I wasn’t really sure where to start with my first post, but this is something that has played on my mind since it happened. I’m aware of so many people who have to deal with this from health professionals, so I figured this was a good place to start.
Now, let me start by saying that I have nothing against health professionals. My mum was a nurse, my sister-in-law is a nurse, and I have utmost respect for them. There are some amazing doctors out there too…
However, there is sometimes a huge lack of understanding still in this day and age about complicated illnesses. I myself suffer from complicated Endometriosis, as well as a mystery undiagnosed illness that is most likely an autoimmune condition.
My Rheumatologist has been very empathetic and understanding thus far with my mystery illness, and I will continue to seek her health advice despite this slip of the pen. But one statement really stood out in her last letter to my GP…
“She looks well.”
OK… Well gee, if I look well, I must be well. Right? Those migraines that have been making my life hell every single night for the last few months… Irrelevant because I ‘look’ well. Those general muscle aches and joint pain that has been plaguing me for almost two years… Not an issue because I ‘look’ well. Oh, don’t even get me started on the heart palpitations so bad that I was suffering AT LEAST six panic attacks a day. They most certainly must be nothing to worry about because, yep you guessed it, I ‘look’ well!
This particular doctor has done a decent job of managing my symptoms so far, but I have to say, that final “I hope your migraines sort themselves out” on the way out the door was an extra kick in the butt! I do too Dr Obvious, I do too!
Now this is just one person, one health professional. But she’s definitely not the only culprit. I get it all the time. The “are you better yet?” comments are one of my favourite. Yes, after almost two years of constant illness, I magically got better today! It was a miracle! Or as I walk out the door of work because I can’t push through anymore… “Feel better!” *face palm*
That being said, I probably would have done and said the exact same things 2 years ago. I am just as guilty, if not more so. That lack of understanding is not their fault in the slightest, but doctors most definitely should know better.
Now for the life lesson. It doesn’t actually take understanding to be compassionate or to support someone. Shocking, I know! If someone close to you says something as simple as “I’m struggling,” then be there to listen, even if you don’t understand enough to have an opinion. Be kind peeps, that’s all it takes.