As a chronic pain patient, it doesn’t matter what I go to the doctor for, I always feel desperate to be heard.
In last week’s blog post Why I fear hospitals, doctors, and test results I shared some of the ways that the medical profession has failed me and in some cases almost cost me my life.
Yesterday, just a few days after posting it, I shared how was once again mistreated and misdiagnosed.
Today I am sharing how the rage that filled me and the pain that consumed me helped get the answers I needed. There was also a little bit of luck involved, but you will have to continue reading to find out what that was……
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Flying off the handle
My behavior in the emergency room wasn’t my best…..
However, I can’t imagine anyone being in the pain that I was in, having a technician grind her ultrasound wand into an injury, having pain medication delayed by two hours, and then being told that nothing is wrong to just go home and lose weight, who would take that in stride and say “Thanks Doc! I will do it!”!!
Seriously, unless you have no regard for your own life or you believe that doctors are some type of god, then you would have put up a fight too!
Tears poured down my face as he outlined a diet plan and told me to return if the pain became worse.
When he asked if there was anything else, I said yes, find what is wrong with me.
He said the tests show nothing wrong. I said…..F*ck you!
Desperate to be heard
With that, I calmly asked the nurse to remove my IV. She had failed to collect a urine sample during my time there and requested that I do it then. My husband and I asked her what the point of it would be.
It wasn’t going to change the doctor’s mind, he was drawing up the discharge papers as we spoke
Not to mention that with the state of mind I was in at that moment, had I filled that cup, I would have been arrested for throwing urine in the face of the doctor and anyone who got in my way, that’s is how angry I was.
I could barely walk to the car. I had to make frequent stops even though my husband parked near the emergency room entrance.
The pain in my abdomen continued to increase. Every few feet I had to stop to lean on my husband for both physical and emotional strength.
I completely broke down when we reached our car. What the hell was I going to do?
Following up with my primary would be a joke as he was the one to push end-of-life pain relief care instead of pushing my HMO to approve surgery to release my bowels from abdominal adhesions in 2016.
Then I thought, this is not when or how I go down!!! It’s time to fight!
Having a primary care DR is useless with an HMO
When I first joined my HMO, my primary doctor was fairly easy to get into. The most I ever had to wait was two days. At that time he was seeing patients in two facilities.
Then two years ago they began to expand his patient reach and at last count they have him servicing five facilities. It is impossible to see him for anything that can’t wait for at least four weeks and that is if you are lucky. I have had to schedule six months out for a basic check-up.
Once at home I called our HMO. In pain and by this point completely out of my mind, I began screaming at the automated service. It must be set up to handle patients who have been pushed too far as it knew to quickly transfer me to a human. HaHa.
I explained that I had just left the emergency room and that I needed the first available appointment to follow up. My representative then cheerfully tells me that the next available appointment with my doctor would be May 7th.
I burst into tears. Through sobs, I explained my pain, what happened in the ER, and that I would not survive another four weeks without an answer.
Thankfully she listened to me! Trust me, this doesn’t happen often with this HMO, so this was a good sign! I could hear the determination in her voice when she said that she would get me in ASAP. And that she did.
My medical angel
She scheduled me with a doctor that I had never seen before. He was retired, but he helped out by seeing patients the regular staff didn’t have time to once a week.
I later apologized to the nurse who checked me in. My pain level was even higher than the day before and I snapped at her when she tried scheduling my mammogram.
I explained that my boobs were the least of my problems and that I was there for one reason only, the pain in my abdomen.
When she asked if I wanted my flu shot, I shot her my death glare which finally made her stop asking about things that had nothing to do with why I was there.
I was still on guard when the doctor entered the exam room.
Then he did what no doctor did while in the emergency room, he felt around my abdomen and back.
Nobody laid a finger on me in the ER except for the ultrasound technician who rammed her wand into the source of my pain.
We talked for a little bit, then he gave me the news.
MY RIBS WERE BROKEN!!!
As for how many or how severe we are not sure and according to this doctor that information wouldn’t change the recovery process/time. All further testing would do is waste my time, energy, and money. And I agreed!
Seeing a random retired doctor turned out to be the best stroke of luck I could have ever hoped for.
An answer makes a difference
Was it the diagnosis that I was expecting? NO!
Was I happy about it? YES and here is why!
I wasn’t happy to discover that I have broken ribs, but I was thrilled to finally know what I was dealing with.
Does the recovery process suck? Yes, but again, I know what I am dealing with and that with patience and by following this doctor’s orders it will heal!
How did the emergency room miss it?
Everyone keeps asking how the emergency room doctor missed broken ribs.
According to the doctor at my follow up appointment, the x-ray showed major inflammation around my ribcage and that although the fractures couldn’t be seen in that image, all they had to do was touch the area as he did to know that there was a break.
At the very least, the amount of inflammation should have been a clue!
He validated what I have been thinking for years and that is that today’s doctors don’t listen to there patients.
Had the ER doctor listened to me, touched me, and looked at my scans, he too could have solved the mystery. But he didn’t and instead he fat-shamed me and gave up.
I was so sad to learn that my angel doctor was retired. He is what we need more of, doctors that listen, touch, and able and willing to read a scan.
Too many people are being sent home with real health issues and injuries but without relief or answers. This needs to stop!!
We are trying to figure out when the initial fractures took place. However, if our hunch is correct, it happened quite some time ago. The big crack didn’t occur until two weeks ago, but I was in pain before that.