intense pain, pain so bad it makes you throw up, pain so bad it makes you pass out, pain so bad that whenever you have your period you have to be taken out of school because you cannot function? Do you know what it's like to be told it's all in your head? That you need to toughen up, because you're a big baby? Do you know what it's like to KNOW something is wrong with you but no doctor will give you any suggestions, or answers? No doctor will even try. Do you know what it feels like to be told for TEN YEARS that your problem is all in your head, that you are just a wimp, that ibuprofen will solve all your problems and if it can't, well, nothing can be done for you?
Do you know how it feels to finally have an answer? A diagnosis? Reasons and solutions and medical help? That feeling… I can't even describe it. It's like finding out you're not insane. It's like finding out that the problem isn't you- the problem is everyone else. The problem is that no one would listen. But you will be ok.
Except… There's still that nagging thought. You don't know if you can have kids. And months pass and then years and you realize that as time goes by, your chances are getting slimmer and slimmer and you have got to find a doctor willing to help you. You have got to find a doctor who will listen, who will care, who will help you.
I have had some horrible OB-GYNs. I could name them, but I don't want to doxx myself here- I like to pretend that no one can find me, even though realistically I'd be fairly easy to find if someone wanted to. I have had some awful doctors and some really horrible OB-GYNs and basically, medical care for me was a nightmare even before I lost my health insurance. And I had really good insurance. It covered everything. I even got money back for my hospital stay when I got my breast implants. It was good insurance.
But today I had an appointment with a doctor who was calm. She was nice. She listened to my questions, my story, and my medical history. She made notes, she interjected, she offered suggestions and she told me what I needed to do. When I asked for tests, she ordered them. When I asked for information about infertility, she told me where to go. She prescribed medicine I told her worked for me, rather than telling me it was all some kind of "trick" the pharmaceutical companies use. She didn't scare me, she didn't worry me, she just did. Her. Job.
And she did it well.
I am on Medi-Cal. I receive aid from the government because I don't make enough money to afford to pay for health insurance out of my pocket. I have spent the last four months being dehumanized, demeaned, and treated like garbage. I have been shamed, I have been yelled at, and I have been ready to die.
Except today? Today I finally found a doctor who listened. She helped me. She cared. She did everything a doctor is supposed to do. She didn't give me free medication or a coupon for a massage. She did exactly her job.
And suddenly, suddenly I don't feel like all the lights have gone out. Everything, everything right now is so hard. It's so hard and I have been so desperate. And I have no idea what is going to happen. I have no idea if I'll be able to have kids. But for the first time in my life a doctor actually told me things we can do- things I have APPOINTMENTS for, not just things to do in the future sometime. Actual things I have actual appointments for. She listened, she cared, and I feel like maybe I can start to let go of the anger I have at being so horribly mistreated at my prior OB-GYN's office. I was in tears when I left because I have never felt so good in my life. I've never felt so…