Today, I went to Region Ten, the Charlottesville, Virginia mental health community service board, to get my weekly Trulicity shot.
My regular nurses were not in the office and asked if I would get the shot in the health clinic downstairs.
I returned downstairs and checked in.
I sat next to a linebacker size, blonde man in torn clothes. With the growing loudness of his sighing, I believed he was agitated.
His anger seemed to fill the small waiting room.
He stood up and knocked on a locked door leading to a hallway. An older, petite woman opened the door and asked what he wanted.
He said he wanted his case worker to come out, so he could be driven home. He explained he had finished with doctor and needed to leave.
The woman told him he had to wait and closed the door in his face.
He sat down and continued to sigh.
He got up again and knocked again.
The woman told him again to wait and this time did not open the door.
He became even more agitated.
Finally, his caseworker came out with a quick apology for the delay, because he needed to copy some paperwork.
The big guy sighed and followed the caseworker out.
Why was the door locked?
Why didn’t the woman try to be empathetic or at least comforting with the man?
Why didn’t the woman offer the person something to occupy his time or show the least amount of care like a cup of water, a stress ball, or a snack?
Why was the answer fear, passive aggression, gate keeperism, and denial of needs?
I needed to write this, because I am going to have to explain the truth of why I left that waiting room without getting my shot.
Some who have never had to deal with the microaggressions of caretaker stigma and ableism will read this and be unmoved.
Some who have had to deal with this type of suffering most of the time will read this and remember.
Maybe, together we can create a world of care where more will be moved and less will have to carry the memory.