As many of you may or may not know, I now have severe chronic migraines due to the 6 concussions I’ve had that are also indirectly related to my CP— thanks a lot CP. This last Saturday I ended up in the emergency room at the Civic Hospital because of a severe migraine that caused me to not be able to see straight. I had as good as an experience at the ER that one can possibly have until after I was triaged, where a nurse miss read my chart and thought I was on OxyContin to treat my migraines. I gave her a little bit of a pass because it was 2 am and no human brain should have to function at its full capacity at 2 am, however, this was particularly alarming because not only did she miss-read my chart, but, when you work in emergency medicine those types of errors could cost someone their life. Her second mistake was assuming that based on the fact that I was in a chair that I could not use the bathroom by myself in order to complete a necessary diagnostic test. In addition, she assumed that I had a spinal cord injury instead of Cerebral Palsy.
Then my night continued to get worse as I didn’t get seen by a doctor until hours later, therefore my pain continued to get worse. When I finally did get to see a doctor they agreed that I needed IV pain medications and fluids. However, the nurse who put in my IV line was not exactly the most sensitive of individuals, he continued to try and force the IV line into my arm, finally giving up after the first try only because my vein collapsed and then tried a different site. On the second try he asked me to relax and assumed that I had control over why I was extra stiff when in reality it was simply my spasticity, however, he did get it in but I almost fainted because of the pain and turned as white as a ghost. About an hour later I finally started to feel better as the pain medication started to kick in and the fluids started to rehydrate me and they finally discharged me at that point.
Please do not mistake the message of this blog to be one that is anti-nurses or negative against healthcare professionals as I realize that not all nurses are like the ones I encountered the other night at the Civic. What I do wish is that as part of nursing school nurses would be required to do a clinical placement at a long term care facility with individuals that have physical disabilities so that they can gain more exposure, and so that they are not completely lost when an individual with a disability rolls in to the ER like me.