Friday, February 17, 2012

Listen Up!

Do you ever feel like you’re in a sound-proof screaming at the top of your lungs?

Over the years, I’ve often felt this way in medical settings. Be it at an appointment, or in a hospital bed, sometimes it feels like no one is listening to me. When I’m stuck in the hospital and woken up at some terribly early hour only to be judged and pigeonholed by a team of doctors who likely don’t know my middle name or anything worthy about me, I shut up and sit there and ignore them.

Now, that’s all fine and dandy, except for the fact that they’re the ones holding the prescription pads and the ones ordering the tests - in other words, the ones who are in immediate charge of my medical future. Doctors preach being involved in your care, writing things down, making your own decision, and yet most doctors I’ve encountered maintain their preconceived notion of me, no matter how much I fight against it and demand to be my own person. 

At the end of the day, I am responsible for my health. I am responsible for being heard, even if I have to run down the hall screaming and be chased by security (this hasn’t happened but I wouldn’t put it past myself). The other day I visited a good friend in the hospital. It was bizarre walking the halls as a visitor and not a patient, an experience I haven’t had in months upon months, and make my way to her room amidst the crowd of doctors and nurses. Her Mom and her recounted the frustrating stories of one doctor saying one thing and another saying something different, of feeling up to their eyeballs in opinions. How is someone possibly supposed to make a sound decision? We are often given selective information, like breadcrumbs down a certain path, and rarely have the amount of time and support to make the decision that best coincides with our bodies and our beliefs. 

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, or right before I swing myself from my bed in the morning, I unearth a medical memory. Often they’re painful ones, ones where I butted heads with doctors and had to fight - sometimes when I won, and sometimes when I suffered a loss. But at the end of the day, I made it through, scars and all, mostly in one piece. 

There are certain things I know about my life - I will always love Grey’s Anatomy (hello Patrick Dempsey), bananas will always be a staple in my diet, I will always lip-sync to music as I run (attractive, yes), and I will never stop speaking up for myself. 

You have a voice. I have a voice. And together, we are loud and we are powerful and we will be heard.


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