Personal Experiences Color Perception
There is an anecdote that’s been passed around Facebook for at least a few months and it really, really hits a nerve with me. The gist of it is a woman goes to her doctor asking for an abortion because she already has an infant. The doctor offers to kill the one she already has because why should it matter to her which baby, so long as one dies.
This taps into my long experience with condescending doctors. When I was 19 I felt something tear in my arm. The ER put a brace on it (oh, that felt good) and told me to see an orthopedist. He said he wasn’t going to give me any drugs. The injury continued to bother me, sometimes more, sometimes less, and I went back to a doctor every few years. Finally at 37 years old a female physician ordered an MRI. An ulnar positive variance of 1-2 mm caused a TFCC tear and the nearly two decades of missed treatment resulted in ulnar compaction syndrome. In layman’s terms, “Wow, that must really hurt.”
Then last year I was having some issues that I believed meant that my uterine fibroids were back. My PCM (whom I adore, by the way) sent me to an OB. The OB my insurance sent me to said I needed to lose 20 lbs and referred me to a nutritionist. I went back to my PCM and that’s the only time I ever heard him curse or saw him throw things 🙂 Two weeks later I had a hysterectomy by the surgeon he handpicked.
So, yes, women’s health care is an issue that I get quite passionate about. Just the mere thought of a doctor saying something nasty to someone who has come in crying for help gets me going! I don’t go to my doctor to be judged. I go to be diagnosed and treated. Had our fictional woman been serious about an abortion, she could have gone to a clinic but she chose her “care” provider. My guess is there’s a whole lot more to her story than the anecdote provides.
Of course, I always post my disgust and contempt for this story. Is diminishing women’s health care really the best way to make your point? Telling scared, confused women that their doctor will be judgmental and self-righteous doesn’t bother you? The answer is invariably the same. That’s not the point of the story. The point is she’s not getting an abortion.
My initial reaction to this attitude is extremely negative. Now, had the judgmental creep been anyone but her doctor I probably would not have read the anecdote twice. That’s my touchy nerve. And then it occurred to me that nobody gets to be our age without some history.
Something about this story has obviously hit a nerve with the people who pass it on. Their past experiences have colored how they read it. Rather than a woman crying out for help and not knowing where to turn, they see a thoughtless woman and applaud the doctor for his morality.
Now I wish to apologize to my friends. There are real woman in America struggling to find adequate health care so using it as a morality play causes me to feel the pain and fear of the 19 year old I was along with the frustration of the 38 year old I became at the same time and I just boil over. I am sorry that I boiled onto an issue that is equally relevant to you for your own personal reasons. Had the woman been written to see a clergy person or social worker, it would not have happened.