Pain is a funny thing. We all the time hurt ourselves and don't even realize it. We accidentally open the door the wrong way and conk ourselves in the face. We trip on something invisible walking across the room, more than often with a minor accident we don't even remember what happens until days later when a bruise appears and we have to search our brains for the cause. Somewhere, somehow we managed to make it through the course of a day seemingly unscathed. It is nothing short of a minor miracle.
I can openly admit this because it's the truth. I am a huge drama queen, complete with fat tears streaming down my face. At the right moment, a simple encounter turns into a nightmare with Freddy Krueger. Basically, drama is a key factor in my personalty. I don't know why but it's there, along with a sharp tongue and a quick mind.
But sometimes, the Drama Queen takes a step back and The Level Head takes the reins and evenness sets in, which controls the normal part of my behavior, and I'm able to forge ahead thoughtfully and carefully. This past month both sides have shared equal billing as a medical crisis involving something so obvious and ridiculous has taken center stage.
I had been in pain for nearly two months and nearly a half dozen doctors simply dismissed my pain as either psychological or as another problem. One nurse even told me I wasn't a priority because I wasn't doubled over screaming like my arm was chopped off at the elbow. I only couldn't sit, stand, breathe, anything that basically involved everyday movement, but apparently that's just a minor issue.
After awhile, the pain shifted and moved to my stomach where I managed to (without getting technical or gross) simply stop eating. There was no room left in my stomach for food and although I had wanted to lost 10 pounds, this wasn't the approach I had in mind. Finally someone gained a clue and said I should be in the hospital.
It took them about four hours to figure out my appendix had burst and that maybe I wasn't out of my mind, that complaints of pain shouldn't be ignored and that if the removal of a non-vital organ would stop me from bitching to the hills, then let's do it. But even then they didn't know if that was it.
What's most frustrating is being told there is no problem when there is a clear one. It got to the point where even my own mother didn't believe me and after awhile I started to believe it was all in my head myself though I couldn't do the littlest thing like drive or sit at my computer desk.
Sometimes I wonder if medical professionals forget what it's like to be sick and uncertain of what's going on, that although we as outsiders don't have the technical know how, we still have common sense, and with that comes a certain level of knowledge. I've lived in this body for nearly 27 years and I know when something is off. But people don't look at the present, they look at past incidents -- a few knocks to the head, a few broken bones -- and suddenly they think this present pain is anything worthwhile.
People fall through the medical cracks all the time. I've seen it firsthand for myself and I refuse to be another statistic over something as a ridiculous as an appendix removal. I don't want to be seen as a Florence Nightingale, but I do think it's time that the lines of communication between doctors and patients needs to be opened farther and expanded upon, and there has to be a common level of mutual respect.
Have you fallen through the medical cracks or been told there wasn't a problem when clearly there was?
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