Friday, September 14, 2007

Art exhibit accepting submissions on Migraine and other pain

American Pain Foundation and The HealthCentral Network: Call for Artistic Submissions for Creativity and Pain Exhibit

Deadline for Entries is September 20, 2007

The American Pain Foundation (“APF”) and project partner The HealthCentral Network, Inc. ( is accepting entries for the 2007 APF Pain and Creativity Exhibit. This online exhibit will showcase all contributing artists and their work, including visual arts, inspirational videos, poetry, and quilt squares. Select submissions will be chosen for special promotion by APF. The Pain and Creativity community will be ongoing, but to be considered for special honor in the Exhibit, and at the APF’s 10th Anniversary Celebration in October, submissions must be received by September 20th. Entries can be submitted at

“ is pleased to be working with the American Pain Foundation to host the Pain and Creativity Exhibit—a virtual space where anyone can share their painting, drawings, sculpture, and video with other individuals dealing with pain,” said Bill Allman, General Manager of HealthCentral. “Art can play a major role in expressing and working through chronic pain, and we believe that the Pain and Creativity Exhibit offers a flexible, supportive environment in which to do this.”

“Recognizing that we are all creative and have the power to turn adversity into opportunity, we would like to expand our Pain and Creativity network to connect artists and their expressions of pain through an online exhibit of creative work,” said Will Rowe, Executive Director of APF. “Our hope is that the submissions to the Pain and Creativity Exhibit come in a variety of forms, including film, sculpture, words, painting and quilt blocks, from people who have pain or from people who are affected by pain.”

Entrants can contribute poetry, prose, a digital photo of their artwork, or an inspirational video that tells the story of how pain can affect one’s life. Along with their submission, entrants also need to include a paragraph that describes how their piece of art represents their pain experience.

A related project sponsored by APF in conjunction with the Lagniappe Project of Baltimore is calling for the submission of quilt blocks for the inclusion in a quilt which will reflect the experience of pain. Quilts are a literal and figurative symbol of comfort and the joining of patchwork is a symbol of unity and community. Through the block design, construction, and joining to create a finished quilt, we hope that the artist finds comfort and unity. The finished quilts will be exhibited at the APF’s 10th Anniversary Celebration in October and will be used for fundraising purposes through the Celebration Auction and/or through other fundraising efforts. For more information on quilt square requirements, CLICK HERE.

The deadline for all submissions is Thursday, September 20.

* * * * * * * * *

About The HealthCentral Network
The HealthCentral Network, Inc. ( is a new and unique online offering, comprised of over 30 general health and highly specific condition and wellness web properties, each committed to offering a voice in everyday and personal language people can understand and connect with at critical points in their lives. Each site provides timely, interactive, in-depth and trusted medical information (from Harvard Health Publications among others), and connections to leading experts and thousands of people who share their related experiences and inspiration.

About the American Pain Foundation
Founded in 1997, the American Pain Foundation is an independent nonprofit 501(c)3 organization serving people with pain through information, advocacy, and support. Our mission is to improve the quality of life of people with pain by raising public awareness, providing practical information, promoting research, and advocating to remove barriers and increase access to effective pain management. For more information, visit

Follow up to ERs from hell

As I followed ERnursey's blog after my last post, I came to like the lady. She took time to answer a couple of comments to her blog and explain the difference between her saying 'migraine' and migraine.

All in all, what she has to say is very similar to what genuine Migraineurs say. Here's a quote from one of her entries:

People with migraines are on preventative, anti-nausea and abortive meds. They come to the ER as a last resort when their usual medications have been tried and failed.

People with 'migraines' are not on any migraine management meds and will often state allergies to them. In fact they are usually allergic to everything but Demerol or Dilaudid.

It's rather sad that what could have been a productive discussion soured very quickly, especially when an ER doctor decided to continue it on his blog and deliberately "baited" the Migraineurs who were trying, for the most part, to participate in a civil, adult conversation. Then there was another ER nurse who has decided to be a total cretin, making comments such as "migraine is the new fibromyalgia.

It's clear that most of these people either have never been ill or they've been very fortunate that the medical professionals who treated them were their ultimate superiors in professionalism, compassion, and plain old human decency.

Still, good doctors and nurses are some of the most underrated people on the face of the earth. Everybody wants to fuss at them if there's the slightest problem; few people think to thank them.

IMO, patients and those doctors and nurses have more in common than the docs and nurses think. Bad experiences with people with 'migraines' have left some of them highly suspicious of everyone who even says the word Migraine. On the flip side, patients who have had the horror of a doctor who was an ass or incompetent (and, yes, as with any profession, there are good doctors and bad) often don't give other doctors a fair shake.

I can't help but be sad about some of the callous and unnecessary comments I read on those blogs over the weekend. Ah, well. A few of the people posting comments mentioned Karma, something I believe is very real. That gives me comfort and yes, brings a bit of a grin to my face.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Every wonder why some ERs are Migraine hell?

Most Migraineurs avoid the ER like the plague. We want to treat our Migraines at home -- conveniently, while retaining our dignity, and without taking up valuable ER space and time.

Another reason is that so many of us have been dismissed as having "just a headache" or even been accused of being a "drug seeker," there just to try to get opioids. We've encountered ER doctors and nurses who have treated us like dirt.

I understand fully that the two biggest reasons people give for being in the ER are back pain and Migraines. I fully understand that people who don't have Migraines often lie to ER staff and say they do to get opiods. I get it! Still, there are times when some Migraineurs have no choice but to go to the ER. Most of our doctors tell us to go to the ER if we're having the worst Migraine ever, if our meds we take at home didn't work and we're still in severe pain, or if we have stroke-like symptoms that we don't usually have with our Migraines.

But some ER doctors and nurses choose to view all Migraineurs as fakes or someone with a headache who doesn't need to be taking up their time. I'm not going to stoop so low as to view all ER doctors as nurses as behaving that way. They don't, but we don't have the luxury of picking and choosing who treats us when we must resort to the ER.

To illustrate the attitudes of some ER personnel, I'm offer you a quote from a blog entry written by an ER nurse:
"...If we have to do a patient satisfaction score, let's ensure that they are only given to the people who really needed to be in the ER to begin with. And that leaves out the vast majority of the prompt care patients. Don't give them to the 'back pain' and 'migraine' crowd, give them to the pneumonia, kidney stone etc and make sure to give on to everyone that was admitted..."

Now, to illustrate an ER doctor's attitude, here's part of a reply he wrote to Teri Robert's comment on the original blog entry:
"...Headache without neuro symptoms? Sorry, we have to see the sick patients first. Please wait in your room."

This, my friends, is pathetic. The ER nurse describes herself as "A hardworking ER nurse trying to survive until retirement and if I can have little fun or have a positive impact on someone's life, all the better!" Positive impact on someone's life? I'm sure she does, but I'm equally sure she's had some cases where she had a very negative impact.

If you'd like to take a look at this blog entry, it's called "Another Blog Voice on Patient Satisfaction Scores."