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Misdiagnosed

 

I fell on the steps again. I ended up on the floor again. Karma. I'm so fucking tired of it.

The adventure continued when I lost balance and slid down three stairs. My lower back hit each tread's nosing.  Holy fuck, the pain! I stayed on the floor and rubbed around the scar from my laminectomy, softly crying my eyes out while the dogs pawed at me: You're on the floor! Play with us! No. Just no.

The hours crept on. I reached my pain threshold.

The ER doctor, Richard Hemdon, is an asshole. I described the accident and my symptoms. Nerve pain. Breakthrough nerve pain. Nerve pain that feels like electricity going down both legs instead of just the left leg. Registering a 9 on my pain scale nerve pain.

I asked to have a pain med on board before going to radiology. The nurse brought me a Tylenol extended release, 650 mg. I'd already taken a prescription strength Tylenol. It's a Schedule III controlled substance because, technically, it is an opioid. If the T3 didn't work, why would some over-the-counter dosage change that?

My nurse rolled her eyes at the doctor's inability to pull his head out of his ass. How the fuck was an over-the-counter pill going to put a dent in the nerve pain?! So off I went, sans any relief. Still at a fucking 9 on my pain scale.

Maneuvering from gurney to CT table was neurogenic hell. Maneuvering back was neurogenic hell. Maneuvering on the xray table was neurogenic hell. Maneuvering back was neurogenic hell.

My blood pressure was asinine high by time I was returned to my bay. My pain was a 10 and no meditation technique could prevent me from clenching every muscle. I don't know how long I was laying there. No pain medication still. Radiology came back in to do another CT. I didn't fucking care at this point.

The sanctimonious fuckwhistle had the gall to lecture me. "The ER isn't for pain management." No shit. That's why I don't come in daily, and why you don't see me unless there's breakthrough pain.

Oh, but it gets worse. I explained to him that I don't roll around and cry when I'm in severe pain. I was abused whenever I outwardly showed any signs of it. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for breakthrough pain. (How many times did I have to say that?!) 

He stomped away like a petulant child, returning ten minutes later to tell me that I had 33 ER visits for pain.

No shit. My back surgery was put off a year due to COVID. We scheduled a little over 6 months into 2021. Those months slowly destroyed my ability to function. I couldn't stand for long. I couldn't go from one end of my house to the other without pain. I pissed myself. I shat myself. I fell. I fell. I fell.

So here I am, in the ER because I fell and had nerve pain screeching down both buttocks and into my legs. I have a DO incapable of opening the notes for those 33 visits. Had he done so, he might not have misdiagnosed me.

In no way did I give any indication that I was suffering from acute lumbar musculoskeletal strain. He added insult to injury by including instructions for "back strain or sprain". I would NOT go to the ER for that shit. I'd slap ice on it, take an extra strength Tylenol, and take it easy with my PT.

Jeff asked the asshole if he was going to give me something for the pain. "Nope."

I'm also not amused by the discharge instructions. 

Back strain is a partial or complete tear of the small fibers of the muscles or tendons. A back sprain is when there is a partial or complete tear of the ligaments that support the back.

The final insult? I was waiting for transport to take me to the ER entrance. I didn't have my walker with me. So I'm sitting in the bay and listening to the asshole tell a woman that she shouldn't put off back surgery. Nerve damage is painful and "it feels like electricity is going down your legs".  And then he told her that he would give her something for her pain.

I'm there for that exact pain. I felt like screaming. Instead, I waited for a wheelchair because we didn't bring my walker in.

The pain was still a 9/10 when we left. I closed my eyes on the way home, smoking to calm myself. Jeff went to Taco Bell. I asked for a taco. I could only hold down a few bites when we got home.

The night sucked. I couldn't stand, I couldn't sit, I couldn't lie down. No position helped to relieve the electricity tearing apart my ass and legs. I stood up around 3 AM and shambled to the bathroom as best I could. I lost my balance and ended up on the floor. I didn't have my phone. Nobody responded to, "Hey! A little help here!" Deaf people are deaf people.

I can't say I wasn't productive while on the floor. I voided my bladder, though that wasn't intended. I returned the taco to the bathroom gods. I gave a lot of thought to those discharge papers, too. "Return to the ER for new or worsening symptoms." Does loss of dignity count?

No way in hell was I going back to the ER with him on shift. I wouldn't give him the satisfaction of lording my 33 34 visits over me. I remained on the floor about an hour. And then I made another attempt to stand. This time it worked. Finally. Freedom! Add a half hour for cleaning up my piss and vomit, and my night was finally over. Pain scale? A 9.



A neat little followup... MyTrinity alerted me to new activity in my patient file. My labs looked alright. But there was a change in my medicines on file. I accessed the record and skimmed all those meds. Know what was removed from my formulary? My oxy. That fuckwhistle shouldn't be practicing medicine.



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