It's a Tuesday morning. I wake up, and once I come out of the fog, I remember today's the day; I have an appointment with a new cardiologist.
For many people this would be a pretty mundane thing. Yet all of the sudden I am filled with worry, and sheer anxiety. Seeing a new doctor often makes me nervous for weeks before. Same with seeing an old doctor, with the exception of the few I trust.
Why am I fearful? Doctors took an oath. An oath to do no harm. And I often feel traumatized by my past experiences with them. I have been let down so many times before, in so many ways.
My very first bad experience came right when my symptoms began. I went to my GP at the time, who told me I was just out of shape and that my depression wasn't well controlled, despite me telling her that something else was definitely wrong. This became a pattern, repeating itself so many times until I thought I was probably just imagining things.
People would tell me, "doctors are just people", and that I shouldn't be so nervous. "They're not Gods!", they would say. But to me, they were. They were the ones who held my life in their hands. My future. They were the ones with the power to change my life, by either fighting and advocating for me, or by shrugging their shoulders at my problem and leaving me on my own. The latter is what happened most of the time.
So I lost faith in doctors, but I would keep going to them. I wanted not only to function and be able to live life again, but to not be in pain every day. Each appointment, I would put up my shield and prepare myself for the blow. Even with a little chance of hope in the back of my mind, I would prepare myself for a painful visit. I did not expect them to help me. I did not expect to come closer to answers. I did not expect them to keep their oath of doing no harm. Because at times, their words replayed in my head for days. At times, I had nightmares about them. At times, they made me want to give up, because of how easily they gave up on me.
So to all you future doctors in med school, please remember that you will be holding someone's life and future in your hands. You will be holding someone's ability to go to school and go to work in your hands. You will be holding someone's freedom in your hands. We're breakable. Please be careful not to drop us.