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Oh To Be Heard

[Trigger Warning]

The source of trauma in itself should be enough. But no. She didn’t listen. The consultant heard what she wanted to hear. Presumed to know better than I did. A small handful of notes. A fraction of notes from the trauma itself. Knowledge that the previous care, note taking included, was bad.

“It’s your body, your choice,” she said. Yet she made it clear it wasn’t my body and it wasn’t my choice. It was badly taken notes and a trauma I should get a grip of. I quoted the guidelines she’s meant to adhere to.

That was when I started to cry. I expected it would be an emotional appointment. I didn’t expect my trauma to be denied. I was there. I had since looked over my notes with another consultant. I knew. “Well that’s just wrong!” she said. Her meager information didn’t tell her that. But me? What about me? I’m sitting here telling you. No. I didn’t know my body.

But how it all left me feeling? The trauma is my experience. My own. I’m going into this informed, I said. But it didn’t matter. My choice didn’t interest her. Not until I pointed out the law. If my choice isn’t of interest to her, then she was obliged to find someone who was interested. Well, if I “insist.”

And all this because the consultant I was meant to see wasn’t there. Both consultants are women. It is too much, I realise, to expect compassion simply because they’re women. The clinical lead I was meant to see is known for her compassion. I expected to be heard. Even if I had seen a male consultant, I knew the expectation would have been there, too.

The tears didn’t stop. She didn’t acknowledge them. My husband gripped my hand. Not a word from her. She left. A nurse I had seen earlier came back in. “Are you okay?” she said. “No, no I’m not okay,” I said, and held my husband even closer as I cried harder and harder. The nurse stayed. She would make sure this got back to the clinical lead.

Home again. Left wondering, did I expect too much? Did it matter that it was a woman who treated me like this? Or that it was a consultant who treated me like this? Two days running through everything. From the first time, and now this time. Thinking I could manage, before finding myself crying again. Just glad that at least our son was asleep, and wouldn’t see. So angry, though. The trauma. I had been managing that. If only just. This woman, this consultant, this human being. She could have heard what I had to say but instead heard what she wanted and decided she knew my body and my trauma better than I did.

“I’m going to make a complaint,” I said to my husband. “I’ve got to do something.” Another morning of that woman’s words barging through my mind. This couldn’t carry on. Deep breaths. Calling the clinic. Being put through to the Sister in charge, who after explaining the complaint process said, “I’ll listen.”

“Thank you,” I said. “Thank you.”

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