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Doctors Suck!


     It's a familiar story for many of us with chronic or rare diseases.  At first no one can figure out what illness you have.  Your symptoms are alarming; they significantly disrupt your life.  A new mission has presented itself, you go from doctor to doctor looking for help.  I wish those doctors knew just how hard it is to drag yourself out of bed when your whole body hurts and you are tired beyond fatigue.  I wish they understood the vulnerability of sitting there as a preteen, teen, and young adult laying my life bare.  The truth is that I battle with feelings of shame about my illness.  It isn't easy telling a doctor who is a complete stranger, regardless of their degree, that I need help to bathe or that I generally don't get out of bed ,except to pee.  Doctors responded to my confessions with, "what do you do all day?"  I found that emotionally crippling.  I felt completely judged.
     Every doctor you see tells you "It's all in your head," and refers you to a psychologist.   Or  they run every test they deem worthwhile and when the tests come back normal say, "you're just trying to get attention."  Maybe you heard it was "just stress" and "you're type A, it's common in girls like you."  One doctor told me I was just "afraid to go to college."  This doctor believed I made the whole thing up just to get out of having to leave my parents and move away to school (Although she also told me I'd never be able to go to college and to give up on that "nice dream").  Another said, "look what you've done to yourself" after I'd had an awful dystonic reaction to CT contrast.  She didn't understand chemical sensitivities or anything else my body was going through.  More importantly, none of these doctors  believed me.  
     The only three MDs who I have found helpful have all personally experienced the illnesses they treat(ed).  Maybe empathy in doctors cannot be taught but only experienced.  This theory works for me because I want to be a doctor and am currently working towards this goal.  Sadly, when I was first bed-ridden for a long time I thought I would have to give up this career aspiration.  I remember telling my mom "I can't be a doctor, I HATE them!!!"  And honestly, I had a right to.  Doctors have mistreated and abused me because I don't fit their profile.  My body does not react the way they have been taught it will and when this happens they either call me crazy, call me a liar, pass me on to another doctor, or give up.  
     But now I understand that I have a calling to be a doctor, like those three that have helped me, that will put patients first.  And if you too have gone through this mistreatment, which I know many of you have, I'm sorry.  I am invested in helping to create a future where this happens less.  Our numbers are growing.  The younger generation is the most chronically ill ever and as the baby boomers age, they are also becoming chronically ill.  The need for doctors, nurses, pcas and every type of medical staff that simply doesn't suck is at an all time high and climbing. 


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