Friday, April 8, 2011

When Should We Trust Our Own Intuition over Medical Expertise?

A couple of months ago I wrote a blog after an extremely bad ER visit called, Why Are We Treated with Indifference by ER staff?  I had developed a severe blinding headache, one of the worst ever, and my pain management physician told me to take a Percocet. The pain increased and I started vomiting about every 10 minutes. I had taken Percocet before without any side effects, but I knew that something was not right, something was wrong. I was instructed to go to the ER and unfortunately, the ER physician treated me as if I were another addict who had come to "get more drugs" and left me to suffer.

Last week I saw my neurosurgeon to follow up on my cavernomas or brain tumors that are made up of blood vessels. He was very concerned about my severe headaches. My last brain MRI was done in 2009 so he sent me for another one. I just got the results. My cavernomas have hemorrhaged recently and most likely it was when I had that horrific headache and vomiting that sent me to the emergency room. Since there was no MRI done at the time of the ER visit, there is no way to know for sure if it happened then. But it is more than a pretty good guess since the pain in my head was so severe that a morphine IV didn't help very much at all. I just rolled around on the gurney in the ER in agony and was unfortunately, ignored for the most part.

I thank God that the hemorrhage was considered subacute and has not continued. Because of the location of my tumors, they are inoperable and my severe headaches are best treated by my pain management physician as long as the tumors do not continue to hemorrhage. My neurosurgeon told me that they have to be more closely followed now since this last episode and I have to be more careful about severe headaches. Yes, I did the right thing when I went to the ER, but I did not insist that they do an MRI immediately. I was too ill and I relied upon the physician’s medical expertise. And it's hard for me to know when my headaches are severe enough to warrant an emergency MRI, but after this unfortunate episode, I will now error on the safe side. If it ever happens again where I am ignored by a physician in the ER, I will demand better treatment!

I do thank God that He watches over me, and I know that I am blessed. God can take a terrible ordeal or illness and somehow turn it into something good! Through my trials with chronic pain and illness, He encouraged me to write a book, "Heal Me, Mend Me, Use Me, Send Me." And God has made a way for it to be published so that it reaches others and encourages them.

Two months ago when that terrible headache struck, I was in the process of the first round of conceptual editing of the book. After the ER visit, my vision remained blurred, my balance was affected, and my pain had increased to the point that I doubted that I would be able to work on the manuscript at all. I struggled through it, tolerating only a few minutes at a time, and of course, I missed the deadline with the publisher by over 30 days. Again I was blessed with a publisher who was gracious and understanding. But little did I realize at the time that I was under a tremendous, vicious attack from the enemy, Satan’s little demons, to keep my book from being published. The book is now in the final editing phase with Tate Publishers. If my book helps one person, then God has turned my tribulations into joy!