Dear Healthcare Providers

Dear Healthcare Providers

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Healthcare reform is a hot topic. People act like it’s a new subject, yet it has always been a controversial one. It seems that the attitude is if you don’t have the proper insurance, if you question the doctor, or if you insist that something is wrong with you, you will be “released from care.” The lack of care in my care was part of the reason I looked for a place where my health, and not my copay, mattered.

For months, I went from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital, trying to find out what was wrong with me. Time and again I was treated by nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, and rarely did I see a doctor. I had to pay upfront, and then I would be treated with condescending attitudes and berated for asking questions. I had one doctor leave the room and refuse to see me because I asked too many questions.

I want to know: Who do you think you are? I live in this body, and I am searching for my well-being, and you act as if by asking questions that you obviously have no answers to, I am questioning your intelligence. I am not here to serve your ego. I am here for solutions, and these questions matter to me, your patient, the one you took the oath to care for, to do no harm to.

Do you think that leaving me in pain, not seeing me because I hurt your feelings, is helping you or me? I left my home country and moved clear across the world to Thailand. Away from all I know, away from my children and my friends because I could not get adequate treatment at home. Lupus has no cure; it is forever, and that means forever care. In Thailand, my care team managed my pain without opiates. I had one hospital stay where I asked if they could give me naproxen and they told me it wasn’t available, so I was given both morphine and Vicodin (hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen).

Now that you healthcare professionals in the U.S. have caused people to become addicted, you treat them like addicts when they ask for pain relief. When we research our condition (you know, the one that causes pain daily), you treat us like we’re idiots for going online, when it took you months, and sometimes years, to even figure out what we have. We can read, comprehend, and learn the same way you did from your books in medical school, except we are living it, so we have a larger stake in what is happening.

When I first got sick, I told a rheumatologist that I thought I had lupus. He was too busy trying to be impressive to a group of interns that he barely listened to my symptoms and told me right away I did not have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. He was so dismissive that I fired him after that one visit. He didn’t order any bloodwork, and the tests he wanted to run were on every joint in my body. I was going to sign up for this until he said he wanted to rule out carpal tunnel. I guess he thought I was an idiot. I’ve not heard of anyone having that in their knees and shoulders.

I went to him looking for answers after I had swelling in the lining of my heart. Upon my discharge from the hospital, staff recommended that I speak with a rheumatologist. Many months later, I was diagnosed with lupus by a doctor at the Mayo Clinic. I often wonder how many of the crappy healthcare providers cause additional suffering to the very people they are supposed to help, just because they were offended by our concern for our health. Please remember that we live in these bodies that are in frequent pain. Get off your high horse and treat us with dignity. We are more than your portion of the insurance payment.

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Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.

4 comments

  1. Chris says:

    It takes courage to go to a doctor and honestly report your symptoms. Then when they turn an treat you with disrespect : it hurts.
    I must admit after years of patiently waiting for doctors to “figure it out” I am out of patience. I only deal with doctors that respect me as a person. I am happier for it. It takes time to find the good professionals. They are out there. I am blessed to have some good doctors on my dance card. I still get frustrated occasionally.
    Wishing you the best in professional care.

    • Kellie McRae says:

      Thanks Chris, I have come to learn that looking for the right people to care for me is like dating, you gotta kiss a lot of frogs 🙂 I have probably become “that patient” that they roll their eyes when they see me coming because I not only have questions but I also want answers to them! Many try to dismiss you but I won’t be refused, its another reason I left the US looking for my care, here the doctor just releases you from care, I didn’t have that issue abroad. I wish every healthcare professional could remember we are people in pain, we don’t show up to their places of business in the best mood and its not because we don’t have manners but we just want them to make the hurting stop. Mistreating us won’t help. I’m glad you finally found doctors who respect you, that’s huge. Thanks for sharing

  2. Latisha Harrison says:

    Thank you so much for this article! I have been the victim (yes, victim) of so many uncaring health care “professionals” that I absolutely hate going to a Dr’s office or the hospital. I’ve never been treated for lupus, although I was diagnosed at age 11… I’m 49 now. No insurance, low wages, and constantly afraid of losing yet another job due to illness, which would mean becoming homeless AGAIN, OMG, what do I have to do to get even adequate health care? I guess, move to Thailand! LoL
    Best wishes, hoping you go into remission 👍

    • Kellie McRae says:

      I’m so sorry that this illness has caused you so much angst in your life, I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 46 but it still put me out of work. Thailand was not just me fighting for my health but financially, it was a godsend to be honest. The quality of life is great and the cost of living is so cheap that you can live like a queen if you are smart with your money. The doctors also have a higher regard for their patients. I wish I could bottle up just that and bring it back to the US to share with these folks. I hope you stay as well as possible, those jobs are getting more difficult to come by. I hope you go into remission as well, all the best lady!

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