These Aren’t Aches You Can Fake

| New York, NY, USA | Working | March 8, 2013

(I have been having severe migraines for about a week. When I start getting double vision, I decide it’s time to go to the hospital’s emergency room with my mom and my boyfriend.)

Me: “So, I have really, really bad migraines. The pain is severely stabbing, and it’s around my eyes a lot. I also have really bad nausea and double vision.”

Doctor: “I see. Well, let’s get you some Advil.”

Me: “I don’t think you understand… I have a very high pain tolerance. I have chronic pain. Advil will not be sufficient. Do all the tests or whatever you want, but please give me something at least a bit stronger than Advil.”

Doctor: “At this point, I can only give you Advil. I’ll take some tests and we’ll get back to you.”

(Hours later, after taking some blood and urine tests, they still don’t know what’s wrong with me, and funny thing—the Advil doesn’t do anything. They stick me in a room and give me a slightly stronger medicine, but again, it does nothing. Eventually, the doctor comes back.)

Doctor: “So, I don’t see anything wrong with you in the tests. I’m fairly certain it’s psychosomatic. ”

(I start crying out of frustration and pain, and my boyfriend squeezes my hand.)

Mom: “Are you serious? She has already told you: she has a high pain tolerance. She’s having migraines. She has severe double vision, and you’re telling her that it’s psychosomatic? Are you insane?”

Doctor: “Well, maybe she wouldn’t be in so much pain if she stopped crying and would be less overemotional.”

(At this point, everyone in the room is on the verge of punching the doctor for being such an idiot.)

Mom: “GET ME YOUR HIGHER UP. NOW.”

Doctor: “I really don’t see how that’s necess—”

Mom: “NOW!”

(The doctor scurries out of the room, and we get the doctor in charge. My mother explains the situation, and the doctor’s eyes slowly start to widen as she hears the progression of the symptoms. She rushes me to get an MRI of my brain, and it turns out I have idiopathic intracranial hypertension, which increases the fluid around the brain, and the fluid was actually pressing my eyes out and crushing my brain. They end up giving me morphine for a few days straight because the pain was that bad, and I get a lumbar puncture and treatment via medicine for months. If they hadn’t caught it for another few hours, I could have actually gone blind—and I’m a photographer.)

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