I Am Not A Billing Code

Dear Doctors, Insurance Companies, and the American Healthcare System:

My name is Stephanie. I am a person; a patient. I pay for healthcare just like I am supposed to. A good person who helps others for a living, all I could ask is that you show a little — just a little bit of respect. Perhaps you aren’t directly responsible for the gross negligence of healthcare in our country, but you are a part of the system and therefore, share responsibility.

It’s my advantage that I am a woman who is educated, and who is persistent. If I were not, I do not know if I would be alive and well today. Having a rare, chronic illness, I have fought my way tooth and nail to work my way toward a diagnosis just to be taken fucking seriously — to actually be listened to. In our western medical world, nothing is taken seriously without a diagnosis.

Interestingly, the diagnoses you do seem to care about are the ones that relate to our mental health. Let me remind you (as a trained clinician myself) that having anxiety does not mean that I am crazy. Telling you that something is wrong with me, asking for tests and procedures, and for answers does not mean that I am a hypochondriac. Communicating with you that I am barely able to walk does not mean that I need to go see a psychiatrist. Have you not a single thread of compassion in you, asking such a ridiculous fucking questions to a woman fighting for her life?

As a provider myself, I also adhere to an ethical code of practice. It seems that amongst today’s business of healthcare that this idea of ethics — of true intentional practice — has been lost. Healthcare is not supposed to be a business. Companies are not supposed to be profiting from my illness or anyone else’s. Healthcare companies and corporations should not be allowed to determine WHO receives WHAT kind of healthcare, WHEN and WHERE. This is ludicrous!

For anyone (not just women) who has found themselves masked by the negligence of our medical system, please don’t give up. It’s exhausting beyond belief, and there aren’t always answers, but there is never a point at which you should give up. Never let anyone’s assumptions or judgments speak for you. Always fight to be taken seriously, and do so even if you aren’t shown so much as an ounce of consideration in the process.

You are the only person who knows yourself, inside and out; don’t ever let your intuition be overshadowed by someone because they wear a white coat or have a degree that somehow entitles them to know you best. It seems that our healthcare system today has entirely forgotten that healthcare serves people. It is so engrossed with its numbers, processes, allowances, and profits. So I just wanted to remind you that my name is Stephanie. I have a rare, potentially life threatening disease that I worked to diagnose myself. You didn’t help me do this. You were just too concerned with what billing code I should be processed under.

Sincerely,

Anyone and everyone who has not been taken seriously

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