I’m one of the lucky ones: I’ve never had to to go the Emergency Room because of my Endo pain. Before my surgery, I’d always just sucked it up, endured, lumped into a ball, hugging my heating pad, crying. Never had I thought to go to the ER; I figured it was normal period cramps.
But many of my fellow EndoSisters routinely do. Their uncontrolled pain is so horrible that they take the trip to the ER, fill out the forms, pay the co-pay, wait for hours, and are poked, prodded, and screened…some may receive the help they seek. But others are denied relief and are accused of being a pill-popping addict, a junky, a liar. Others are screened for STDs or yeast infections. Others subjected to embarrassing pelvic exams. This is unfortunate and outrageous.
Many women don’t know they have Endometriosis and are rushed to the ER for their indescribable pain. Many are misdiagnosed with an appendicitis (I’ve heard the pain is similar) and their appendix is removed. Others are sent home with heavy-duty Ibuprofen and told it’s just a bad period. Explaining Endometriosis to ER staff or doctors who haven’t heard of it before can be frustrating.
It happens more often than you’d think.
Medical personnel, whether they be entry-level or experts, all need to be educated as to the signs, symptoms, and existence of Endometriosis. On the flip side, Endometriosis sufferers also need to be taught how best to report their symptoms, their pain levels, their pain locations, and their medical history to these staffmembers. And everyone involved needs to practice patience with each other (which may be very hard, especially when you’re in that much pain).
In 2002, the House passed the concurrent resolution National Endometriosis Awareness Resolution. It was created to raise public awareness in the medical and layperson communities; and also recognize the need for better patient support and better physician understanding of the disease. But what the heck is a concurrent resolution? According to The Free Dictionary:
An action of Congress passed in the form of an enactment of one house, with the other house in agreement, which expresses the ideas of Congress on a particular subject.
A concurrent resolution does not have the legal impact of a joint resolution, which has the force of official legislative action. It is more commonly employed as a method of expressing an opinion on some question. Commendations to victorious sports teams and statespersons and petitions from state legislatures to Congress or the president are examples of concurrent resolutions.
I’ve no idea what, if anything, the passing of this resolution has accomplished in our medical community over a decade later.
If you can you can endure the pain, you may wish to speak with your regular physician either that day or the following morning. He/she will already know of your Endometriosis diagnosis and woes. They may be able to help you faster, and with less stress or medical-file flagging, as the ER. And never, ever, EVER lie about your medications. Disclose everything. The second one little fib is discovered, or that you’re receiving multiple prescriptions from multiple providers, you may very well may be labeled as an abuser…and that will not be good, nor easy to dispel.
Feel like getting frustrated? You can read some of the accounts of EndoSisters in the ER here:
Have your own experience you’d like to share? Drop a comment below!