BETRAYAL OF TRUST. (SEMI-FICTION)
Something wasn’t right with me but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I had recently turned 16, and I would wake up feeling nauseous and would vomit at certain times. My mother thought that I had developed an eating disorder as I went to great lengths to hide it, but the reality was different.
I remembered from Year Ten that there was a school nurse who visited the school of a Thursday, and I remembered her words, “If you have something wrong that you’re uncomfortable talking to your folks about, you can come and see me, and I won’t tell anybody.” I plucked up the courage and made an appointment to see her one Thursday and had to ensure that my brother, then in Year Eight, didn’t see me.
I remember I walked into her office and she smiled and asked me how she could help. I told her that I had been feeling nauseous and would vomit at times. Her response, although warm, was that I would need to see a doctor. I told her that that was the problem.
“You have a family doctor, don’t you?”
It was then that I bowed my head.
“Well, you do?”
“I wish I could tell my parents.”
“Tell them what, that you don’t feel well, or is there something else?”
“The doctor listed on my school file. I, I -.”
“Oh, is there a problem with that doctor?”
“I don’t like him. But my mother thinks he’s good and has forced me to see him.”
“Oh, I get it. Well, you’re 16, now. Are you still on your parents’ Medicare card?”
“Okay, well, here’s something I can try. Are there other doctors at the practice?”
“Well, I can ring the doctor and ask that you not see the doctor you don’t like. Do you want to try that.”
She went and got my file, then dialed the number.
“Yes, Hello, it’s Sister Karen Le Scott, here, I’m a school nurse. I’ve got Peter Wynn here, and he’s a patient at your medical centre.”
There was a pause.
“Well, Peter is 16, now, and he would like to ask that he not see a particular doctor at your medical centre and to be allowed to see only one doctor.”
“Well, Peter’s parents can’t access his medical records without his permission anymore, so, what you can do is put it on file that he’s not to see that doctor, and if his mother rings up and asks for an appointment for him to see the doctor he doesn’t like, you can just say that the doctor is booked out and offer an appointment with the one he likes instead.”
“Okay,” the nurse smiled, “thanks. Bye.”
“What did she say?”
“Okay, she’s noted on your file that you’re not to see the doctor you don’t like. Now, do you have someone else who can take you to the doctor?”
“My autism mentor could.”
“Okay. Do you want me to give them a call and we can sort something out?”
The nurse rang my mentor. And we made an appointment for me to see a doctor with whom I was comfortable for the following afternoon.
We walked into the waiting room around ten minutes before my appointment and the receptionist, a young woman I hadn’t seen before, looked up at my mentor. “Yes, can I help you?”
“An appointment for Peter Wynn at four o’clock.”
“And you are?”
“Melissa O’Halloran. I’m Peter’s autism mentor.”
Shortly after four o’clock, I was ushered into the consultation room of a young female doctor. “How can I help you?”
I told her about my nausea and vomiting and that I was scared.
“Why are you scared?”
“I’ve not been sick for weeks like this and I’m frightened it might be stomach cancer or leukaemia or something.”
“Stomach cancer in someone so young is highly unlikely. As for leukaemia, have you had any cold or flu-like symptoms?”
After she looked down my throat and got me to lie on the couch and palpated my belly, she asked me to hop down.
“I very much doubt that you have anything as serious as stomach cancer, and I also doubt an ulcer, but, I do think it might be a food intolerance, such as coeliac disease, that’s causing your symptoms. What I’ll do is send you for some blood tests.”
She gave me a form and I took it with me and my mentor and I went and had the tests and agreed to see my doctor the following week.
When I arrived home, my mother said that she had tried to make an appointment for me to see a doctor she knew I didn’t like without success, but she had managed one for the following Monday.
“You’re too late,” I said.
“What do you mean? You haven’t been yet.”
“Yes, I have. Melissa took me.”
“Who did you see?”
“Not telling. But it was a lady.”
“And what did she say?”
“She thinks it might be coeliac disease. So, I can’t eat gluten.”
“Well, why didn’t you come to me and ask if I could take you?”
“Well, you forced me to see a doctor you knew I didn’t like when I was twelve and tried it again when I was 13 and did it when I was 16. I went and saw the school nurse and she told me that I didn’t have to see a doctor I didn’t like. You hurt me.”
*This is semi-fiction. I do have coeliac disease, and I didn’t have a doctor I liked until I was 23. It is true that when you reach a certain age, your parents can’t access your medical records. What I NEEDED growing up was an autism mentor, like the mentor programs that are around today, who could have helped me with this situation.