Recently, while enduring the normal symptoms of the common cold, my ears became clogged and my hearing was impaired as a result of severe head congestion. Fluid, trapped behind my ear drum was driving me insane! I couldn’t discern where sounds were coming from. I could not hear when something or someone was approaching. Normal everyday tasks were very stressful and taxing. Night time was particularly difficult because in the still of the night, the quiet was deafening and sounds that should have been loud and clear occured as if they were coming from far away in the distance. My sense of safety and well being were being threatened.
I am better I am happy to say. But, an unpleasant visit to a doctor, who I allowed to treat me for this condition, left me — inspired to write the letter below.
Sometimes you can’t just overlook. Sometimes you just have to speak. This for me was one of those times…
I am writing this letter to share with you that I left your office on Wednesday, December 6th feeling dismissed and self conscious about having sought your care.
I came to your office unable to hear, to discern or identify sound or where noises were coming from — a very vulnerable and humbling place to be in. Your curt and impatient tone was unexpected and frustrating to me, and your unwillingness to patiently and carefully inform, consult and advise me with compassion, caused confusion and added further burden.
I was sick.
I came to your office expecting to be interacted with as a person and not merely an item that needed to be checked off of a busy list. I experienced you as being frustrated at having to answer my â€œstupidâ€ questions and as being irritated at my request to be talked through exactly what I could expect regarding what you had prescribed, and why. You interacted with me in a way that I would expect for doctors to be, quite frankly â€“better than. Doctors must be kind. They absolutely must. In calling out for the next patient in your waiting room before I was even out the door, you treated me as if I were an annoyance. In fact, I am a person, a wife, a mother.
May I point out something that you may have forgotten somewhere along the way:
People who find themselves in the unfortunate and often times alarming position of needing to seek a doctorâ€™s care, demonstrate a level of sacred trust in doing so, that they hope will not be betrayed. I feel that I was betrayed. May I suggest that, in the future, rather then condescend, you might perhaps consider that what works for people is to be informed and advised with compassion.
I choose to believe that perhaps you have only become unaware of the impact that as a doctor, you have over your patientâ€™s immediate sense of well being; of the power that you possess as a care-giver, to either put people at ease or to contribute to their distress and to their upset. Rather than that you simply donâ€™t care.
I boldly presume to speak on behalf of all of the people who have come before me that chose not to speak up and for all of those people who will come after me, that they may not have to.
My hope is that:
Your future patients be appreciated as people with beating hearts that feel, with working minds that think and as living souls that notice and appreciate compassionate care. My hope is that they will somehow benefit from my communication.
Stop. Notice. Care.