Dear Mrs. Bluth,
What I’m about to share with you has been eating away at me for over five months and I have no one to talk to. I feel so ashamed and violated. You see, when I got married ten months ago, my husband and I moved to another country so that he could complete his studies in Neurosurgery. We left behind our family and friends and started married life in a remote town on the outskirts of a major city and near the hospital where he was accepted as a resident. Needless to say, there was very little in the way of company or friendship, outside of the one other Jewish couple, a young rabbi and his wife who ran the Chabad in a neighboring town. There were a few other Jewish doctors and residents in the same hospital as my husband, but none lived in close enough proximity for us to form friendships or develop a social contact. We were very much isolated but determined to see the two-year program through so that we could return to the United States for my husband to seek employment. I managed to get a secretarial job in an American company, which helped occupy my time, and I was happy being in an environment where English was spoken.
Five months ago, I began feeling dizzy and nauseous, but didn’t tell my husband because he was under a great deal of stress and I didn’t want to worry him. One day at work, I passed out and was rushed to the hospital where my husband worked. He was waiting for me in the emergency bay, but could not stay with me too long. I was left alone until a young doctor came in to examine me and take a series of tests. When all was completed, my husband returned just in time to get the news that we were expecting and that all was well. I was given the name of the hospital’s chief obstetrician, whom I was told to see in the ensuing weeks. Needless to say, we were overjoyed and excited about the turn of events and my husband was thrilled that the chief of obstetrics and gynecology would personally oversee my case.
On the day of my appointment, my husband could not leave work to be with me, so I set out alone to see Doctor S. As I sat in the waiting room, I overheard a whispered conversation between two other women, patients I assumed, who seemed agitated and nervous. They spoke in their native tongue, so I didn’t understand what they were saying but it appeared that the younger one was the daughter of the older woman and she was pleading and crying with the mother about something, trying to get her to leave. I tried to look through a magazine to take my mind off the goings on, but when the receptionist/nurse called them in, the mother had to almost drag her daughter out of the chair and into the inner office. The door closed and I was left with a very strange feeling. Ten minutes later, another nurse came to escort me into an examining room where I answered a litany of questions, had blood drawn and completed other preliminary paperwork before seeing the doctor. There was another wait and finally, a knock on the door and the doctor entered.
Dr. S. was not at all what I expected. Gruff and curt to the point of rudeness, he cut me off as I started to ask a question and dismissed the attending nurse from the room. That’s when I began to worry. Being young and naive and not knowing what to expect, what came next horrified and repulsed me to the point of catatonia, and I froze with terror as he did things to me that I know were cruel and evil, not to mention the pain and degradation I was subjected to. I don’t remember how I got through it, but after he left the room and the nurse came in, she held me as I wept and tried to stand on rubbery legs. I threw up in the street and could barely make it to the train station and home. That night I knew that I had lost the baby.
My husband was devastated when he came home and I told him I had miscarried. I never told him why. We wept together, he because he so wanted a child and because he saw my suffering, and I, because I was still reeling from the shock and the pain of what I had gone through, unable to come to grips with it. What made it a thousand times worse is that Dr. S, after hearing from my husband that I had miscarried, told him that we were young and that first babies sometimes don’t make it and told my husband that I was to come in and see him to make sure I don’t need a D&C. I told my husband I would not go back to him, but would seek out a woman doctor for the exam. Sadly, life has not been the same. I have trouble being with my husband and I am engulfed in a world of sadness. I go through the motion of daily living but I am dead on the inside. I am suffering, my husband is suffering and our marriage is suffering.
My heart breaks for you. Young, newly married, in a strange land amongst strangers, with no one to turn to for advice or counsel, no one who could have gone with you, educated you on what to expect and forewarn you that this beast, masquerading as a healer, was an abuser, a brutal violator of women of the worst sort.
I know this does little to give you comfort or lift the heavy black shroud that encases you, however, understand this – there was nothing you could have done in your state of shock, to stop the assault. Fear and paralysis made you a prisoner and a victim, unable to defend yourself. As for your aborted pregnancy, there may be a host of reasons why you miscarried, and while its possible most of them point to the brutal exam, it may also be that the fetus was not viable and would have aborted of its own accord. You said that you have gone to another doctor, a woman, to check you out after you miscarried. I would like to know what her finding were, as she would have been able to tell if you suffered trauma, abrasions and/or lacerations internally that were suspicious and uncharacteristic with a normal pre-natal exam.Rachel Bluth