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To the Doctor Who Didn't Dismiss Me

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I came into your office reluctantly… defeated. I had been written off by more than one doctor at this point. Some just looked at me and shrugged their shoulders, some told me I was completely normal despite what my body was feeling. One even had the nerve to tell me it was all in my head and that I needed a psychiatrist. I came to you because more than anything, I just wanted someone to believe me.

You were different. You listened to me. You evaluated me from head to toe – more thoroughly than some of the “specialists.” You validated my concerns. You trusted that I knew my body and what was “normal” for me. You believed me.

For the next two years, you listened to me complain. When I told you I was getting worse, you believed me. You sent me for follow-up tests and when those continued to come back normal, you didn’t dismiss me. You never once suggested that my symptoms were due to depression, because you and I both knew they weren’t.

You treated my symptoms the best you could. I could see the concern in your eyes. You told me that you shared in my frustration that we didn’t know what was wrong, and I believed you. You wanted an answer just as badly as I did.

Your unwavering compassion helped me persist in getting a diagnosis on the days I wanted to just throw in the towel. You gave me your personal phone number and told me to call you any time and you meant it. This was evident when you scolded me for not calling you sooner at times.

When I told my story of how I had been treated by other doctors, you apologized – even though it was not your fault.You returned my messages and said if there was anything else I needed to call you. When I called, you kept your word.

You called and apologized when your clinic failed to follow up on an important issue. You thanked me for calling and speaking to the clinic manager about it, even though it meant you got an earful. You rejoiced when I finally got a diagnosis for my condition. Not because something was wrong with me – we both already knew that there was. But I finally had an answer; and for that you were happy.

I saw your happiness fade to worry. You wondered if you missed something or if you could have caught it sooner. No, your answers were only as good as the test results and the opinions of the specialists.

You have continued to follow my journey closely. You have learned from me and my horrible experience with other doctors who were not so kind. What I have gone through will make you an even better doctor to someone else. Thank you for not dismissing me when we didn’t have an answer.

Thank you for listening. Thank you for not being like all the others. You restored my shattered faith in the medical community and proved to me that there are still more good doctors than bad, sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find them.

Getty Image by Image Source

Originally published: March 22, 2018
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