Open Medicine Foundation®
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ME/CFS and related chronic complex diseases

Appointment by default

By R Robertson

It’s a three month wait to see a specialist.
He must be good.
Hope builds. Hype soars. Finally we meet,
me clutching my medical history list.

Out of hand my notes are dismissed.
What? Why? I should have walked out then.
Oh… but… all that time hoping…wasted?
Only to be second guessed.

My answers to his questions, my default, my mantra,
“Tried that, didn’t help”
With suspicion reserved for addicts he speaks,
I feel the sting of injustice – so familiar.

I sense that impending question,
his default, his mantra. Psychiatrist?
“Tried that for 10 years, didn’t help”
Tears of frustration well, feeling shunned.

I’ve broken my vow not to cry.
In 5 minutes, comes his final default assaults.
Somatic. Functional. Behavioural.
“There’s nothing I can do for you… buh-bye”

I lurch and spin into a familiar zombie haze.
I join my husband in the car.
Only one word is needed to acknowledge my pain.


I nod. I shake my head at the futility.
We drive without words, then,
after 5 minutes, comes his mantra, his slogan, his default.
“We’ll just have to find another doctor”

My mantra.
My slogan.
My default.
My hope.


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