What I Wish Doctors Told Me About Chronic Illness

Stella Guan
9 min readNov 12, 2019

I learned it the hard way so you don’t have to

I was lying on the exam table at my primary care doctor’s office.

“Yup, you are definitely bloated,” said my doctor. After a brief abdominal exam, I was instructed to take Zantac and go on a bland diet.

The next thing I remember was rushing myself to urgent care. In the span of a week, my acid reflux had become so severe that I couldn’t even take down water. I became extremely dizzy and nauseous from dehydration. I knew I couldn’t go to sleep like this — otherwise I may not wake up.

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

At urgent care, I was advised to dilute 50% Gatorade with 50% water and freeze it into ice cubes so I can at least suck the moisture down to keep myself hydrated.

The next morning, I desperately went down the list of gastroenterologists on Zocdoc and called each office trying to get an appointment on the same day. After calling three offices and hearing no availabilities, I began to panic.

When the fourth place said there is one appointment slot, I immediately rushed there. Having had only tiny amount of oatmeal and bananas for the entire week, I was extremely weak, shaky and barely able to speak.

Luckily, I was seen by a very compassionate doctor whose calming voice made me feel…