Art By: Leslie Ditto

Art By: Leslie Ditto



  By: Autumn Smith




Since I’ve been sick and battling a chronic illness, I’ve developed a small collection of things that I try to avoid at all costs. Three in my top five are full blown migraines, really mean ER doctors, and strange, ineffective and painful procedures. Before I had sworn off trying new things before researching them, one painful procedure led to the worst migraine of my life that brought me right into the arms of an angry ER doctor, ready to ruin my week.

I had started seeing a pain management clinic, like most chronic pain patients. I had found it a little strange that the new doctor was so focused on trying procedures, I had become pretty well-versed in the treatments of endometriosis and none of these things sounded familiar to me. Normally the strange procedures happen BEFORE being diagnosed, as a form of torture planned by a group of doctors, aliens, and government officials trying to ruin young women’s lives, I assume. I had agreed to do an epidural to help my lower back pain caused by endometriosis on my kidneys and ureters, not knowing that it would actually only help muscular back pain. One point for Governor Alien, MD. Quick side story for you: they couldn’t get an IV in my arm so they had to shoot pain medication up my nose, like a child. Without a heads up. Two points. It was definitely painful having a needle in my back for an extended period of time, but really not all that bad compared to the pain I’m used to. The doctor knew I had a history of migraines, so when she asked if I was getting one during the procedure I didn’t really think anything of it. When she proceeded to ask two more times, along with a time or two from the nurses, I was confused. I was mostly traumatized and on pain medication, ready to go home so that’s exactly what I did.

The next morning I woke up with the worst migraine of my life. That’s a very hard thing for me to say, every migraine seems to feel that way as it’s happening. But this was different. The pain was completely unbearable with my head lifted, sitting up or standing was out of the question. I was nearly unconscious. But while laying completely flat, the pain of the migraine was reduced by at least fifty percent. Anyone who has migraines knows this isn’t a common luxury for us. But like a lot of my worst migraines, the pain became unbearable, the vomiting was making me dehydrated, and the screaming was scaring my boyfriend. So we went to my least favorite place in the world, the ER.

Since I couldn’t lift my head without a pain that made me scream like I was being murdered, I got into a room at the ER immediately. I could barely see, but I could see well enough to recognize my doctor as one of the few that I had been treated poorly by in the past. I was too sick to care. He quickly ordered a “migraine cocktail,” a combination of Benadryl, Torradol, and Zofran. No dent in the pain whatsoever. I was still screaming in agony. My boyfriend was with me luckily, he is somehow so very level headed and calming when it comes to these sorts of things, which was great because I couldn’t speak for myself. They tried something else, I don’t know if they give things like Imitrex in the ER but I’ve never had very good luck with migraine abortives. Still no change whatsoever. I was starting to get really upset, although I looked like I was possessed by the devil so I don’t know if anyone could tell. When my evil doctor came back in after trying two treatments with no improvement, he was pissed. He apparently doesn’t like to give narcotics for migraines, so his way of conveying that to me over my satanic screams was to start shouting “NO NARCOTICS!” in my face. I wish I could remember what I started screaming back at him, but it was enough to make my boyfriend try to calm me down. Hopefully I wasn’t counting and listing the six names of demons or anything. My boyfriend and the doctor went back and forth for a bit, but his politeness was almost infuriating me at this point. Luckily it helped, because my sweet soulmate thought to tell the doctor about my epidural the day before, and a light switch went off on his head that apparently allowed him to break his “NO NARCOTICS!@#$%&” rule and he ordered Dilaudid.

The pain had been reduced to the point that the devil himself had left my body, so that was nice. My mother had showed up to the ER in time for my doctor to come in and explain what was going on. The epidural had made my spine leak, and it caused low fluid pressure in the brain resulting in a massive migraine. I’m guessing the doctor doing the procedure saw it leaking and didn’t tell me, that would explain their sudden interest in the comfort levels of my head. Three points awarded.

I had something called a blood patch done, another fun procedure. They take blood from the IV in your arm and fill the hole in your spine. I was drugged up and holding my mom, but it was still horrifying to sit up and have done while I was still in so much pain. Unfortunately it didn’t take right away and I was admitted to the hospital, hooked up on the strongest of meds for a total of five days. It was horrible, but the nurses were nice and my boyfriend, family, and friends showed me a lot of love.

It sucks being chronically sick, and it sucks even more to have these things happen on top of it. But it happens to all of us. Luckily you live and you learn, and I don’t agree to procedures I’m unsure about. I occasionally have to visit the ER for migraines, but I have so many treatments that normally work before I get to that point. That one was completely out of my control. Unfortunately I still haven’t learned how to be polite to rude doctors, and I’m not sure if I want to. It’s good to have someone by your side, equipped with manners, a wooden cross, and holy water.