An Open Letter to My GP

Dear Doc,

It was really dismissive of you to say, when I presented you with information about POTS, that it’s “really popular right now.”

Artist Liz Zook and her rescue cat Callie.

The thing about diseases becoming “really popular,” and maybe this isn’t something they teach in medical school, is that most Americans live in such poor health and have so little access to healthcare that they will take any information they can get. Whether that information comes from TikTok or google, they feel it’s urgent when they do find information that might pertain to them, because it’s been so long since they’ve had real help. And some people have been so dismissed and discouraged so often by doctors that it’s a courageous act to even present new information to their doctors. Usually this dismissal leads to us figuring out on our own how to mitigate symptoms. When our symptoms eventually become too much to handle on our own and we break down to seek help, knowing that help could end up being detrimental to our mental well-being, we are berated for not coming in to a doctor sooner.

Are diseases becoming “so popular right now” because everyone in America is a hypochondriac? Or is it more likely that people who have all the symptoms of these diseases are just now finding out about them through social media because doctors are so dismissive and healthcare is so hard to come by? I’m thinking basic logic tells you it’s the latter.

And why is it an inconvenience for you to check for the symptoms of any disease that any patient presents? Isn’t it literally your job to make sure that we’re in the best health we can be? What’s the problem with running down a list of symptoms with your patient and keeping your personal opinion about the popularity of a disease to yourself? Wouldn’t it be better to at least check? Even if the only reason to check the symptoms is to put them at ease, isn’t that still the right thing to do?

And just so you know, autistic people in general are already scared of doctors. We are already dismissed and treated as less than by our peers, our loved ones, and our friends. So for an autistic person to confide in you with symptoms is a big fucking deal. You should feel honored. In fact, you should feel honored that anyone in America trusts any doctor enough to treat them at all, but I guess they’re too busy being dismissing our concerns.

Sincerely,

Just Another American That’s Only Allotted 15 Minutes To Talk About All of My Health Problems From the Previous Year

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