For patients, healthcare is about submitting.
Submitting claims, submitting our information those are at the beginning and end of each healthcare experience.
But it’s the submission required of patients between those administrative actions that is deeply damaging.
Patients are required to submit.
Lay down when asked.
Let them touch you, there is no real choice if you want to find out what’s wrong, if you want to get better.
Don’t say no.
Don’t speak up.
Do as your told.
Don’t ask too many questions.
Don’t be difficult.
Don’t be demanding.
Try not to cry.
Try to maintain composure.
Let them do what they were trained to do.
They are supposed to know best. Don’t tell them you know something different.
Don’t sit up.
Explain yourself but stop talking when he talks.
This is the doctor’s room. It’s the room patients have to submit.
To refuse to submit is to be labeled difficult and demanding.
To refuse means you get lectures: “how can I help you if you won’t let me?”
To refuse is to lose care.
To refuse is to see the frustration in the doctor’s eyes and know his frustration/anger/burnout is your fault at some level.
To refuse is to be the “bad” patient.
The consequences for refusing are often worse than the submission. And so patients submit. Patient submit and do whatever it takes to get through it.
Some bring a friend of family for support. Some rationalize the experience and go through it robotically, detached and scientific. Some speak up and get see the consequences. Others dissociate completely. Some go home and self harm.
Some end up never showing up at all. Because the submission brings up too much, too many memories, too much pain. Most doctors don’t understand that.
I can provide as many documents and research as I want about medical-informed trauma – but they believe they’re “just doing their job,” that’s how they were taught and there is no other way.
They doing their job, they are retraumatizing me, retraumatizing patients who have been through too much already.
I try to submit. But there’s a cost, a deep, searing cost that cannot be taken back.
Submission lacks compassion. Only compassion can truly heal.
Please don’t make me submit. Please have compassion.