Healthcare Bullies & The Confidence to Say “No”

Three weeks ago, my gynecologist felt a small lump in my breast and referred me for an ultrasound just to be safe. Thankfully, there is no cancer in my family history, so it would be a precautionary trip. No problem.

The day before my appointment, the facility called to schedule my mammogram. “No,” I replied,” I’m scheduled for an ultrasound, not a mammogram.” When I checked in to my appointment the next morning, I was handed a paper and told to read paragraph two, which was an acknowledgement that diagnostic mammograms are not covered by insurance. With mild irritation, I began “Excuse me…” I was told to talk to the staff in the back.

I change into the pink gown and sit in the waiting room. My name is called and I’m escorted back to a room housing a towering machine that is certainly not used for ultrasounds. “My doctor ordered an ultrasound, and I don’t want any additional procedures,” I repeated. The technician said she would need to consult the radiologist to see if they could “allow me to refuse.” What?!

I was sent back into the waiting room. I was ready for someone to walk out and tell me that I can’t opt out. And I was ready to walk out of the facility if they did.

After nearly an hour, the ultrasound was performed. Everything was clear, and I was sent on my way and told to come back when I’m 40. The mammogram had not been necessary. I knew that, and the radiologist reaffirmed it.

The relief of benignity was overshadowed by seething anger. I was pressured and bullied, and made to feel like the ultimate Karen for sticking up for myself. I called my partner to vent. Once I’d said my part, he replied, “I’m proud of you. Five years ago, you would have given in, against your will.” And he was right. I’m a people-pleasing pushover turned up to an eleven. And I had the courage to say, “no.”

While I’m still livid that scared and vulnerable women are being fear-mongered into procedures beyond their doctors’ requests, I am proud of myself too. I have always treated others with kindness and respect, yet I’m no longer willing tolerate the bullying and bullshit. Without realizing it, I’ve reached the point where I no longer feel obligated to sacrifice my own well-being for the good of others. I can now confidently say “no” when I need to without being flooded with guilt, worry, and anxiety. And that feels pretty damn good.

6 thoughts on “Healthcare Bullies & The Confidence to Say “No”

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  1. I wholeheartedly endorse your common sense and proprietary (it is after all your being and physical body) reaction against the bland automaticity of modern medical process. What is missing is something I hop you also pursued: why were they pushing a procedure o you that wa not what was previously agreed to? This is serious and can potentially be egregious, and they should have to answer to you for that, not the other way around.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! I actually contacted my physician to let her office know what happened because, you’re right, that’s absolutely not okay. Unfortunately, my physician and the facility are both part of a huge health local system, so I worry the feedback will be brushed aside. But, I did share my experience. No one should be pressured into a medical procedure that they and they physician did not request. Hopefully, they do make some changes and others don’t need to go through the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Way to go!!! Woot woot!! I can relate, I was the quintessential people-pleasing doormat. And certain entities/individuals/systems know this! And they’ll exploit it to high heaven, strong-arming and conveniently “forgetting” what it was *you* wanted or needed. This has become an era of shameless power-grabbing agendas, with dark patterns and other manipulation tactics, and good for you for remaining vigilant and assertive 👏👏🙌🙌🍻💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am a recovering people-pleasing doormat. It was an exhausting way of life! To be honest, the thing that broke me was a lengthy bout of chronic fatigue during which I literally didn’t have the energy to deal with the bullshit. There is always a silver lining! 🌈😁 It’s really unfortunate. I called my doctor’s office and her PA was mortified and apologetic because, apparently, this has been a recurrent issue with their patients and the imaging clinic is still pushing unnecessary (and potentially harmful, with unnecessary radiation) procedures just for some extra cash. It’s truly despicable. We all need to be our own advocates in the modern age.

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