I had an appointment early today for a mammogram. I know they are important; we have breast cancer in the family, and friends have died from it. So, I was ready, had worked out what to say about needing to be treated carefully because of fibro, ME and my spinal injury.
drove me practically to the steps of the mobile unit, then parked the
car, and waited in it, as only patients are allowed inside the unit.
stick in left hand, I used the rail on the right to help haul myself up
the metal steps to the unit. OK, I was expecting this; however I wasn't
expecting the handrail to be so loose it wobbled, pinching my hand
between it and the side of the unit with every step. I mentioned this
to the two members of staff when I went in. No reaction. Never mind, no
After registering, I was told to do the usual - go into a
cubicle, take top and bra off, put top back on. I declined, explaining that
was too much unnecessary effort for me, doubling the taking off and
putting on; I had dressed in T shirt, as I'm quicker with that than a
blouse. They exchanged looks.
I was the only patient in the unit.
The younger woman took me to the end room. I said that I needed to
explain to her about my health, and that I had some specific needs. I
said I have a spinal injury, and so cannot bend and lean in ways that
most people can, so she'd need to work round that. Oh.
explained that I have Fibromyalgia and ME, so have problems with pain. I
said that it was important that when I said 'enough' that she was to
stop winding the plate down immediately. In the past I have suffered
from an overenthusiastic radiographer carrying on tightening, to such an
extent that I was left in pain for several days.
I got the
eyeroll. No assurances, not even any platitudes. She just launched into
telling me why, from their point of view it was so important to...
I have to admit, I lost it. Totally and completely.
was so upset, and very, very angry. I had carefully worked out exactly
what to say to explain what I needed, and why, and she didn't even acknowledge my
conditions or my concerns. I then made it abundantly clear I did not trust
her to treat me with the necessary care, and that with her attitude she
wasn't fit to do the job.
I stomped out, shaking, my heart banging; the adrenaline and anger overriding the need to move sensibly.
Did I react badly? Yes.
Did I overreact? I don't think so.
who are so dismissive of vulnerable patients, even when we articulate our needs, are the
reason so many of us end up physically worse, and so distrustful of
clinics and hospitals. I am able to speak up for myself, and have the
brass neck and short enough fuse to be fired into doing so.
drove me home, hugged me, supplied me with copious amounts of tea, made
sure I rested all day, and cooked supper. I still feel a bit wobbly. I
will probably have a reaction to this in the next day or so. But hey ho.
Nobody gets to roll their eyes at ME.
did phone the department, and made my views known, suggesting some
department training in respect and consideration. I was listened to with interest, was given an apology, told that my complaint would be brought up at a meeting tomorrow, promised an alternative appointment, and that the handrail would be fixed. We can hope.