My parents pushed my wheelchair out of the revolving doors of the hospital. I sat sullen, forlorn and wiping tears from my eyes. This is like the worst of breakups. Or a funeral where you are the powerful orator, droning on and on with authority, and I am silenced by the casket, resting my hopes and dreams on the days when I feel like I’ve lost everything.
Rightfully, I should not have been discharged still bleeding from my GI tract for unknown reasons. Every unjust encounter reels through my mind.
“You are a problem. This is a problem,” you said condescendingly, gesturing towards my IV pole which holds a brand-specific bag of fluids the pharmacy had to special order for my condition. The simple accommodation took less than 24hours, with no inconvenience to you, but apparently, you were never one to go above and beyond for your patients.
Before my direct admission, you were so nice. We chatted about my impending wedding in November and you shared laughable stories about your teen daughter. You explained the purpose of my stay, which was to attempt to salvage my liver and avoid the need for a multi-visceral transplant. There was no guarantee your efforts would be successful, yet you promised you’d try. What happened?
I am accustomed to the medical world of arrogant physicians. I realized long ago that I could not place my faith in doctors. It is a lesson easily learned when each appointment incites a glimmer of hope only to be extinguished by the harsh realization that another white coat failed to see me as a person. I started as an intriguing puzzle to be solved. When the pieces did not fit after shifting and rotating, you gave up — sweeping my remnants into a box impossible for me to conform to.
However, I thought you and your team would be different. I allowed myself to summon the hope I had suppressed long ago. I handed it to you willingly, trustingly, because I was promised you were the best, that you would not lend me five seconds of your time before losing interest and surrendering all of the tenacity you claimed to possess once the situation grew complicated.
And complicated it was. The goal of the admission was completely derailed, but that is how chronic illness often is — unpredictable. Amid these unanticipated crises, doctors are called to be of comfort. But as I laid in that PICU bed, I had not ever encountered someone who displayed such a drastic change in emotions. Kind and personable morphed to cold, uncaring and without empathy. Instead of encouragement, I was discouraged. Rather than strengthened, I was defeated. As I received six blood transfusions, I also received your every excuse as to why I could not stay at your hospital. A young adult in a pediatric setting. Brand-specific medication. Protocol.
You made it as if my illness and unique needs were faults of my own. I became a burden, an extra dollar the hospital didn’t care to spend. I was disposable, thrown out like yesterday’s trash. I meant nothing.
I understand the CEOs and higher-ups. To them, I am a name on a piece of paper — a name attached to a diagnosis that carries medical complexities a hospital (unnecessarily) fears to have as a liability. However, the pressure from superiors should not interfere with advocating for your patients. I deserved better from the “best.”
I want you to know that I will forgive you. Eventually. When I accept the disappointment and muddle through the confusion of “what’s next?” and abandonment, I may even thank you. Despite the challenges and tearful confrontations, the hospital was one of the most efficient I have been to. You did save my life and for that, I am appreciative.