5 Microaggressions seen at the doctors office

One of my biggest challenges is going to the doctors office. It sounds like I’m exaggerating, but it’s actually hard to exaggerate how hard it is to go to the doctor when you have a chronic illness. For many people going to the doctors office is unpleasant. No one wants to wait in an uncomfortable chair for hours at a time. No one wants to fill out reams of paperwork. Nobody wants to put their health and well being into the hands of someone else, and nobody wants to pay out the nose to do it. Luckily most people only have to go to the doctor on the rare occasion, but the chronically ill have to go on a regular basis, and if they take any type of pain killer they have to go every single month. So the horror of the doctors office is naturally multiplied, but in addition the chronically ill have to face the judgement and condescension of the doctor and their staff. We have to constantly deal with Microaggressions. For the sake of this discussion here is the definition of Microaggressions:

Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership (Psychology Today). 

Here’s some I deal with on a regular basis, with commentary for your pleasure:

1. The receptionist looks at your paperwork and says, “You were just here last month, why are you here again”? 

Because I’m forced here by the FDA dimwit.

2. The doctor says, “You seem just fine.”

Thanks pal. I’m so glad my invisible disability turns out to be *shocker* invisible!  Should I look of the definition of I N V I S I B L E?

3. The doctor says,I have a patient the same age as you and they have to deal with  insert disability here. You should be grateful for what you have.”

If that’s your bar pal then you wouldn’t even treat people for strep throat because some people have throat cancer, and that’s worse. Nice logic there. Are you sure you went to medical school?

4. “We can only treat so many patients like you, you people take up too much time.”

You people. YOU PEOPLE! Did you really just say that? What people are you talking about? Alive people? Almost dead people? People with hair? People who hate doctors, people?

5. The doctor questioning why you have your illness. “Well, if you had just done ________ then you wouldn’t have this problem now.”

No, if the twenty doctors I saw then would have helped me then I wouldn’t have this problem now. Look in the dictionary for the definition of the Hippocratic Oath.

Obviously the doctors office is a challenging place for me and many others. Ideally this would be solved by finding other doctors, but it’s not that easy. I’m on doctor 21 approximately and have had little to no luck and I live in the fourth largest city in the U.S. Part of the solution to this doctor problem lies with teaching doctors in medical school that the chronically ill aren’t just talking slabs of meat that pay you money. Unfortunately the long term solution is more complicated than that; it lies in changing society’s perception of the chronically ill.



chronic mom


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9 thoughts on “5 Microaggressions seen at the doctors office

  1. Wow… did you go with me to the doctor Tuesday? I live in a place where finding keeping doctors is hard. Sometimes after a while the next replacement doctor (because the last replacement doctor could only stand the beauty and isolation of our area for so long) doesn't have a clue as to why I'm there and wonders whether he will give me the meds I am on or try another because the meds I am on don't really work for what I have. They have worked well I tell him but he is sure he knows best even though he really doesn't know me!
    I can't wait for the next doctor! lol

  2. Wow. I can honestly say I've not dealt with all of these. It seems like when I run into issues at the dr it's usually much more overt, but even these "micro-aggressions" would earn a quick decision to find a new doctor.

    One that I did run into (and that did result in a Dr firing) was when I was first diagnosed. My GP was very much "you don't need a specialist, I will treat you……. I treat all my patients with X &Y and they do great". Hmm… well I'm already taking both X & Y for other issues and yet here I am with Fibro.

    1. Thank goodness these didn't all happen with one doctor. But at each doctor I've tried they always do at least one or two of these. One day I'd love to have a decent doctor with decent employees, but I haven't lucked out yet.

  3. Last week after telling the new doctor about my fibro and 2 autoimmune illnesses (one is a muscular dystrophy) and a blood disorder he said "At least they are not life threatening like diabetes."

  4. Or when they say your labs are all in the normal range…. we’ll take this medication and we will see you (and your insurance) next month! So frustrating!!

  5. I developed bad pain after a hernia repair with mesh. Surgeon said hernia repair was fine, it’s the gallbladder so out it came. Pain was horrific and I had every test imaginable. Surgeon refuses to see me after several doctors say it’s adhesions. Found new doc who did an investigative surgery. Said nothing is wrong, go to pain management. Finally land in Portland Oregon and find surgeon who says mesh is defective! It’s been in there two years now. He replaced mesh, not much relief and two bowel obstructions later I return home. I continue to search for someone to figure this out and take that mesh out for good. The most common advice is go to therapy! Talking about it does not help it go away! I finally locate a major teaching facility that has a doc that specializes in mesh problems. I beg my new primary care doc for a referral. I’ve already sent my records, images, the works. She contacts old surgeon and they think I should have spinal cord stimulator put in! I say no I want problem fixed not masked. She then tells me I’ve had all kinds of testing, isn’t it time to give up!!
    I apologized for wasting her time and found referral elsewhere. This has been another two year and three cross country trips to find help. I hate going to doctors with a passion but have to have one to help me with the residual pain. It has been so bad that I was convinced the only way to get relief was to die. Take my pain relief meds away and I know I’ll be right back there. These people are destroying lives with their attempt to protect us from ourselves.

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