It took eight doctors before I finally found one who took me seriously and started a course of treatment that would help improve my health over time. I left that appointment overwhelmed with emotion, but this time mainly out of sheer relief and happiness.
But commingled with the solace I felt in that moment was also fury at the doctors who refused to listen to me. I hated the fact that I had to wear that sweatshirt or remember to gratuitously share information about my occupation and where I worked, all in a desperate attempt to be taken seriously when my life was hanging in the balance. I hated having to question if this would have been the case had I been white, knowing the answer all too well.
Semhar Fisseha is a Senior Administrator of a department in a large NYC-based hospital. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her 9-year-old daughter.