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The Only Thing I Ask of Doctors as a Chronically Ill Patient

Dear doctors, I don’t trust you. No, hear me out. My lack of trust stems from a past of sitting in the office or hospital and being told I’m making it up. I’ve heard it all, from “It’s all in your head” to “She’s just attention-seeking.” I know there are so many great doctors out there, but these things came out of my doctors’ mouths. Those whom I trusted.

Dear doctors, I didn’t used to have this much anxiety about appointments. In fact, I used to be the patient who tried to make others more comfortable. Now, I sit in the waiting room, drowning in my thoughts, wondering what you might say. So when you ask if I’m nervous, I guess the honest answer is yes – but I shouldn’t be. You wouldn’t know it looking at me, but this is actually a routine part of my life.

Dear doctors, I no longer walk into your office with optimism. I don’t have high hopes for appointments with new doctors for fear of disappointment. So many have turned me away, having done more harm than good. I will, however, try to believe in you over time. So please, once you have my trust, don’t break it.

Dear doctors, please don’t give up on me. Don’t give up just because I’m not easy to understand. I promise I’m not trying to be complicated. Please don’t tell me I’m making it up if you can’t find answers. Remember that I am human and am worth the extra effort.

Dear doctors, I realize that you are only human. I know you are not miracle workers, and I expect no such thing. You can only do what is within your capability – trust me, I get that. The only thing I expect is kindness.

Dear doctors, if you’ve never had a patient like me, remember this when others come along. Please remember that they are trusting you, or trying to, and that may mean a lot for them. They may have been told they were lying by someone they trusted, maybe a doctor, but their pain is very real. They need you to be supportive, whoever you are. I hope you make that choice.

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