… and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
That iconic line, spoken by the late great Peter Finch in the movie “Network” has often been quoted, referring to any number of crappy situations. The full monolog by Finch’s character, Howard Beale, is worth a listen whether you have seen the movie or not. It has been quoted or paraphrased in other movies, the media, and probably every trivia game in existence! Finch won a posthumous best actor Oscar for the role.
So what am I so worked up about that I won’t take it anymore?
I have been dealing with an acute (as opposed to my chronic) pain in my right side for a couple of weeks now. I passed a kidney stone the size of a bee-bee pellet after the first week and had 24 hours of relief. After that, the pain came back even worse. I continued to self-treat with lots of lemon water, watching my diet, etc. Hubby and friends tried to convince me to go to the hospital, but I held off because I don’t like being treated like an addict.
However, Wednesday my bad leg started to swell and hurt. Between the two acute pains and my normal chronic conditions, I finally caved. Friday was my husband’s birthday, but he booked the day off (without pay) to take me to the ER and get me checked out.
We waited about five hours before seeing the doctor. I had to ask if they wanted a urine test (totally needed for bladder/kidney pain) and the only other test done was bloodwork.
When the doctor came in he seemed honestly caring and ordered a CT plus heavy pain meds. I maintained from the beginning that I was not here for them, only answers. But after all this time sitting and not having my regular meds I was in agony so I accepted, not realizing he was giving me everything he mentioned at once.
I waited awhile for the results. Hubby had to go home and tend to Violet and Monkey. It was shift change in the ER, so that held it up a little longer. Finally, my new nurse came in and asked if the doctor had seen me and I said yes, but not since the CT scan. The nurse said the doctor called in to say if I could keep food down I could go home. Did that mean I was supposed to eat something there? But I didn’t say that. I asked if that meant the CT didn’t show anything, and he went out to contact the doctor.
The nurse was outside my “room” talking to the doctor on speaker. There was a lot of noise around, but I could hear a lot of it very clearly. Especially, the part where the doctor said: “give her the ‘usual’ and send me home – she’ll latch onto anything she can get.”
I was mortified and furious at the same time. I had even put in writing on the sheet with all my meds, etc. that I was here for answers, not drugs. When the nurse came in and said he could give me six hydromorph to take home, I refused it in a very short angered voice.
I told him that I heard the conversation, and he became very sympathetic and apologetic. He convinced me in the end to take the pills “just in case” I needed them. By this time I was so disgusted that I didn’t care what anyone thought. They are going to think it no matter what I say or do.
Oh, and the nurse also came in with a vile and suggested I leave another sample so they could test for infection. He brought me a couple of cups of water to help me and because my throat sounded dry (it always does). Apparently, they didn’t check for infection the first time around.
I totally believe that God was in this whole situation. I believe He sent me that nurse as an angel. I don’t believe the nurse was “pretending”. He was very genuine in his concern for my health and how I was treated. I also believe God used this to bring me to the point where I ready to fight for my rights.
Hubby came to get me and seeing him I melted. He is my rock and helps me through everything. I told him that we were going out to eat for his birthday. The gravol given with the pain meds actually gave me an appetite for the first time in awhile.
By the time we left, it had been 7 hours in total in the ER.
We went to our favourite restaurant, and our waitress was back from maternity leave. I “let it slip” that it was Hubby’s birthday, so she put a candle in his apple pie and the last three servers came and sang Happy Birthday. We were the last ones there, so he wasn’t too embarrassed. LOL
This whole experience has just fired me up more to campaign against chronic pain stigma. Just because we take a lot of pain meds, doesn’t mean we want more – usually, it is quite the opposite.
In my case, I know that these situations make me less likely to see about new pain until it is so bad that I am sure I do come across as desperate. I have now told Hubby that for sure the only way I will ever set foot in an ER (for me) is unconscious in an ambulance. I know that is drastic, but I am a human being and want to be treated as such.
To all of you out there who have experienced this or worse, we really do NOT need to take it anymore (as I step down carefully from the soap box).
PS I started writing this when we got home last night; however, the meds were starting to wear off, and I was both in pain and exhausted (mentally and physically). I relented and took one of “the usual” and had a very solid eight hours sleep. That is something I haven’t experienced in a long time, so I guess something good came out of it all.