When a Medical Professional Treated My COVID Fears Like an Inconvenience

A couple of months ago I went into urgent care to check on an injury and address the fact that I was experiencing multiple COVID-19 symptoms.

As a person with complicated preexisting health conditions I’m at higher risk of severe complications, so I wanted to get tested just to be sure that everything was OK. My nurse and doctor were amazing, they listened to everything I was saying, they were professional with my care, they made sure that any questions I had were answered and, most importantly, they treated me like I was still human despite my presenting symptoms. But once it was time for me to go to radiology, the experience took a turn for the worst.

At first, it seemed as if the technician who was transporting me may have been trying to comfort me by saying that she doesn’t think that COVID is something to be concerned about. I thought to myself, “OK, she’s just trying to alleviate any type of fear I may have about my test results coming back positive, it’s just not coming across well.” But as she continued to speak I realized that was not the case.  Pretty much from the time that she got me from the exam room to radiology, while they were prepping the X-ray machine, and back to my exam room, she kept talking to me about how much COVID-19 procedures are inconvenient for her.

To summarize, she repeatedly was talking about how much of a pain it is to have to wear the PPE when having to deal with positive and possibly positive COVID-19 patients. Continuing to talk about how uncomfortable and hot the PPE is, she then proceeded to take it off because it was just too annoying for her. She continued on and on about how people are blowing it out of proportion, it’s not a big deal, people shouldn’t be worried because it’s just a respiratory virus, the majority of people will be just fine if the contract it, how too many people who are anxious about their symptoms come in to get tested, etc.

Once we were back in the X-ray room, I could hear her talking to the other technician about how much of an inconvenience patients presenting with COVID-19 symptoms are while they were getting the room ready. I was only about eight to 10 feet away and could hear the majority of the conversation she chose to have. And in that moment, I felt so small, uncomfortable and dismissed.

It’s important to have sensitive medical staff throughout this pandemic. There are so many things that they may not know. She did not know that I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and that I have to take extra precautions. She did not know I help take care of my elderly grandmother who also has EDS. She did not know that many of the people who I love the most have health complications of their own, which puts them at a much higher risk of contracting the virus and experiencing complications.

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What if I was a mother to a young child and was terrified I was going to pass it to them? What if I had chosen to go against social distancing protocols and had been in a group of people? What if I had visited my grandma before I started presenting symptoms and risk putting every folk in the home at risk? There are so many factors that may go into a person deciding to pursue testing and people working in the medical profession need to keep that in mind when dealing with such a sensitive health concern.

And despite all of that insensitive treatment, my COVID-19 test did indeed come back negative. I did talk to patient relations at the hospital and they were fantastic. They took care of everything and were very kind, receptive and sympathetic to my complaints and concerns. I am in no way trying to speak poorly on the medical system. My purpose in writing this is hoping that it may open up a new point of perspective for those in the medical profession who choose to read it.

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