I grew up thinking that doctors were gods. My parents believed they had all the answers and could do no wrong—especially men doctors.
I was also painfully shy so when my gut told me to ask more questions my brain said, 'Who do you think you are, challenging a doctor?'
Fast forward to 1993. I’d just answered the phone. The voice on the other end was cold and detached. “I have your MRI results.”
I held my breath.
‘I'm sorry,” the voice said. “You have MS.”
I crumpled to the floor. “What about the pinched nerve?” I cried. “What about my kids? What am I supposed to DO?”
I was 33. My ex-husband was long gone with his new life in Europe. Our three small children and I were on our own.
This doctor just gave me a death sentence over the phone. That’s how I felt, and I knew he knew it.. How could he be so insensitive as to not look me in the eye, offer support and explain what MS was—I barely knew. Such cowardice!
On that day thirty years ago, I promised myself that I would never be so uninformed and trusting again. Since then, I go to doctors appointments prepared with lots of questions. It helps me make sense of what I’m going through, what options they’re considering and why.
I have great respect for doctors, I simply demand the same in return.