I Know I Don’t Look Sick By Cookie

The names have been changed to protect the innocent, or the guilty in this case.

My name is Cookie and I have seen almost every kind of doctor that you can imagine over the past forty years.

Dr. H. was my doctor during my teen years. I remember him as a kind man with limited knowledge to understand what was wrong with me.

He was also a victim of his time.

I say victim because we are all victims of society. He believed that my problems were all due to mental issues. My mother suffered from manic depression so there for I must also. All the pain I suffered from was caused and always would be in my head.

Dr. A was my doctor during my young adulthood. She was a wonderful and kind lady; I felt that I would be her patient till my life ended or hers. I was her patient for twenty-three years and when it became apparent that Ankylosing Spondylistis was going to change my life drastically and challenge her medical knowledge. She decided to do something.

I went in for a visit and was struggling with pneumonia, she sat across from me the same way she had for twenty-three years and said…… I can no longer be your physician. I can not deal with the challenges I (her) will have to face.

I just want to finish my career quietly, and smoothly. I don’t want the responsibility and work that it would require of me to be your physician. What Ankylosing Spondylitis hadn’t managed to destroy of me, she did in that fifteen minute conversation. I told her that I didn’t get this disease on purpose to make her life hard. I told her that I would pray every day for her to be in my shoes at this very moment.

I was forever changed as a human being that day.

Dr. D was my next physician a young man who led me in the right direction. A wonderful bright young man who listened to every word I said, most of all he heard every word I said. I came to him when Ankylosing Spondylitis started my journey of hell.

I struggled with so much pain and confusion about what was going on. I will never forget this man who touched me in a way that I am able to face anything this disease has in store for me. He told me that I would make him the best doctor in the world, because I was going to teach him compassion and empathy for his patients. Once in his office I was in excruciating pain and he gave me an injection in my hip to help me. When we were finished I turned to look at him and he had tears in his eyes. Several months later he was killed in a car wreck.

Dr. W is one of the best known surgeons in our area. He almost cost me my life. I had come to a point in my life that suicide seemed to be my only option. It consumed me.

He was recommended to me by Dr. D. I took my films and test results to him.

I stood in the door way watching him observe my films. He didn’t realize that I could see him and I watched him closely. You could tell that it was serious and you could tell the amazement and confusion in his expression. He grabbed the films turned and came to greet me. He leaned against the wall and folded his arms and looked at me dead in the eyes. Then he calmly said, “I am not a pill pusher.” I stood there for several minutes trying to comprehend what he said; my brain couldn’t register his words.

Then it hit me, he thought I was there only to get drugs. I became Enraged. I was so hurt that he wouldn’t even introduce himself, before he passed his judgment on me. I was humiliated to the core. I felt so hopeless thinking maybe just maybe I would find some relief and regain my life back. I finally said to him, “That’s good because I am not a pill taker. You could at least wait for me to ask for the drugs before you judge me.” After about five minutes of my tirade I grabbed my films and walked out of his office. I was walking out the door and the lady behind me said, “Ma’am, you need to pay your bill.”

I turned around and pointed to Dr. W and said, “God is going to pay for it himself!” I left and spent several years trying to learn to live with the pain. Suicide was always on my mind. That is until I met Dr. P.

Dr. P was the turning point of my life. A few days after meeting Dr. P I was in the hospital to have a cervical fusion done. On my last visit with Dr. P he stated that I had DISH, when I asked about it he said it was nothing to worry about. It would be years later that I read on his report stating: Told patient she has Ankylosing Spondylitis. No cure. No treatment, advised patient to learn to deal with it. Assessment: terminal.

I finally met Dr. A, who is still my doctor to this day. He is close to my age and a wonderful man. After about a year of visiting with Dr. A I could tell something was bothering him terribly. After a lengthy discussion I learned that it was me that was bothering him, and the fact that he was never going to fix me. I told him, I am not looking for someone to fix me. I am looking for someone to treat me with respect, kindness, acceptance, compassion, sympathy, and understanding. That day I learned not only was it hard to be a patient it was hard to be a doctor.

Dr. A suggested that I talk to Dr. S a psychiatrist, a man who taught me the meaning of acceptance and forgiveness. A true gift from God.

I met Dr. C when it became too difficult to walk. He suggested countless times I should meet with Dr. L. Dr. C teased me once saying, “I am not going to treat you anymore till you see Dr. L.”

Finally I made a call to Dr. L and asked him, “Do you know anything about Ankylosing Spondylitis?” He laughed and said, “A little.” His name is Doctor Martin Lidsky.

He is the man who gave me my life back. He gave me truth. He gave me hope. He gave me compassion. He gave me love. He gave me strength. He gave me tough love.

He gave me Cookie.

My last doctor is Dr. C. She is an angel. She is wise enough and compassionate enough to allow me to make my decisions on the way I wish to handle this disease. She offers me advice and direction but is compassionate enough to understand it is my battle, my fight and my life.

There are more doctors that I could mention but they are not worth the pain or energy to write about.

May God bless each and everyone for your sacrifice and dedication in becoming a doctor.

Thank you.

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2 Responses to “I Know I Don’t Look Sick By Cookie”

  1. It so makes you have little faith in the medical profession. When you describe these doctors, you have to wander what made them choose the profession they are in when they are so obviously lacking in basic compassion and need to help. Thank goodness you managed to find a good one eventually xx

  2. anonymous Says:

    I have cervical neck instability and relate so well. My doctor said surgery would not help. Then I asked if he could give me the chances that it might. He responded “what’s the chance a space ship would land on this medical center and take us all captive?” Then I rephrased my question to, “If I were your sister, what would you suggest?” His response was, “I don’t have a sister.” I wish I had the courage Cookie has to grab my films and walk out. I’ll never be bullied by a physician again!!!

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