I mentioned in my last post that I had an emergency room visit that went very poorly. I slipped and injured my foot and thought it may be broken. Now, our local ER doesn't have a great reputation but I thought for something as simple as a broken foot, they would be alright.
Checking in went well, no one made a fuss about Cole beyond the usual whispered comments. I was triaged relatively quickly and taken back to a room. Coleman attracted a lot of attention from the nurses but they were respectful. Eventually a nurse came in, heard my story and took me for an x-ray.
I was taken back to my room and waited for the doctor to come. After a while, a PA walks in to go over my results.
He said that the x-ray didn't show a break as he read my information. When I asked what the problem was, since my foot was so swollen and painful even for me, he told me I had a hurt foot (and that is verbatim). At this point, I saw a change in his entire demeanor. I asked what could be done and he siad nothing. Then I asked how long it would take to heal since I had a beach trip coming up. He said I should probably cancel and then asked if we had already paid for our stay in a very insulting manner. I replied that we had and asked if there was at least something I could do for the pain (I was thinking ice or a brace) and then things really went down hill. He gave a speil about how I already had good pain meds and the ER couldn't give me any better. I told him point blank that I wasn't trying to get narcotics, I knew I already had excellent pain management medication (although it was for my CRPS nerve pain, not the foot pain I was experiencing). He ignored me and told the nurse to give me an ibuprofen. At this point I was so angry I could hardly speak. The nurse brought in my discharge papers and I left.
I understad drug seekers exist. But if this PA had taken time to look in to my medical history a little deeper, he would have realized I show none of the signs of a drug seeker. I've had the same PM doctor for years, I have an implanted medicine pump, I have very few emergency room visits and I had a true injury. Instead he saw a disease with the word pain in it, one of my current medications and immediately dismissed me. I know chronic pain sufferers get this treatment all the time but it was especially hard to take when I was in so much pain that wasn't my norm. It is baffling to me how someone who practices medicine has no problem dismissing someone within a minute. I suppose "first, do no harm" doesn't extend to people they deem unworthy of fair and proper treatment.
Obviously there is a need for more education about chronic pain and how to identify drug seekers in loca emergency rooms. I'm just not sure how to go about it. I responded to the survey sent by the hospital but never got a response from them. I'm not sure they would even listen to a chronic pain patient anyway. I know many groups try to do education but it either isn't reaching far enough or hospitals aren't taking it seriously.