Before I explain the etiquette breach, I must explain why it happened. I was recently diagnosed with a GI condition that requires medication to be taken three times a day, while I try to do this in private, there are times when I must simply take a pill when I am on public transportation.
I was riding the bus home from work, and realized that the time meant it was time for me to take my medication. I opened my purse, took out a pill and took a small sip of water and resumed listening to music.
Then I became aware of someone tapping my shoulder and saying “Excuse me miss?” very loudly. I took off my headphones and saw an older man who looked very annoyed with me, and before I could ask what faux pas I had committed he demanded to know what I had just put into my mouth. This left me stunned and I stuttered that it was medication, hoping that this would suffice.
Well no, it didn’t. Instead he began yelling at me for poisoning my body, making myself more ill than I already was and I was also extremely stupid for seeing a doctor when there were remedies from the “Far East” that EVERYONE knew about. He had me blocked in so that I could not leave my seat without physically putting my hands on him.
I was used to people offering uninvited medical opinions when they knew I was ill, and many people, while well-meaning were rude, off-putting, unhelpful and ridiculous, I’ve never had someone feel so strongly about it that they needed to block my possible exit, yell at me and call me stupid.
Thankfully, two passengers came to my aid, one grabbing the man and moving him away from me and the other flagging the attention of the bus driver who promptly pulled over and told the man to get off the bus immediately.
I thanked all three and went home, feeling extremely confused and upset.
What he was unaware of is that I suffered from this condition for 7 years, I was originally ignored by my doctor and only when I switched doctors did this new doctor take me seriously, and she referred me to a GI specialist who ran several painful tests and finally determined the condition. My GI also worked with me in finding a medication that worked, with minimal adverse side effects and I cannot thank both doctors enough for helping me live a normal life.
I do not believe my behaviour was extreme or attention getting in the slightest, the pills are extremely small and a bottle of water cannot garner that much attention. I honestly don’t know what the best course of action would have been.
I understand the world of medicine is something that people often feel very strongly about, but this was unacceptable. 0803-11
I’m beginning to think I need to add a new category to the blog entitled, “Medical Malpractice”.