“How does one resolve the triggers of childhood medical neglect as an adult?”
I asked myself this question; because, I am experiencing overwhelming emotions in response to my current barriers to medical treatment.
Throughout my childhood, any time I told my mother I didn’t feel well, she would respond with, “If you’re still sick in two weeks, I’ll take you to the doctor.” There were only four times in my childhood I was taken to a healthcare practitioner. The first was when one of my toes was hacked half off in an accident. The second was when my third grade teacher told my mother I might need glasses. The third was when, at the age of 15, I told my mother I wanted to go to a doctor and find out why one of my breasts was a full cup-size smaller than the other one. The fourth time was during that same year. I was taken to a mental health professional when my parents were informed by my school that in the year prior I had, on one single, isolated occasion, missed my Physical Education class without an excuse note being submitted.
I came to believe that my health only mattered to my parents if I might die or if they thought my health issues might reflect badly upon them; i.e., another adult pointed out there might be a problem that could affect my grades; I might be deformed and, therefore, a freak; or I might be considered a disciplinary problem by other adults.
As an adult looking back on health symptoms I had as a child, I now know there were some serious issues that went unaddressed; which, I am now forced to deal with on my own.
From the age of 6, I would get recurring, excruciating abdominal pain. This was likely the beginning symptoms of the Hereditary Chronic Pancreatitis I was diagnosed with two years ago. I realize this because, just like me, my granddaughter began experiencing similar abdominal pains when she was 6 years old and, three years ago, was diagnosed with Hereditary Chronic Childhood Pancreatitis.
From the age of 12, I have had a chronic and progressively worsening productive cough. Last year, I was scheduled by a Pulmonary Specialist for a sweat chloride test for Cystic Fibrosis because of my current and historic symptoms and the fact that my sister and her son tested positive for the CFTR mutation. The pancreatitis SPINK1 genetic mutation and the CFTR genetic mutation are related. This is why most pediatric pancreatitis patients are CF patients. Unfortunately, I was never able to receive the sweat chloride test because of barriers to medical care; which, I am still trying to navigate.
At the age of 14, I had my first suicide attempt. Rather than rush me in for a psychological evaluation, my mother ridiculed me in front of my siblings. Last year, I was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Being a low-income, Senior, disabled woman on Medicare I am experiencing many barriers to healthcare. Every time I experience these or run up against roadblocks in advocating for myself, my inner child is re-triggered with the devastating belief that my health, and therefore my life, does not matter to others.
The silver-lining to this story is that an anonymous person paid for a scholarship so that I can attend a month-long “natewrites.com/healing-the-younger-you” workshop hosted by natewrites.com/about. Perhaps, I will find the answer to my question there.