An Open Letter to My Doctor


I am a person. A woman. Someone with feelings. I am more than a ½ hour of your time. I am a person who is in pain. I come to you because I need your help. I need you because other people need me.

I don’t want to be sick. I don’t want to be limited. I don’t want to use a cane or call attention to myself. I sure as hell do not want to be in chronic pain. Making this appointment is more hassle than I’d like, but again, I need you. I hate that I do, but I do. I need your help.

So… when I come to you, what do you see? I don’t know. The way you treat me, it seems like I am a bother. You say I am a “puzzle” to you, but you don’t seem interested in the challenge. When I ask how best I can care for myself, you do not offer up suggestions. You just make sure to tell me that you won’t be writing me any prescriptions for pain because you don’t do that. So dear doctor, I am asking you, what DO I do?

By the way, talking to me the way you do, it doesn’t help. You may not choose to see it this way, but I am important. I balance a very delicate eco-system, one that depends on me and my activity. I can’t just give up and I won’t. I have a kid who needs me. I have a husband who can’t do it alone. I have a job that is important. I render services that are needed. I have a daycare provider who relies on me for income. I have responsibilities and obligations. I have wants and I have needs. What you tell me when you dismiss me like this is that I am not important. When you make appointments for me without consideration of my life or schedule, you reinforce that my life is not important. Trying to make a 7:30 am appointment on a half day notice when you are a full time employee, wife, mom and boss is like trying to reschedule the DC metro on a whim. Thanks, I needed MORE to do, in all this pain.

When you make a point of telling me I’ll have to go to a pain clinic (and don’t mention to me what that means, where they are or what they do), you treat me like I am an addict. Like I am someone who has abused your confidence. You act as though I am searching to abuse meds. You don’t treat me like the responsible person I am. Walking and driving in a rage of pain because my cargo is too precious to risk taking a pain killer and we have places to be. You see me wince. You see the lack of nerve response. You have my chart. You know I have debilitating disease. What the hell is wrong with you?

I am failing at life right now. Despite all I am doing, what is getting noticed is where I am falling short. My mother-in-law who is mad at me because I haven’t called to tell her how I am doing. My new employee who has had to be trained by others because all of a sudden I have a million doctor appointments. My husband who also sees me struggling, but takes every opportunity to be away and sucks his teeth and rolls his eyes every time he has to do something I simply cannot do. My daughter who just wants me to leap like Angelina Ballerina and play with her, but knows that I am hurt, yet does not understand. My colleagues… when I don’t feel like I am measuring up to my duties because I am distracted by pain and new limitations and grief and worry. Hell, I’m mad at me. I had a threesome with Ben & Jerry last night. I know gaining weight will not help, but neither Ben nor Jerry ask anything of me and frankly, I need comfort. I sure as hell am not getting that from you.

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