I spent the other morning in the ER. I’m plagued with yet another case of cellulitis.
I recently added a Medicare Advantage plan for myself. It made me lose my primary care, but she had not been my doctor for long. It also made me lose the closer hospital. I’m okay with that too – especially now.
It was about 6:00 in the morning when I realized that the red on my leg was spreading and I could no longer put weight on my right leg. To save time and everything, I have my medical history written out in detail so that the doctor can just read it. First, I wasn’t made to wait. They took one look at my leg and hauled me back to a bed.
I have been working a lot lately, so my back was pretty off-the-charts horrible as well. The doctor examined my leg and quickly realized that I really wasn’t doing well. Although it is in my medical history, there was no mention of chronic pain.
“Let’s get you some morphine.”
After so many times of being doubted, given dirty looks, accused both with and without words of being a pill-seeker, this doctor was a breath of fresh air. Before I knew it, I had pillows elevating my leg, pillows and hot packs behind my back. The IV nurse was supposed to let a student start mine but took one look at me and did the easiest stick ever.
I thought I was imagining things – were there still doctors and ERs out there who treat us like humans? I can report that yes there are, and they are a gift.
My nurse came in and she was asking me questions about my previous bouts of cellulitis. I told her – limited information – just the basics. She then turned to me and said:
“Have you experienced bad treatment in Emergency Rooms before because of your conditions?”
I gave her some examples of my experiences. Her jaw dropped.
“Most of us got into nursing to help people not belittle them or hurt them. Even without the cellulitis, I can tell that you’re in honest pain every time you move, and you say that people have doubted you?”
It was like I was in an alternative universe. Other than the fact that I was, in fact, sick enough to go to an ER, it was one of the most positive medical experiences I have had. Shortly before I was discharged, the doctor came in to talk for a few minutes. I thanked him for his compassion and exceptional treatment of me. He thought for a minute and just said
“Compassion is why I became a doctor. The DEA can do what they want, but I will never back down from making my patients comfortable when I can.”
This doctor was in his early 30s, so without a doubt has been educated in the opioids are evil generation of new doctors. The fact that he has chosen to stick to his beliefs and how he feels about patient treatment was beyond refreshing.
It almost seems like this bout of cellulitis is healing a lot faster than the others have and it makes me wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that it was a positive medical experience in a world where pain and suffering mean so little to so many. If the doctor’s attitude makes a difference in how we heal, then those doctors are truly a gift to us.
I was assured by some of the nurses that all their doctors are like that and that I shouldn’t postpone it if I ever need care. It was an experience I will not soon forget.