I saw a new doctor today and now I’m beyond exhausted. Sitting up is unpleasant. I feel like my whole body is screaming at me to go rest on the couch with the tv and some popcorn. And who am I to deny my body what it wants? So this will be short.
The doctor I saw specializes in hard cases. He also sees a lot of patients with fatigue. Still, I was doubtful, and I think he could tell. He asked a lot of question – the most thorough questioning I’ve ever received (and I’ve received quite a bit!) At one point he asked if I ever get pins & needles anyplace. I said yes, and told him where. Then he asked if any of my doctors had ever addressed it. I was shocked to realized I hadn’t discussed it with them. Well, I had told one, but he said it was nothing. This guy disagreed. I tried to explain that I always filter what I tell doctors, trying to focus on the biggest issues, so they don’t think I’m a hypochondriac or something. He immediately understood, and said that he knows it’s common for patients to be ignored if they mention too many symptoms. It was amazing! He got it!
But there was one thing that wowed me more than any other. More than once, he uttered those three little words that every patient with a hard (or impossible) to diagnosis illness wants to hear: “I believe you.” I can’t tell you how amazing that felt. Here was a doctor who had read a 2-inch thick pile of my medical records, listened to my story once, and believed me! I don’t think this has ever happened to me before! Sure, I’ve had doctors believe me, but usually I don’t know that they believe me until after several visits, or maybe months or years of treatment. I know that my parents believe me. So do some friends. Other so-called friends (now ex-friends) did not believe me. Employers did not believe me. Strangers did not believe me. And yes, doctors and other medical professionals did not believe me.
I don’t know if he saw my tears. I didn’t want to call attention to them, but I didn’t want him to think I was upset. I was just so relieved! He believed me. He believed me. THE DOCTOR BELIEVED ME!
Since this is a short post, here’s a related bonus. I am so sick and tired of trying to convince people that my illness and disability are real. I am also tired of trying to convince them that ableism is real. Same with sexism and biphobia. So while this article is about sexism, I think it can be equally applied to all of the other -isms. I’m looking for justice and equality. I am happy to educate the uneducated. I will not tolerate the hateful.