When a Nurse Responded to My Pain by Saying I Don’t ‘Have God in My Life’

By the time I officially got diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, I was very sick. I had been fighting it for three years, and my body had been through a lot. One night I was having terrible pain and throwing up, so a family member took me to the hospital. I was not there expecting a cure, but I did hope for some pain control and maybe a little compassion. However, that was not exactly what I received.

Right after the doctor had come in, a nurse appeared. I was still newly diagnosed and having a lot of trouble with facing that this could be my life. My whole life was now nothing but pain, hospital trips and horrible medication. I expressed my pain and the fact that my condition may never get better to the nurse. I will never forget what she said next.

She looked at me and said, “You obviously do not have God in your life.” I was shocked. My faith has always been strong. I could not even understand why this nurse would make that statement. She then told me, “God wouldn’t let this happen to you.” I was speechless for the first time in my life. At that point, I just laid there. I’m not proud that I didn’t stand up for myself at that point, but I simply had no words to express how I felt about what she had just said to me.

Today however, I do have some words for her or anyone else who feels that way.

Disabilities, chronic illness and serious, life-altering injuries happen. They happen to good people, bad people, young people and old people. Nothing I personally did caused my disease. I have bad genes. I am not ashamed of that.

It has been several years since that night in the ER left me shocked and confused. I will still never forget those words, but it has also led me to advocate for those of us with rare, chronic diseases. So for that, I am thankful for that night.

The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a moment when you were at a hospital and a medical staffer, fellow patient or a stranger made a comment that caught you off guard. How did you respond to it? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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