About two weeks ago I woke up with excruciating abdominal pain. The pain had started the week prior, however, it was mild and subsided within a couple of hours. The pain was unlike anything I’ve felt in the past. When I was eight years old I developed Crohn’s Disease, which is a genetic gastrointestinal disease. With most cases of Crohn’s a small part of the intestines is diseased and incapable of digesting certain foods, causing pain and inflammation. For other cases, like my brother’s, the pain and disease can spread and lead to multiple bowel resections. Thankfully, my own case has not gotten that bad and hopefully it never will be. As a stayed home from classes for the day, I waited for the pain to subside but it only got worse and was not in the area in which I usually feel pain when I had a Crohn’s flare up. I typically feel pain on the left side, but this time the paid resided on the right side of my abdomen. As the day turned to evening my mother decided to take me to the ER.
We arrived at the hospital at the most inconvenient time imaginable, flu season. The waiting room overflowed with crying children and ailing adults, myself being one of them. We waited for what seemed like an eternity just to get a room so that a doctor could examine me. At the rate that patients were arriving it seemed as if we were all waiting in line to be seated at the busiest restaurant in town. Once I finally got a room, the nurse immediately asked for a urine sample and drew 6 vials of blood. The speed with which she took the samples drew a red flag for me because I hadn’t been physically examined by a doctor yet. I get it, the ER is crowded and they want to get people in and out, but I want to be taken care of, not treated like a rag doll. After being poked and prodded with needles I had to reiterate the amount of pain I was in so that I could at least relax while I waited for my results to return.
The nurse kindly ordered two vials of Morphine for the pain and Zofran for nausea. This was merely the beginning of the nightmare. When my nurse attempted to inject the Morphine into my IV, the strangest thing happened. As she attached the tip of the syringe to my IV port the morphine shot out of the opposite end of its vial, forcing the syringe out of the tube and onto my gown, along with the pain medicine. In a sheer moment of panic, due to evident health code violations, the nurse had to file a report since the medicine never made it into my system. At this point I still haven’t been seen by a doctor. Once the nurse got more Morphine it finally made its way into my system but it made me feel worse. By the time a doctor examined my abdomen he concluded it was a gastrointestinal issue and referred me to a specialist since the ER “only manages the pain.” I left the hospital with the same pain and onset nausea that was out of this world.
This first trip to the hospital convinced me of many things. The most obvious being that the ER is a last resort and won’t necessarily solve the problem that you arrive with. Instead, they’ll make you wait for hours in a waiting room while you suffer from pain. From my experience I was convinced that my pain was not as serious to the doctor’s as it was to me. Even though my tests results were negative, I felt a more thorough investigation was necessary to find the root of my problem. It was as if there was no point in going to the emergency room in the first place, since they “diagnosed” me simply on blood and urine results. The lack of dedication to my case proved that they nurses and doctors just wanted to get me in and out of my room so that another patient could occupy it. This wouldn’t be my first ER experience that week. The pain later increased and put me back in the ER three days later.