#MeToo and Bad Doctors

By Crystal Lindell, Columnist

I recently had a really bad experience with a doctor.

He tried to pressure me into getting a spinal cord stimulator that multiple doctors have said I should not get. And when I tried to say no, he got visibly angry and started being incredibly condescending.

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He said my other doctors didn’t know what they were talking about. That I didn’t know what I what I was talking about. That the internet didn’t know what it was talking about. That everyone else was wrong, he was right and to disagree was painfully stupid.

And I have to tell you something, it impacted the same part of my brain and my soul that gets damaged every time a man tries to force me to do what I don’t want to do in a sexual situation. When he pushes well beyond all my boundaries, insisting on a date after I clearly said no. Insisting on more in bed, after I clearly said no.

I felt just as vulnerable in his office as I have with horrible men in their cars who tried to force me to kiss them while they ignored texts from their wives.

I can only imagine that this doctor is a man who is not used to hearing the word no, and I would guess that as much as he doesn’t like to hear it from his patients, he doesn’t like to hear it in romantic encounters either.

I was stressed about the whole thing for weeks after. And when I had to go back to his office for a treatment only they do locally, I had a nightmare the night before that the nurses there were chasing me down flights of endless stairs and setting my hair on fire.

Dreams are weird. But they are often a reflection of some larger truth. And the larger truth here was that the whole thing made me feel violated. And scared.

This was a man who wanted to do something to my body that I was clearly against him doing. And when I resisted, he just pushed harder to get his way and then insulted me for declining. It’s not so different from what many women face from men in the bedroom. And it felt just as traumatic for me.

There is a cultural shift happening for women. There’s #MeToo and #TimesUp, and as the French say, #BalanceTonPorc -- or squeal on your pig. The painful reckoning is happening, as we realize that half the population are actually human beings too.  

But if you are struggling to understand how it feels to be viewed as inferior all the time — either because you’re a man or one of the lucky women who hasn’t experienced it — I can tell you that sitting across from a doctor who doesn’t believe you, doesn’t trust you, and who implies you are too stupid to make decisions about your own body is a very similar feeling.

I wish I had some wise words to end this column on — that I could share some wisdom about how to make the world a better place. But the truth is, I don’t really know how to do that, at least not in any practical way that goes beyond just freaking be kind to the other people you encounter.

So I’ll just leave you with this potential for some sort of justice. I have reported this doctor. He is being investigated. And hopefully, it will save other patients the pain of such an experience — at least from him.

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Crystal Lindell is a journalist who lives in Illinois. She loves Taco Bell, watching "Burn Notice" episodes on Netflix and Snicker's Bites. She has had intercostal neuralgia since 2013.

Crystal writes about it on her blog, “The Only Certainty is Bad Grammar.”

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.