To the Doctor Who Treated Me Poorly — Thank You

To the doctor who treated me poorly,

You probably don’t remember me. I’m sure I was just another patient in a day full of appointments. However, you changed my life. You see, when I came into your office, I was full of hope. You were a joint specialist, and I was a patient with a disorder that specifically affects my joints. I thought if anyone understood my illness, it would be you.

Instead, you claimed to be an expert on my illness, then proceeded to spread misinformation. You told me that the symptoms I have could not possibly exist anywhere except in my mind. You questioned the veracity of my claims and made me feel insignificant. Ultimately, you made me cry, and I think I was angrier about that than I was during the entire appointment.

As time passed, however, I realized you did me a favor. Before I met you, I thought I could trust medical professionals to have all the answers. Now I know that you and I are a team. When I go into an appointment with a new doctor, it is my responsibility to do my homework. I have to read medical journals pertaining to my case and be prepared to ask questions. I have to bring my relevant medical records to the appointment, rather than depending on you to have that information. I prepare for days before my appointment to ensure that the 15 minutes I get of my doctor’s time is as fruitful as possible.

So, I thank you. You have made me an advocate for myself and for my chronic illness friends. As I reflected on my appointment with you, I realize I should have handled it differently. While I believe I had every right as a patient to expect you to listen to my concerns, I know now that I also had the right to be a strong and educated patient. You taught me that it is OK to speak up for myself, especially when I know I’m the most educated person in the room regarding my specific case. You taught me a painful but powerful lesson that day.

It’s hard to thank a person for hurting you, but with pain comes growth. I’ll be honest; I will probably never return to you as my doctor. However, I will always be grateful for what I learned the day I visited your office and the days that followed. It’s my responsibility to advocate for myself. By belittling me, you eventually empowered me. I am proud of the person I became as a result of our meeting, and for that, I will always be thankful.

Follow this journey on My Crazy Chronic Life.

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