To the New Doctor at My Practice, From an Undiagnosed Patient


I know you’re still getting to know patients. I totally get it — you would like a little more time with each. Like you, I find it frustrating appointment slots are 15 minutes. Yes, I know you’ve seen several patients already today, and then I walk in.

I am that patient doctors may dread, but it is not my fault that so far, there is no diagnosis.

I want you to commit to working with me.

I want you to advocate for me.

I need you to be the doctor who finally sends a referral.

I need you to not be like other doctors, and say I need to see a specialist, and then do nothing about it.

Even though there may not be much you can do for me, I need your care, I need your compassion, I need to not see your frustration, because I am sitting here, and you can’t do much for me.

If it turns out I can describe what I experience in medical terms, don’t put me down, don’t think of me as drug-seeking, don’t shut off because I am trying my best to communicate in a way you can understand.

Don’t turn your head away from me.

If I remind you about that prescription, don’t get angry at me. 

To you, it’s just a piece of paper.

To me, it’s something that may help me cope… tomorrow…next week…next month…

Until an answer is finally found.

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: If you could write a letter to the disability or disease you (or a loved one) face, what would you say to it? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


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