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What's Really Going On as I Sit in the Doctor's Waiting Room

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As I sit for so long in your waiting room, you see that I’m young so you think I’m sending a selfie. Or maybe you assume that my eyes are watching “Good Morning America” on that small TV hanging on the wall… You’re wrong. Here’s what’s really going on.

My phone keeps vibrating. It’s not Twitter or Facebook. It’s my dad. He lives too far away to be here with me. He’s sitting in the break room at his job, waiting for me to tell him the results of this appointment. Waiting to here that someone finally gets it. Hoping that we’ll find an answer.

My eyes are directed toward the TV. But I’m not watching the show. I’m thinking… what happens after this appointment? When I leave here, with no more than I came with, what do I do? What’s next?

Sound dreary? Here’s the thing. This isn’t my first rodeo. And I know it isn’t yours either. You’ve seen hundreds, maybe thousands of patients in your career, right? You’ve “seen it all.” Every kind of hypochondriac and every old man who says he’s fine while his heart is giving out. You know all the answers, right?

Well then, why do you never have an answer for me? Why is it that when I come here, you prescribe medication that I told you doesn’t work, swearing it’s different this time? Why… why don’t you listen to me? I live in this body. I live here every single day. I couldn’t be free of it if I wanted to (and trust me, I wish that more than anything some days). You see me once a month and you’re the expert on what I’m feeling, what will fix me?

I’m trapped. Between needing your meds and hating them. Between wanting to find an answer, and believing I never will. Between hope and depression. Between your diagnosis and the pain I wake up with every morning.

I’m not the hypochondriac. I’m not the old man. I am me. I am unique. I am different. We all are. See us as such. I’m not another number. Another insurance company that won’t pay. I am a girl who wakes up every morning wondering if today will be the day that I can’t take it anymore. I am a sister, a friend, a daughter, a niece, and a granddaughter. I am a professional. I am a volunteer. I am strong. But I didn’t go to medical school. I am smart. But I can’t write a prescription. Please, see my strength. See my intelligence. See me. See that I know my body. And please… make this the appointment that counts.

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Thinkstock photo by cwzahner

Originally published: February 17, 2017
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