The Unique Way My Doctor Handled My Delayed Test Results


This week, I spent a couple of days in the emergency room. I went into urinary retention, likely because the muscles or nerves in my bladder were affected. I was catheterized for the first time and pretty uncomfortable and in pain, and to be honest, scared. My dad decided to let my geneticist know I was in the hospital and what was going on. She had only met him one time months and months ago, but as soon as she saw him she said, “You’re Michelle’s dad, right?” She went on to tell him she had a busy day ahead of her but that she’d try to stop by. Because she’s a busy, in-demand doctor with tons of patients, I knew she’d try her best but probably wouldn’t be able to make it.

Many people were coming in and out of my room throughout the day. Orderlies restocking the cupboards, nurses checking my vitals and volunteers bringing meal trays. I was shocked when one of the knocks on the door was from my geneticist. She sat on my bed in a motherly way and asked me if I was OK and stayed for over half an hour talking to us.

I had been wondering about my gene tests and why the results hadn’t came in, and without even asking, she told me that she was wondering the same thing and had been calling the lab a few times to nag them. I was in disbelief. This doctor who has so many sick patients actually cared enough about my situation to keep a close eye out for my results. This was so new to me.

Over the past two years, I’ve had so many doctors, all of them overrun with patients and so stressed out and busy that they couldn’t even remember who I was, let alone which tests they ordered during my last visit. And here was my doctor, just as busy as all the others, taking her time to come see me, remembering my father after one brief meeting and nagging a lab about my test. Usually it’s the patient who has to nag about their results! She’s looking out for me in the same way I look out for myself, the same way my mother would look out for me, and that’s all I can ask.

To anyone reading this and thinking, “Man, I wish I had a doctor like that,” my advice is don’t settle. You deserve a doctor like this. I wished for so long to find a doctor who would advocate for me, and when I least expected it, she came. Don’t lose hope. They’re not easy to find, but they’re out there. Don’t settle for a doctor who makes you feel like a number. You deserve a Dr. B.

young woman in hospital

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