Sometimes, an episode of a television show really hits home for me. Years ago, it was the Gilmore Girls’ “The Incredible Sinking Lorelais.” Last year, it was Randall’s breakdown in the episode “Jack Pearson’s Son” on This is Us.
Last Thursday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” included an unfortunate element of patient “care” that happens more often that people think. *SPOILER ALERT* When Miranda Bailey goes into the hospital, insisting that she’s having a heart attack, the doctors run an EKG and bloodwork. When none of it shows up as signaling a heart attack, Bailey asks for a cardiac stress test. Instead of this, they start asking about her medical history, and when she indicates that she takes medicine for OCD, the head of surgery sends in a psychiatrist to talk to her. It turns out that she WAS having a heart attack and had they done the stress test instead of assuming it was anxiety, then surgery could have been avoided.
As someone who has deal with anxiety my whole life, I found in the past year that many medical concerns aren’t taken seriously if you’re known to have anxiety. Sadly, I’ve learned that that if I want my concerns to be taken seriously, then I wait as long as possible before indicating that I have anxiety.
Luckily, there are those in the episode of Grey’s Anatomy and in real life who understand that anxiety is not what defines every thought and feeling a person may have. Sometimes I really am dizzy or nauseous, and so are others with anxiety.
So thank you Shonda Rhimes and Chandra Wilson for Thursday’s night’s episode. It meant the world to me and I’m sure to many others who have been faced with this issue.