I consider myself to be a tough chic. I don’t know many people who can take a needle in their eye without shedding one tear. Was I scared? Hell yeah, every single time but for an entire year, once a month I did it. I was able to do it because I knew I was in great care. When you have a chronic illness you go through your fair share of doctors and nurses. Some better than others and some are just horrible.
It was during a procedure called cryopexy or Retinal cryopexy that I experienced the worst doctor ever. Cryopexy basically uses extreme cold to scar the tissue in my case, the eye to prevent further tearing. The purpose is to prevent vision loss that can occur if the tears go untreated and/or continue.
Cryopexy for me was torture. It was so painful that I became nauseous and felt faint. More than halfway through the procedure I decided to raise my hand (you know how your Dentist tells you to notify him when you feel pain) to ask the doctor to stop so that I could take a break. When I raised my hand ever so slightly, he yelled “don’t touch me” so loudly that other staff ran into the room to see what was happening.
Unable to bear the pain I calmly replied: “get off of me”. He continued with the procedure trying to assure me that he was almost done. I took a deep breath and this time I yelled, “get off of me”! This time he stopped, threw down the instrument and simply walked out of the room. On the way out he told his technician “ tell her to take Tylenol”.
I remember crying and shaking uncontrollably on the ride home. Only to return the next day with an infected eye swollen shut. I passed the doctor who did the procedure in the hallway and I stopped him to tell him what a terrible doctor he was. I also told him that one day I hope he experiences the level of pain I felt and the people responsible for his care are as cold and callous as he was.
I am well aware that some doctors possess great skill but lack compassion. If I had to choose, I would choose skill over bedside manner but I also think patients shouldn’t have to make a choice. All doctors are not created equal and every patient has different needs but no one should ever have an experience like mine. Unfortunately, I have heard many stories of doctors berating patients, making them feel worse than when they stepped into the office.
I want you to know that doctors are not beyond reproach. It is your responsibility to demand the treatment and respect that you deserve. Do not be afraid to speak up about your experience directly to your physician or the powers that be. If you feel you can’t speak up on your own ask a friend/family member to represent you or you can write an anonymous letter. You just might prevent another person from having the same experience and that, for me is worth it.