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fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

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Pris Campbell

Doctors Run When They See Me Coming

I take two medications. One is Armour Thyroid, as I can’t tolerate the usual thyroid medication. The other addresses symptoms of a neuroimmune disease I’ve had for years—allowing me to endure sound and light and stopping the minor seizures I had when I was subjected to those two things. Those meds help me, and I am grateful for them. But the problem is that I can tolerate almost no other medication that doctors have suggested.

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Such a Nice Man

He could have been named Mr Congeniality. He was warm and friendly to people around him, always ready to do a favor. I met him when he worked a summer where I was working. His masters degree wasn’t enough to get the jobs he wanted, so he decided to apply to PhD programs. He and I became friends over the summer, and I helped him with feedback about grad schools, housing, and so on. His wife and child had stayed that summer where she had a full-time job so she could continue working.

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Losing My Footing

I have a neuroimmune illness that for years was considered not to be “real” but that changed my life. On top of that, I’m unable to tolerate many medications, which have too often been prescribed for me with no consideration of what I’ve told doctors about their debilitating side effects. But about eighteen years ago, an angel entered my life in the form of a physician who did his initial training in India and then finished up in New York. I don’t know if it was his Eastern orientation that made him so patient-oriented, listening seriously when I needed his help, but he was perfect.

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Count Down

Back in May, after two doctor visits, a scan, X-rays and a foot MRI, it was determined that the excruciating pain beneath my left ankle was due to two cysts pressing against a nerve. My orthopedist set me up for an operation the following week to remove them.

Anesthesia would be required, so the surgery would take place in the outpatient section of a nearby hospital. The operation was scheduled for 3:30 p.m., and I was told to be there at 2 for the prep work.

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Just in Time

I still remember the thrill when the Roe v. Wade decision was issued. In grad school, a friend had tried to abort with a coat hanger when her boyfriend dumped her and offered no support. I was always careful about contraception but knew a number of women who became pregnant even using it. I never expected to need an abortion but was grateful once I had that option.

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Doctor Knows Best

I worked as a PhD clinical psychologist for many years and was respected for my knowledge and hard work. There were exceptions, of course: mainly from the male psychiatrists I crossed paths with. This should have prepared me for my experiences as a patient, when I saw male doctors for health issues. Not so.

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It Could Have Been Me

When I was a sophomore in high school, I went with the band director’s son and wife to a weekend band clinic a couple of hours away from my South Carolina home. This was the 1950s, when bench seats in cars were common, so we all rode in the front seat. On the way home, Mrs. Mills suggested we stop in a town forty minutes from home to attend church—not an unexpected suggestion in that Bible Belt place and time.

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