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Tinu Abayomi-Paul - I voted! @Tinu
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I was going to do this hours ago. Then I thought about stories from my life and I was overwhelmed.

Also I hate to being up problems without talking a little about solutions.
So toward the end I'll talk about some things I've tried to fight back with varying levels of success.
Being a #Spoonie, I have had more frequent tocuhes with doctors and the ER in any city/suburb I live in for the past 20 years.
And this frequent contact has resulted in me not wanting to go see the doctor or go to the ER until an urgent medical has turned into a full blown emergency
I've had to trick doctors into giving me care. If I want answers to some mysterious new pain? I ask for pain medicine.

They immediately assume I'm a drug addict 8 times out of 10.
On the other hand, if I want emergency pain meds, I can get them about half the time by demanding that they do their jobs and figure out what is wrong with me.

It was years of noticing a pattern before I even got that far.
The doctors do not listen to me, 3 times over, for being a woman, black, disabled. I'm ignored, criminalized, infantalized.

It's been over 20 years.

And I have had enough.
It's not just doctors here and there or nurse practitioners, or much less often, nurses.

This racism is systemic. Ignoring pain of women's systemic. It is in the bones of the institution to think they know better than the patients.
Here's a #HealthcareWhileColored story that illustrates what I mean.
So late summer of last year, I signed up for an insurance plan and found a doctor near my house.
I do a lot of research to find doctors because of my bad experiences. I prefer foreign trained doctors because in my experience they tend to see the whole person more.

Women ignore my pain less. Black women treat me like I'm an adult with vis input.
So I found this great Indian doctor to be my PCP. Ateast I thought he was great. I told him about my #MMJ prescription and he noted it in my file and still have me Tramadol for the first time in years.
He sent me to specialists and tried to help figure out my problems. At first.
Then one day I went to my appointment and he just.. wasn't there. At first they made me wait, as if he was on his way.

Then I was told that he wasn't there, wasn't coming & hadn't been in.
I thought ok weird, maybe this is a Texas thing. They asked if I'd see the nurse practitioner instead. I was delighted to say yes.

I generally had better experiences with nurses and nurse practitioners. My mother is a nurse. I ❤️ nurses.
The lady comes in and asks me what my issue is that day. I told her I ran out of REFILLS of my Tramadol.

Refill. Of an opioid cousin, practically the modest one you can get. But it's strong enough for me to work full time in the twice say dose.
They would only give me once a day and I needed a new prescription every time I need to refill it.

But I could still work half time between that and THC drops at night.
When I asked for the Tramadol she told me that I shouldn't be asking for anything like that because it was "drug seeking behavior."
I almost left right then! Drug seeking behavior??? Tramadol is vary stronger than a bunch of Tylenol 3, without screwing up my liver.

But. Once you become a career sick person, especially one who is back, overweight, disabled and/or female?

You learn that doctors have the power to put in your chart that you are a "problem patient" or worse, that your pain is "all in your head."

So I tried to steer the combo back to verifying what was in my chart and just get it from my doctor the next time.
At this point she asked what else I was taking for pain. In my chart it says that I have a prescription for marijuana. So I thought I was verifying what she already knew when I told her.
They collect blood and urine from me frequently. So it wasn't until the lock closed behind me and I saw the collection window that I realized this heifer had sent me to be drug tested.

I felt so humiliated. So angry. Of course it came back clean - I'd run out of my MMJ- she didn't even apologize.

I didn't go back to the doctor, despite thinking the #cancer might be back, for three months. #HealthCareWhileColored
So this is long enough already. Just one story. I have scores, maybe a hundred.

It happens that frequently, that the people who are supposed to care for me behave like they don't give two shits. #HealthCareWhileColored
And you can tell when you're just at a bad doctors office or when the nurse practitioner - who is not a person of color - has already decided something about you in advance.

Even when they don't come out and say so.
Just to clarify. Due to my 6 chronic illnesses, including cancer, I was going to the doctor every two weeks at least, often weekly.
Physical therapy, specialists, scans - since I was still onboarding with that doctor I should have been in one doctors office or another several times a week.

Plus monthly for cancer blood tests and a port flush.
The incident affected me so much, tipping me over into the depression I was teetering on the brink of - I lay in bed, in pain, for three months.

It want a choice I made. I just... couldn't anymore.
It takes so much energy to just be chronically ill and in #ChronicPain.

Being mistreated by doctors easily breaks the camel's back.

Totally forgot preventative methods & ways to fight back. So in no particular order.

1- Take an advocate. Friend, famy, someone you trust. It's harder to gaslight two or more people.

2- Be friend nurses if they aren't part of the problem.
Nurses often know secrets, even about each other.
3- Record the incident somewhere that has a timestamp, with as much detail as you can. Timing and details can help in ways you can't imagine.
4- If you have to report something, report to multiple places.

You can go to the hospital, boards they belong to, state organizations.
5- Read reviews of your doctors. Google them, their practice, find out where they went to school, I advance if you can.

Not just for due diligence. It comes I handy in other ways too.
I'll add more as I think of them.
*Crediting @alexhaagaard with the timestamp part of this idea.
I don't have the energy to repeat myself. So. PSA-Style.

I know most of you are doing what I'm about to talk about with good intentions.

But if your intentions are TRULY good you won't mind my suggestions on how to do better.
You can share your story of how you share the same struggles without saying "yeah but it happens to all people" or "this happens to white people too."

It's Erasure.
Erasure is when you ignore, deny or talk over top of the fact that I'm talking about my experience as a black person, black woman or any of my other intersectional identities.
Ask yourself how a negating statement about my struggle enhances the story you want to tell. If it doesn't add specific value, leave your negating statement out.
The default setting on America is white.

I'm not always welcome in your spaces or allowed to - peacefully and without interruption- share my experience as a black woman.

That's why I need #HealthCareWhileColored.

I NEED it.
I happily shared and boosted your #DoctorsAreDickheads experiences.

If you can't be supportive of me in #HealthCareWhileColored you have the option of just... Not.

You can just not say anything.
There's a difference between "here's what happened to me" and "[dismissive language of my black experience] and this happens to white people/women/ all people too. [your story]"
What exactly does "this happens to white people too" add to the conversation? It subtracts.

The whole point of the discussion is "here's this story from the black/POC perspective."
I live in Amerixa with you. The white experience is forced upon me every time I leave my house. Anytime I turn in my TV.

I know it happens to you too.

But most of the time it happened to me first if it's bad.
Why is all of this important?


1- Atrocities that happen to black people or poor people can be stopped before they reach the wider population.

Racism is localized fascism. If it is stops with us it doesn't spread.
2- The same thing can happen to both populations but the consequences are often very different for us.

"Drug seeking behavior" can end with jail for us & if something goes wrong there, prison.
You might get a wrist slap for MMJ depending on where you're located in the country. I'm taking a real risk when I say this to my doctor.
If it wasn't for the wealth privilege I had at the time, I'd be incarcerated by now. And not 3 -5 years. 20. That still happens.

THIS YEAR a Mississippi man was imprisoned even though he had a legal prescription.
3- We need our own space to address our own issues.

Just like disabled people do.
Just like people with fibromyalgia do.
Just like any group that has anything in common.

We're not required to justify that. Let us crowd source solutions & enjoy our community like anyone else.
It's not a threat to you. Loving me doesn't mean hating you.
Not angry at anyone I've already talked to about this. We're good if I addressed it. I forgive you but I won't forget so please don't repeat that.

I'm assuming you were unaware & leaving it at that.
I'm going to stop there. But please stop erasing and otherwise disrespecting my story to tell yours.

You can just tell it. I'll listen.
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