Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I usually wouldn't say this, but...

Dr. XXX and nurse YYY deserve to have a three-day unremitting Migraine. I need them to have one, and one that I know about at that!

Last night was pure hell. Between my menstrual period beginning, barometric pressure changes, and forgetting my sunglasses yesterday, I ended up with truly horrendous Migraine attack that began during the evening. Triptans and rescue meds hadn't touched it by midnight, so I went to the closest emergency room for assistance.

Maybe it was a gigantic error to have asked the triage nurse if I could have a cold pack while I waited. Maybe she was just in a bad mood. Whatever the problem was, her response was, "You can wait your turn or you should just take your headache and go home." Being an inventive person, I sent my husband to the vending machine that dispenses cold drinks in cups with ice to bring back two of them. I then dumped the contents of my waterproof cosmetics pouch into my purse, put the ice in the pouch, and used it for an ice bag.

When it was finally my "turn" for triage, the first words out of the nurse's mouth were, "Just where did you get that? I told you to wait your turn." Sorry, but what a bitch! Compassionate health care professional, my ass. At that point, my husband interjected that I had filled my cosmetics pouch with ice from soft drinks that he purchased from their vending machine. Did the nurse apologize? No. She actually snorted! She then went on to say that a headache wasn't an emergency, she didn't know why I was there taking up valuable time, and that if I thought anyone was going to be foolish enough to give me narcotics, I was sadly mistaken.

Enough! I very calmly and quietly explained to this intellectually, emotionally, and morally challenged so-called nurse that I work for a prominent Migraine and headache specialist and would, in fact refuse narcotics if they were ordered. I told her that I had never encountered such unprofessional, uncaring, and rude behavior from a nurse in my life and that she owed me an apology. Her reply was, "I owe you nothing, and if your attitude does not change, you will not be seen in this emergency department." My husband ignored her, but told he that if I didn't file a JCAHO complaint, he would. At that point, this "nurse" sent me back to the waiting room to "wait my turn."

Unbelievably, the doctor was as bad if not worse. I was lying on the bed in the exam room when he came in, and he informed me that I would sit up if I expected him to treat me. Then he said that he didn't see any reason for me to be there, that since I work for doctor, I should have just waited until I went to work and let him treat me. At that point, I'd had enough. I'd had more than enough. I'd been trying very hard not to vomit since arriving at the hospital. Well! I wasn't going to try any longer. I winked at my husband who tried valliantly not to grin, sat up as the doctor had ordered, and just waited for him to shine his penlight in my eyes. Have you anticipated what happened next? As soon as he was in my face with his little penlight, I vomited. all over his clothes and shoes. What he said next, I won't even recount here. Let it suffice to say, he could have been stellar had he done a residency in profanity. When he finished his little tirade, he offered me an Imitrex injection despite the fact that I'd already taken two doses of Maxalt. Told me it was Imitrex or nothing. My husband told him to get my discharge orders and to be sure that his full name and license number were on them. The fool actually asked why. My husband simply replied, "because you're required to do so if we so request, and that's all you need to know. If you're too stupid to realize what you've done here, I'm not going to waste time explaining things you should have learned in med school while my wife lies here in pain and untreated." My hero!

Driving was not a good idea this morning, so my husband took me to work. My boss took one look at me and invited me into his office. While I was telling him what had transpired in the ER, he gave me some Reglan for nausea and asked a nurse to set up IV infusion of mag sulfate to stop the Migraine. After that, a coworker drove me home.

I don't really expect much to come of it, but my husband has already filed a complaint with JCAHO and requested an appointment with the hospital administrator. So, even though I'd like to be a bigger person, I really hope both that doctor and that nurse are struck with the worst headaches of their lives!


Diana said...

I am so sorry to hear you were treated so horribly bad. There is no excuse for either the doctor or nurse to approach you with that kind of attitude. Trying to give you another dose of a triptan after you'd already had two that day is super brilliant, too. I would venture to guess that is not within the standard of care.

And I completely agree that they deserve to experience a horrible migraine or two so they can understand what a "headache" can really be like. I'm so glad to hear your husband filed a complaint.

I hope you're feeling better. Take care.

Abigail said...

Thank you, Diana!

deborah said...

Hooray for you, and your valiant, ahem, vomitous, arrival at best! It's too bad you missed the nurse. She deserved it as well. Though I don't like wishing these on too many people, I too have wished them on certain health care "professionals" that have no clue what it's like to be the amount of true agony we must live through. I hope you're feeling better now, and congratulate your husband on both his upstanding behavior and filing the report. I only hope they are aware of their mistake, and don't look at it as a disgruntled patient having to sit in the ED with a "headache" as most will.