About medical attention
I am officially ashamed to be part of the human race today. Can I opt out and claim I am an alien from outer space and distance myself completely from those humans on this planet
I don’t think I ever told this story but here it goes.
It was 2001 or 2002 and my Dutch was not very good at the time (not that it is flawless now but it was even more precarious back then). I suffered from crippling abdominal pains from time to time. It would take almost ten years to figure out why (gallbladder, which I had removed at the end of 2010). But back around 2001, I was sometimes knocked down from pain in ways I had never experienced. We are talking “me curled up on the floor” levels of pain. I went to the doctor. He couldn’t figure out what it was through an external examination so he sent me for an endoscopy test (the one where they put a tube with a camera through your mouth up to your stomach).
I was told I shouldn’t eat 12 hours prior to the test. I am a grown up woman. I followed the instructions to the T. If I recall correctly, I even outdid the instructions by a few hours to be on the safe side (as in, I didn’t eat for 14 hours or so). The day of the test comes and here I am, surrounded by a doctor and three lab technicians. They were abrupt, but alas, I thought it’s part and parcel of the healthcare industry. They insert the tube down my throat. This was EXTREMELY painful. And I do not mean it lightly. The tube finds its way down my stomach and I vomited. I mean, it was as if I had eaten an hour before. A complete meal came out. Then, this doctor, had in him, while I have a tube down my throat and I am covered in my own vomit, unable to respond, to start shouting racist abuse at me: YOU FOREIGNERS ARE ALL THE SAME, IGNORANT ASSHOLES WHO CANNOT FOLLOW BASIC INSTRUCTIONS! and this went on for, at least, 10 minutes, while I wasn’t unable to say a word to defend myself. I was the “ignorant immigrant”, the “stupid foreigner”, the “reason why the medical industry was in shambles”, etc etc etc.
I was alone (my partner couldn’t come with me due to working hours). I don’t remember ever feeling so vulnerable and so mistreated before. I tried to explain I hadn’t eaten in my broken Dutch to no avail. I was told the test was useless and it was all my fault because IGNORANT FOREIGNER! I walked away crying and did not seek medical attention for YEARS as a result of this incident. YEARS. I didn’t even know there was a place I could complain about this or that what happened to me warranted an investigation and a sanction for the doctor and his assistants. Luckily for me, gallbladder problems are, for the most part, non life threatening. But I lived with the condition for years until I could muster the strength to seek help about it again.
For what it’s worth, my current doctor (and everyone who treated me in the hospital for surgery) were great and I have nothing but praise for them. However, I know all too well how certain people in the medical establishment treat those they deem as “inferior”.