I Said, She NSAID

| Bay Area, CA, USA | Working | February 25, 2013

(I’m a chronic migraine sufferer, and have been for the past 16 years. To complicate matters, I have medical reasons I can’t take certain medications including NSAIDs. This SEVERELY limits the medications I can take for my condition. When this story happens, I’ve recently switched doctors due to changing insurance. I’m in the middle of a multiple day migraine, and show up wearing sunglasses, a hood, and ear plugs. I’m also carrying a barf bag.)

Nurse #1: “Hi there! What are we seeing you for today, sweetie?”

Me: “I’m having a migraine. It’s been going on for 3 days, and I started seeing auras when I woke up this morning.”

Nurse #1: “So, a migraine huh? Ouchies! Have you ever experienced this before?”

Me: “At least once a week for the past 16 years.”

Nurse #1: “Now, are you sure they’re migraines? Sinus headaches can feel really bad too.”

Me: “Yes, I’m sure. I went through the full diagnosis with [other doctor’s office], and further, sinus headaches aren’t known to cause visual migraine symptoms, which I currently have. All of this is listed in my chart.”

Nurse #1: “Okay, migraine. Well, what about [medication] as an injectable today?”

Me: “I thought that was a member of the NSAID family?”

Nurse #1: “Oh, you’ve done your homework! Yes it is, and they are the best medications you can use to control a migraine.”

Me: “I don’t know if that’s true for other patients, but I don’t think that’s a good idea for me…”

(I hold up a Medic Alert bracelet and point to the big red sticker on my file.)

Me: “I can’t take NSAIDs.”

Nurse #1: “Oh, it says here that you have a negative reaction to them. Are you sure it’s bad enough to avoid them all together?”

Me: “Positive.”

Nurse #1: “Well, you know the other option is opiates, which can be habit forming.”

Me: “Look… Sweetie… I’ve had migraines for 16 years, I’ve been properly diagnosed, I have the paperwork to show I’ve been through all of the education, counseling, etc about migraines. In addition,  if you take 30 seconds and review the blurb on there, you’ll see that my negative reaction was 5 days of renal failure. I understand the health industry is trying to take a whole person approach, and on any other day, I’d be glad to go through your full check in about medications, etc. I’d even be okay reviewing my diet with you; however, today, I am in the middle of a massive migraine that has kept me unable to sleep, or really eat, for the past 3 days. I woke up today with visual symptoms, and called ahead to arrange an injection appointment. I went through all if the relevant stuff with your intake guy, signed the forms, and have my boyfriend here who has taken the morning off of work so he can drive me. You have the medication right there, and instead of giving me the injection, you are dithering through what I’ve reviewed countless times. I hate needles, so I’d like to get this over with, while not having to correct every assumption you’ve decided applies to me.”

(After explaining this, the nurse glares at me, snatches up the tray with the medication, and stomps out of the room. Thanks to her inability to close the door, I overhear her telling another nurse to get the doctor, because she has a patient exhibiting “drug seeking behavior.” I have to wait another 20 minutes in a VERY bright room, lit by fluorescent bulbs, only to have the doctor come in, and review word for word what happened. He apologizes, and says he will send another nurse in. Ten minutes after that conversation, in walks the original nurse, in a snit.)

Nurse #1: “You won’t be getting any drugs here, so you have to leave.”

Me: “That is not what the doctor said. Please bring him in here to confirm if that is the case. Do make it quick.”

Nurse #1: “I don’t care what the doctor says. You have to leave!”

(Sick of this, I walk to the door, stick my head out, and catch another nurse.)

Me: *to Nurse #2* “Excuse me, I’m a migraine sufferer, I made an appointment over the phone for an injection appointment, specifically.”

Nurse #2: “Oh, hi! I talked to you on the phone. Wasn’t your appointment an hour ago?”

Me: “Yes, yes it was. Unfortunately, [Nurse #1] apparently didn’t get the information that it was an injection appointment, and ignored specific medical information. I have spoken to the doctor who told me we could proceed, but she’s now in this room telling me that I have to leave, and I can’t get my injection.”

Nurse #2: “Wait a minute… I’m supposed to be handling that. I was just trying to find out where the medicine was.”

(At this point, Nurse 2 basically drags Nurse 1 out of the room.)

Nurse #2: *to Nurse #1 “What the h*** are you doing?!”

Nurse #1: “She’s an addict! I threw the medication away!”

Nurse #2: “You can’t throw away medication against the doctor’s orders! Go wait in an office and don’t talk to [me] again!”

(Another 15 minutes go by, and Nurse #2 finally gives me the shot I need.)

Nurse #2: “I apologize for that. She’s actually married to one of the other doctors here, and has been causing trouble. I know you’re not up for it now, but tomorrow, just call and complain. She’s already on thin ice with most of the practice, and this should put it over the edge…”

(After I leave, I do as the second nurse asks. The doctor who I speak to is horrified, and calls me back two days later to inform me that particular nurse has been fired. Shortly afterwards, I check the office website and notice that the doctor with her last name is no longer listed. I’ve kept going to them, and the entire place has been a lot better since the change!)

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