Here I sit in the waiting room at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Here have I been since nine-twenty this evening. Why am I here? Chest pains...and hemoglobin and hematocrit readings which have probably sunk below sea level.
As my arm, face, and legs go numb, I listen in fascination as I am told by uncaring nurses in the infuriating sing-song voices reserved for the very young (or the very stupid) , "It's because you're getting anxious there,ma'am. It's your breathing."
I thought it was the dizziness, lack of blood, and erratic heart beat.
This is what comes of touting the benefits of the medical profession (of any profession) based upon prestige, primarily upon pay packets. In a hospital bearing the name of supposedly one of the most famous and "prestigious" universities in the nation, not even the basic vestiges of human decency, compassion, or professionalism are present. Stone-faced security guards joke with one another, flirt with female registrars, and exchange jovial pleasantries with familiar passersby with seemingly no regard for the suffering of those left to wait hours to be seen.
(And people ask me why I choose to suffer in "isolation" in my apartment, ya'll.)
Though it has taken everything in me not to shout out in pain, in frustration, in outrage, I have succeeded. Though obviously, we who await care are less than human, I will neither forego nor deny my own, basic human dignity. The mind may be a bit fuzzy ("anxiety," don't you know); nevertheless, regardless of the callous, condescending, often dehumanizing treatment (one of my main reasons for deciding to move to Colorado), I know that I am still a human being; that my pain and suffering have merit; that my voice is one which deserves to be heard.
In the mundane ritual of day-to-day living, perhaps we take for granted that simple truth of having not only worth as human beings but also having the right to be seen as such, to be treated as such. As I pound away, using the gentle ebb and flow of written words to bring peace, solace, succor into the midst of such insanity (not to mention agony people), I am reminded of the power of an opinion expressed, an outrage noted, a stand taken. I might not be quite able to fight the good fight at this moment, people: yet, in this situation resides yet another story to be told, another truth to be explored. This issue of dehumanization--in the refusal to recognize the pain of others, in causing harm when the creed reportedly ascribed to is "first do no harm"--is one which can be explored in depth another day.
For the moment, however...
The question is: