Gratitude is something I feel strongly towards Doctor Tash. Before I turned nine, the term Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis held no meaning for me. The first day it did was a day that is now seared into my memory.I don’t quite recall the exact moment when pain became a constant in my life, but I remember it starting off as a dull throbbing in my knees, culminating to being so intense that I lost the ability to walk on my own at some point. I was approaching my ninth birthday when my parents decided it was time to get professional help. It was during my first visit to the GP when I got my official diagnosis – Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. I was scared and confused by this foreign term and started to do in-depth research. They say people fear what they don’t know, and this couldn’t be truer as the more I learnt about the condition, the less afraid I became. I had been referred to a specialist at the hospital and as my appointment date drew nearer, my apprehension grew. I had come to terms with my condition, but I was still fearful. On the morning of my appointment, I was a nervous wreck. I remember waking up with a lump in my throat, and I could not even stomach my morning breakfast of toast. I knew it pained my mother to see me in this state.The 20-minute wait in the waiting room felt like 2 hours, and when I was finally called into Doctor Tash’s room, I thought I would pass out from sheer anxiety.“Who do we have here? Ah, Jerelyn!” Doctor Tash boomed as we inched our way into his office. Looking up from his clipboard, his eyes met mine and a grin spread across his face. “Come in! Would you like a candy?” He held a bowl filled with candies out to me. I cautiously reached out, took a butterscotch, and shyly put it in my mouth.Slowly, I felt my anxiety melt away as the sweet, warm butterscotch filled my mouth and soothed my nerves. Doctor Tash was far from the sterile, clinical doctors I’ve met – he was warm and jovial, and reassured me that my condition was manageable. For the first month, I was given oral steroids as a solution to the pain. Then, I was prescribed three injections with a blood test monthly to monitor my progress. Although I didn’t like needles, I knew that it was something I would be forced to get used to. With my frequent trips to the hospital, I got to know the nurses around and it soon became a place of familiarity. Now I am twelve. Although I still live with this condition and I know it is something that I will have to contend with for the foreseeable future, I now have the strength to face it. Doctor Tash gave me a change in perspective, and now I live with optimism for full recovery.
Table of Contents