Friday, April 13, 2012

It's All in Your Head!!

This week we have watched an interesting situation unfold. Our neighbors' teen daughter, an otherwise healthy and active girl, suddenly came down with an attack of severe, intense abdominal pain. She was taken to the hospital and ended up on constant morphine because the pain was so severe. But after six or so days of testing, the doctors could come up with no diagnosis.

And their solution to this situation?

(Wait for it... wait for it... wait for it...)

They wanted to diagnose her with "anxiety" and send her home with a prescription for pain meds.

Yes, seriously. I'm not making this up.

Thankfully, her parents put up a huge fight over this and insisted on further testing, which revealed a real diagnosis. She will be having surgery today and hopefully coming home soon, and should be fine in the longterm.

But goodness knows what would have happened if Plan A had been instituted.

I'm sure I don't need to point too hard to the analogy between this situation and hyperemesis gravidarum (severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy). The "stop fussing, it's all in your head" diagnosis is so common for hyperemesis mothers that it is really a standing joke. It even has a name - being "crackered." But it's not so funny when caregiver neglect of this type results in a 1 in 7 abortion rate for the sweet babies of hyperemetic mothers who are so desperate for help - and are ignored and ridiculed for that - that they turn to abortion as the only solution for hellish suffering when they can't get the help that they need.

Lessons learned:

(1) If you are suffering from hyperemesis (or any other health concern) and are getting the "you need a psychologist because there's nothing wrong with you and it's all in your head," don't take that answer. Get a better caregiver.

(I should say that there was one time in my life when I wholeheartedly agreed with someone who told me that "morning sickness is 90% in women's heads." Oddly enough, that was approximately one week before I developed hyperemesis. I learned my lesson.)

(2) Caregivers - Don't write off severe morning sickness, or any other complaint. Help women get the care that they need. Babies' lives can ride on it.

And (3) I have made sure that my DH knows for SURE not to take me to this hospital should I ever need emergency care! (Especially since this is where a good friend of mine had a rotten birth experience a couple of years ago - I would much rather travel a bit!)

Thoughts, all?

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