The Emergency Room Dread

I had to go to my local ER again Saturday night as my TN was horrible, broke through. Typically I'm treated very well, very quickly and they know exactly what to do to help me and get me back home. Well, not on Saturday when a certain nurse is working :( This is the second time this woman has taken me to fast track ( I'm usually in the ER as they put a line in) and just plops me down and has me wait for her. I'll only explain what happened Saturday for now though.

Normally I'm a very well spoken person who can communicate what is wrong but this week I was in extraordinary pain, hubby just sat there. This nurse comes in and pays special attention to closing the curtain behind her. She then starts verifying my personal info and again asks why I'm there. I point to the left side of my face and say that my trigeminal neuralgia was hurting horribly. Without a beat she says "you were here in November for that, this is not a chronic pain clinic" I just stare at her totally flabbergasted by what she had said and confused. I said it broke through, it's an emergency. We tell her my neurologist has told me to go to the ER when it is just beyond being able to deal with.She then returns to her intake computer and asks if I'm still taking "the Vicodin." I let her know I do not take Vicodin but that I take Norco for my back and yes still do. She said "same thing" and wanted to explain the meds to me and I told her I knew what I was taking ( trying to move her along) she asks me if the hydrocodone helps the TN, no not at all. She starts talking about my tegretol, which I do take for my tn, and then my Gabapentin. She wanted to know if the Gabapentin was for the tn and I told her yes and also for my legs. Now of course these questions aren't odd, it's the way she's asking them that is. Condescending, etc she then ends with oh and you're allergic to NSAIDS? I told her I was. (I'll write a blog post about that for an information sharing thang ... yikes) She tells me a neurologist should be helping me and I shouldn't be coming to the ER like it's a pain clinic. (What?? WTH??) We both just stared at her. I knew what was going on, my worst nightmare. This woman thinks I'm a drug seeker. She had even said so you came for pain medication, I said I came for help. I'm crying, almost losing it and she leaves. This woman said not one kind word to me :(

Then in comes the Nurse Practitioner for fast track. My face was hurting badly but I remember her saying something about her not giving me dilaudid ( what the same ER always has for 3 years now) because she wasn't going to prison. That caught my attention, prison?? What are you talking about?? She then says they've stopped giving woman my age (43) dilaudid because many go home and suffer respiratory distress. 0.o I feel like I'm in the twilight zone, and tell my hubby they think I'm a drug seeker and got much more upset. Nurse comes in to take my pressure and says she needs my coat off. No please or any common curtosy, nothing. :( Pract comes back in and says she's giving me Xanax ( told her I purposely did not take anticipating medication) as she thinks I'm making my pain worse myself. Ohh how I wish that were true... She then has nurse give me an injection of morphine. Injections take longer and do not always work. This is why the ER always puts a line in :( so, I sit in pain, now also upset and crying due to the treatment I've gotten and 40 min later we are nowhere.

I stand in the entry to my bed in eyesight of 5 people. They all, including that nurse, ignore me and disappear. I sit down feeling just like garbage, like trash... I began to cry louder and asked my hubby why won't anyone help me ? As I was still in agony. I hear beyond the curtain. "We know you're still in pain, we hear you crying" said loudly for everyone to hear, after that I wanted to just leave and go somewhere else as I seriously needed help. Right then they came in with more morphine. After that I asked her for something for my stomach as I knew what was coming next. She gave me a pill for that. Then I was upset, in agony, couldn't stand, couldn't read and just wanted to go home. I did try to speak to the practitioner but I doubt she was listening. I complained calmly about how the nurse had treated me :( the pain eventually calmed down but the other hurt they caused has not :(

Sorry this is so long but what would you do? I'm scared to have to there again as I know I'll have to. I feel humiliated, unimportant and depressed :( Am I over reacting?


PS It wasn't about what medication was given me, I am upset by the manner of the two women who did handle me. There was no compassion, almost irritation and they made me feel unimportant as well as unwanted :( I am still emotionally very upset about this... wish I had someone to talk to who understood. Having breakthrough pain was not my fault, I was not guilty of anything. Following my neurologists advise to seek help for this at an ER was the proper action but I was made to feel wrong.... sigh. Having the expectation of compassion, care and help when you go to an ER is not odd. Being made to feel as I was made to feel that night is a horrible thing to do to to someone with TN :( Like we don't already feel helpless enough..

I also did call the Guest Services manager 2 days later and explained my upset. While I can grasp and understand the frustration ERs have with drug seekers etc it was wrong to assume I was one, it was wrong to treat me like I was treated and very distressing to me especially in my situation :( They COULD have called my neurologist...or a number of things.

I had had a similar experience. I was in between neurologists- I did not like my first one, who initially diagnosed me, so I sought out a new one. In the interim I was being treated by my primary. I was having a major flare and had not eaten or drank in 3 days. I could barely speak and couldn’t touch my face, let alone brush my teeth, wash my face, etc. My dr sent me to the ER to receive some fluids. Once I got there I was treated like I had no idea what I was talking about. I was told I did not have TN, that In fact had TMJ and that I was choosing to not open my jaw or speak and they refused to give me fluids for that reason. They also refused to give me any meds outside of extra strength Tylenol and recommended that if I wanted any relief that all I had to do was get a shot in my jaw. When they were doing a few tests on my senses they would touch my face and I would automatically pull back bc it hurt so bad, so they said I was not being cooperative and would not treat my further. They gave me some Tylenol and sent me on my way. Thank god my neurologist appt was only a few days away and I was given the miracle drug triliptal!

Anne, I am so sorry honey :( I know how that feels... sigh. This is obviously a problem for TN sufferers as there is no way to verify our condition or pain. Thanks to the jerkoff seekers we are treated like crap. I now have a note, on script slip, from my neurologist stating her instructions to treat me in her fancy medical jargon lol I am also going to print out the very useful form provided on this site. We must demand to be respected and taken seriously, we must be advocates for ourselves. It can be difficult when you are being judged but preparation is best probably and the more prepared we are the better.

I know how you feel, I go through that everytime I would go to one certain hospital, I switched PCP and hospitals and I love it. first time I went with my TN they admitted me and that was the first time that has ever happened. So impressed with Menorah Medical center!!

That's good Jen :) I think it's so very important for us to feel comfortable going to the ER. When we are at the point of needing that attention it is usually pretty damn bad and being treated poorly really has a large emotional effect... It really hurt me :( But, I addressed it and hopefully that nurse in particular will be more reasonable IF she ever treats me again. I doubt highly if I have to go I will follow her down a hallway lol Nope...