There are too many steps to take before Disabled people get through the door at doctors’ surgeries or hospitals. We must unravel our feelings and experiences from those of our usual symptoms of chronic illness. Then we must muster up the energy to book an appointment, if we use AAC this can be even more difficult. If we are looked after, we must convince the person or services who look after us that this is additional to our chronic issues. I wanted to share what booking a doctor’s appointment usually looks like for me:
One does not simply walk into the doctors
This feeling has been going on for ages. Is it because of lack of sleep; have I been taking my meds properly; do I feel run down because of being a parent? Headaches and migraines are usual, does this feel different? How? Maybe this is what you feel like after having a baby. No, maybe there is something going on here, only one way to find out…ring the doctors.
On the phone, call them 60+ times to get through. Jay has helped with this. No patience. I don’t know what to say when they answer.
Times, dates, when am I free? I rustle around in schedules, planners, diaries, scraps of paper, whatever thing is currently keeping most of the chaos organised. Write it down, text it to myself, put a reminder on my phone. Phew.
I must remember the appointment, even on the three devices or the back of some discarded paperwork I have written it on. I need to remember, don’t forget. This is important. I must be able to get there, has the car got fuel? Do I have money for the bus? I haven’t taken my inhaler for three days, must take that before I go out into the cold. Where are my shoe inserts?
I hope the car park isn’t busy and the one accessible bay is free. Will the automatic doors work today? I don’t know if the computer sign-in will work. I don’t want to look a fool whilst I scroll the computer. Talk to the receptionist. Sit down in the cold waiting room and wait for the booming of my name through the corridors. What room number did they say? Is this my usual doctor? I’m going to be rushed.
Make sure I have my notes, make sure I say what I need to say in ten minutes, make sure I don’t cry.
I want to be taken seriously.