It takes me a walk, a BART, and another walk to get to my doctor’s office in the city. It’s not a long journey for a carless person used to public transit, but over the years it’s felt like a light year away.
I love my current doctor. She is kind, clearly communicates with me, and most of all, she listens to me.
It hasn’t always been like this. Yet even with her warm embrace, I haven’t often gone to see her.
But today I went to her office and cried. It was my second to last visit. In a country that demands that insurance be connected to our job, mine has decided to cut us off from our health lifelines right when most of us are finally leaving our homes and making sure that everything else is alright.
It took me two years to find my doctor. Two years of seeing others who would physically turn away when I said I was in pain, refuse to run extra tests or write prescriptions for ailments white counterparts easily received prescriptions for. Overdiagnosed when I screamed they were not listening, and underdiagnosed when I screamed they were not listening. The results are all the same.Every juncture of my life comes with reminders that my body is not my own. And someone always knowing ‘better’ than me leads to worlds where someone always demands knowing more of me.
Black women die at alarming rates during childbirth and soon after in preventable situations. We’re dying from the most common reproductive cancer. I am tired of misdiagnoses, missed moments to help us, and the mistrust from years of abuse and racism that leads women like me to not travel even 20 minutes to the doctor. I worry about being a statistic because the statistics look like me.
I don’t have the energy to start over again with someone new. To go through another process of finding someone who gives me the bare, human minimum. So I’ll do all the tests right now that I can with the watchful eye of someone who cares upon me. And I’ll pray that the ancestors remind me of all the ways we keep surviving.
Wanting to live is never enough as a Black woman. It requires that those around us want us to live too.