Foster care screwed me — I am a medical mystery
Next week I goto the endocrinologist because I have something wrong with my thyroid.
This afternoon I checked my mailbox. Usually I only get bills or nothing; so sometimes I dont even bother looking. But today I got this big envelope that was stuffed inside my box. I was scared at first, because it looked official and I had some brief panic about my safety. I read the return address it said ____ Medical Associates.
I took the envelope into the kitchen. Inside there was a brief letter and four pages of paper, stapled together on the top left corner.
“Dear LT (but my real name),
You are scheduled for an appointment on September 28, 2011 at 10:30 AM with Dr. W____. In order to help us understand your medical history, treatment history, and family history of disease, please fill out the included forms as thoroughly as possible. The more detail that you can provide, the better understanding of your health and your medical concerns we will have. Please bring the completed forms to your appointment.
If you have any questions, contact us at (xxx) xxx-xxxx.
_____ Medical Associates
After rereading the note, I looked at the forms that were included:
The first page seemed fine. It required (a) general information about me, (b) information about my current symptoms, and (c) information about my current physical and psychiatric conditions, treatment, and medications.
The second page got harder. It required (a) past illnesses or injuries and (b) treatment received for those listed in part (a)
(I never know how to answer these types of questions…Do I talk about childhood events or just events as an adult (after 18)? Why does it matter?)
The third and forth pages sucked. They were all about family. There were separate boxes for grandparents, mother, father, siblings… There were circles to fill in next to diseases for each family member. Some diseases I have heard about like cancer and heart disease and diabetes. Some diseases I never heard of like polycystic ovary syndrome and osteomalacia (rickets) and congenital adrenal hyperplasia. There were TONS of diseases listed. Many had lines next to them for “more information,” such as what type of cancer or what age diagnosed. Pages 3 and 4 even asked about whether each family member was living or deceased…
I dropped the papers to the counter and slid my hands through my messy hair. I felt defeated… and then without any warning, I screamed for the whole world to hear:
How the fuck do I know?
I fucking hate this
You see, I dont know anything about my family medical history. Nothing. Not a thing. Am I destined for cancer? Dunno. Did my family have thyroid problems? Dont have a fucking clue. Did my mother have female problems? Who the fuck knows?
I am a medical mystery
I have no knowledge of my family history
This sucks for me…
…and it sucks for the doctors.
Couldn’t “the system” get something for me? Some kind of medical history, so I don’t look at forms with a blank stare? There was some system involvement and contact with the bioparents before they “disappeared” or went off to do their time. Did the system not fucking care to get some medical information for me? I guess not.
I understand that how I entered foster care might have been *difficult,* but it should be mandatory that workers do their dammest to get some family medical history when kids enter the system. It should be provided when kids get adopted or age-out. I am a ticking time bomb in a sense, because I have no idea what could pop up at any given time. I once read that doctors have to do more tests on people presenting with no family medical history, to get a baseline. It makes sense, but I have no money. I have no insurance. Who knows if I ever will…
As I stared at the papers, I felt full of sadness and angst. My whole childhood was full of unknowns. And although I left foster care, my life continues to be haunted by my foster care past ….. continuously full of unknowns…