If my boyfriend did something that caused me excruciating pain – like stab me – and did nothing to help me, would that be abuse?
If he gave me medicine that he knew would make me very ill, would that not be abuse too?
What if, after he stabbed me, he left me alone in dirty clothes and took away my phone so that I couldn’t get help? What if I had to crawl to the toilet in agony? Would that be abuse?
If I was crying from my pain and explaining that I cannot carry on, would it be psychological abuse if he told me that my pain isn’t real and that I just need to lose weight?
How about if I was really suffering and he promised me that he’d call the doctor… but never did make the call. What if he lied repeatedly, telling me he’d called and was waiting to hear from them?
What about if he finally called the doctor and made me feel that I should be eternally grateful that he carried out this simple act that any decent human would have done weeks ago?
What if, despite being seriously ill, he repeatedly told me to “just get on with it”?
What if I was getting sicker and he lied and told people that I had specifically asked him not to call a doctor, when in reality, I’d been pleading with him to get help for weeks?
What if this abusive relationship was not my boyfriend, but my doctor? If a doctor or a nurse does these things while I am under their care… is that not also abuse? Yes. It is. And these things all happened to me. Except, it’s not that they didn’t call a doctor, they just couldn’t be bothered writing a referral to a specialist because they didn’t believe I was ill – they thought that they knew better.
I know that doctors are humans and that humans make mistakes, but this has not been one big, extremely unfortunate mistake. This has been the institutional abuse that chronically ill people have to deal with all over the world. Our illnesses don’t have a “one size fits all” cure, and that’s if the doctors have even heard of our condition. Our treatment plan is not an attempt to stop our suffering, it’s not someone desperately trying to fathom our pain… We are made to suffer because doctors don’t like what they cannot understand. We suffer because of ignorance and because of arrogance.
I would not stay with a partner who abused me. No one would expect me to… But I’m just expected to take it from my doctor. Let that sink in.