Shortly after settling into the hospital bed, a doctor came into the room, introducing himself and took a seat in one of the two chairs in the room. I explained to him my reason for coming: leg soreness and severe body aches.
He then asked why I had not seen my primary care physician. I explained my internist was located in Oak Park, and I had not visited her since she referred me to my neurologist back in July concerning my Big Brain. Considering my recent medical history, basic medical needs, such as physicals and regular check-ups, have really taken a back seat.
Within five minutes of our conversation, he said to me that he did not want to give me any medications because he had concerns that I was simply a “pain seeker.”
“Wait, are you calling me a drug addict?” I asked abruptly.
“Well, considering your history with our hospital, you have been here three times in ten days seeking pain medication…”
“Maybe because I’m in pain!” My tone sharpened and my volume exploded. This was not wholly unusual in the past several days; the more the pain progressively grew, the more irrational, desperate, and aggressive I’d become. Pain will cause you to do anything–or go against anyone–to soothe the feeling.
“I am going by the notes of my previous colleague. And your CT scan, ultrasound, and blood work indicate there is nothing wrong.”
“I cannot believe that you are accusing me of being a crackhead! I am here because I’m in pain! And if anything, it is you and your colleagues who are at fault for me coming to the ER so much!” At this point, I was screaming, maybe not at the top of my lung but close to it.
“How so?” He asked, taken aback.
“Maybe if you guys would take a thorough investigative approach to this matter, then maybe I wouldn’t be here. You would give me one test, then send me home with pain meds. Then take another test and send me home with more pain meds.” At this point I was uninterruptable. “And for your information, I did not even know what Dilaudid was until your doctor at your hospital gave it to me a week and a half ago. Never in my life have I been accused of being a drug addict. If I was looking for drugs, then why would I go through all of the tests? I want to be out of pain, I want a solution, not more pain meds! And you, a medical professional would have the audacity to say I’m a pain seeker? I came here to be treated, not insulted. I am so fed up with you doctors passing me along like a hot potato these last couple of weeks. I am in pain, don’t you guys get that?” At the end of my tirade, I was almost out of breath.
“Are you done?” He asked, in a mildly sarcastic tone.
“It depends on what you have to say next.” I jabbed back.
“You said other doctors, what other doctors have you seen?”
Still livid at his alluded accusation, I explained my latest surgery, subsequent visits and with the surgeons, the ER visits, all of the tests, the appointment with my neurologist and future appointment with a rheumatologist. I assume, to him, my story had a ring of truth, coincidentally because it was the truth.
“OK, I am going to go review your chart and request your medical information from Northwestern. I will also send in a nurse to take your blood.”
Once he left the room, I became hysterical. I was crying so hard and loudly, I was sure my sobs could be heard in other wings of the hospital. I was physical in pain. Up to this point, I felt dismissed and passed along by doctors. Now my integrity and medical state was now being called into question.