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Emergency Room Trip

The past couple of weeks have been really bad migraine wise. One night about three weeks ago my right foot went numb,then the rest of my leg went numb and the leg collapsed underneath me. I ended up in the er later because I kept falling. I couldn’t control most of my right side,but mostly it was the right foot. I ended up falling hard and rolling that ankle. It made for a painful and scary week and a half. I can now control it most of the time. My GP thinks it may have been a stroke. At 34 years of age, that scares me a bit. I’m waiting to see to my Neurologist, to find out what really happened.

Then I got a screamer of a migraine. Much worse than anything I’d experienced recently. My home treatments didn’t even slow it down. I also ended up losing 10 ponds in a week. And that never happens. I used one of my clinic treatments, which also did nothing. I had to return to the er. The NP on call refused to come to the hospital and evaluate me. The pain was so bad I was puking and crying. She ordered two separate shots of small doses of Zofran, so that I had to get stuck twice, and two extra strength Tylenol for my 101 degree fever. This treatment actually made me feel even worse, which I thought was impossible at that time.

I’d used my two clinic treatments for the week, and I had to endure the 10 plus pain and vomiting until Monday. By this time the migraine was basically untouchable. It took two more hospital trips to finally get it to break, and give me some relief. But, tonight made that seem not as bad. I got the same NP who wouldn’t come in to see me at the er. She only saw me tonight because there was an emergency already at the hospital. I really wish she hadn’t. I was crying and puking from the pain, and then she preceded to basically humiliate me. I’ve had chronic daily migraines and daily chronic headaches for fourteen years. She somehow knows more about migraines than me, and my migraine specialist. She flat out called me a drug seeking junkie to my face. It was absolutely horrifying, and embarrassing.

I have Oxy at home, that I only take twice a week for the worst migraines. I had already taken it, and it did not help the pain. I don’t get a “high” from any medications. I don’t need to go to the hospital for the “fun” of narcotics. Enormous, burning shots in the butt, and recently in my arms is not my idea of a good time. The treatment I wanted is a cocktail of Benadryl, Zofran, lidocaine, and Ativan through an IV. The narcotics hadn’t worked, so why would I want them? She also told me I only wanted the Benadryl IV so that I get to have a euphoric high. I really don’t experience anything except some small pain relief. I could not believe the things she was accusing me of. I have rarely ever felt the way she made me feel. I am also apparently a huge problem to both my clinic and my hospital. My actual GP has never said anything like that to me. He knows how much I suffer every single day.

I just couldn’t believe she would say those things to me. I’m still crying and in pain as I type this. I just needed to get these awful feelings out. I also don’t really know how to go about finding the right person to bring these incredible accusations to. Most doctors I’ve seen have kind of hinted at that I must be a drug seeker, but I never had one accuse me right to my face, when I was so desperately seeking understanding and help. I’m so angry, and so embarrassed. I know I have nothing to be ashamed of, because I am not a junkie, I have chronic migraine pain. She just didn’t want or care enough to understand what I was going through. I’m curious if anyone else was made to feel this way when you were seeking help, not a “high”. I hope that most of you haven’t.

Thanks, I really needed to vent and talk about this.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • WickedT
    3 years ago

    I’m so sorry about your experience. I’ve had similar experiences over the years of having to go to the ER. I’ve been told I’m addicted to caffeine and drug seeking (that was almost twenty years ago now). After that experience I vowed never to go back again. Unfortunately, life has not been that easy and has nictitated my returning since that time. I have a very long history of chronic migraines (since I was twelve) and it is well documented. Each time I have entered an ER (the same hospital) I have come armed with documentation of my history, medications, doctors, etc. They don’t care. They insist on doing a lumber punch to make sure I don’t have meningitis. I am an incredibly limb person and could always touch my chin to my chest, never complained of any other symptoms – this is a billing poly. It’s a painful and unnecessary test. I am also very small framed. They HAVE to use a children’s needle on me otherwise my spinal cord will not seal. This happened at one of my visits – I told them, my husband told them, they did not listen and used an adult needle. For the next week I could not sit up without vomiting. I could not stand light, noise, I could barely eat. My husband sought out the counsel of our GP who is VERY versed in migraines and he had me immediately admitted to the hospital to have a spinal seal. I’ve had enough LPs that the doctor doing the seal told us there is enough scar tissue on my spinal cord that I CANNOT HAVE another unless it is for surgery. The hospital that caused this problem took no responsibility. I could go on about how horrible our hospitals can be but let’s move on to where I truly feel your pain.
    I live in Florida. When Gov. Rick Scott took over he decided to hit a nail with a sledgehammer. Our state has had a problem with overprescribing of opioids for years. He (Scott) decided that he would be the crusader and solve this problem. In doing this he decided GPs could no longer prescribe pain meds for patients more than a once without having to fill out LOTS of insurance information and taking on additional insurance themselves. This was to push all of these patients to see “pain management” doctors. This was to also eliminate the bad “pain management” doctors that were sell prescriptions. Well, it pushed patients like myself and geriatric patients to them and overflowed their offices. I had to wait six weeks to get in, fill out nineteen pages of information and get all my own records for him before waiting two hours in the waiting room, taking a urine test my first appointment, only to have him spend twenty to thirty minutes with me. During that time he told me my medication regime was all wrong, my doctor (whom I’ve seen for years) was an idiot, he was taking me off of everything and come back in two days. Never once did he lay a finger on me for a neural exam, nothing. So two days later, repeat, wait two hours, urine test and he spends fifteen minutes. Oh, I left off the SIX referrals he wants me to go have and $2000 worth of MRIs I had to get. Come back in two days. Again, urine, at this point I’ve looked up the rate he is decreasing my meds and know it’s dangerous and I’m in incredible pain, tell him this and he tell me he has “real pain patients with twisted backs and real problems”. My husband comes to my defense and the doctor says fine and writes out a script for Dilaudid. You read that right Dilaudid. I NEVER feel “High” from my meds. I’ve been taking Oxy for pain and never felt anything. I’ve had meds at the emergency room, nothing. I took one of these and vowed I wasn’t taking any more. I never went back. I literally went Monday, Wednesday, Friday of one week. I felt humiliated, derogated, stupid, depressed, you name the negative verb…that was me. I had stayed with my GP because my neuro had literally told me on a bad migraine day to take two Vicoden, if it didn’t break in an hour take two more and if it didn’t break I could take up to eight (totaling ten) then go to the ER….they (the ER) would never think I’m drug seeking then. I don’t want to take drugs…I don’t want pain, I don’t want to be looked at like at drug seeker when I go to the pharmacy. That’s another issue…there’s a true shortage of pain meds in Florida now because pharmacies only order a certain quantity and they only get it once a week. If you get a prescription on an off day…too bad. This happens to dental, surgery, pain, all patients. Due to this hitting a nail with a sledgehammer effect I have lived in a much higher pain level for years. I don’t work. It has isolated me more. My husband is an angel and my advocate and I thank God for him. I hope you have someone in your life that is the same. Please do not feel alone in your experience…you DEFINETELY are NOT!

  • D.T.MaC
    3 years ago

    As mentioned, please report the NP. Depending on where you are, the processes can be different, but believe me, refusal to treat is malpractice. After working in the medical field for nearly a decade it’s health care practitioners like that which really gives health care a bad name.
    Make sure you get a copy of all the treatment notes and records from the hospital. Some hospitals charge a fee for copies of records, but trust me, it’s worth every dime.
    File a complaint with the hospital. This should bring to the attention of the administrators her behavior and if other people have complained it might have her removed from the ER.
    File a complaint with the state nursing board. Because she refused to treat you, they should open a review of the case and check to see what treatment she did and review her treatment notes. If the case is proven (depending on the state) it can ease any future litigation you might have against her if you chose to do so. If other people have complained, it might result in the revocation of her nursing license.
    Talk to a malpractice attorney. Most attorneys where I’m at will do a free consultation and advise you on any other measures worth taking. Shop around if you can because some attorneys might see it as a quick way to make a buck, but it should not be about money, it should be about having a negligent healthcare provider relieved of her duties.

  • Wimidwife
    3 years ago

    I am so sorry that you had such an awful experience. I have not had to visit the ER for a migraine, although being in the ER has GIVEN me an awful migraine. And this from the American health care system which is supposedly so good.

    Absolutely call the hospital and ask if there is a patient representative. If not, ask how you can file a complaint. I wonder if you can file a complaint with the state licensing board for withholding necessary medical treatment.

    I am fortunate that my headache doctor was willing to prescribe my rescue meds so I can have them at home and inject myself, or have my husband do the injection. My headaches are almost never as bad as yours, and I just wanted to express my sympathy and outrage.

    Does anyone think it is helpful to take a significant other to the ER to stand up for you? This needs to be fixed!

  • Tamara
    3 years ago

    Ok I feel very lucky from reading the comments. I have only had good experiences with urgent care and ER visits. I have an urgent care center near my house and there about once a month – they know me by face now and I have never had any issues of them not treating. I always get an IV because fluids tend to help migraines, then toradol and maxeran is the procotol for migraines. If I go in early with only moderate pain, this works. If not we add imitrex injector and chlorprozaine I believe. I have had twice where this didn’t work – once I ended up admitted to hospital for 4 days until I forced my way out.

    Don’t know if its because I was transferred from urgent to ER trauma center but I was checked but ER doc and then transferred to neurologist directly and up on the floor. I did have to wait for 3 hours in the waiting room (in a gown and had 2 IV ports in my hands) but it was very busy. I was in a proper bed and on the floor within another 5 hours. There was someone that came on the floor after me for severe medication reactions from epilepsy drugs and she waited in the hospital chairs (uncomfortable things) for 2 nights before she got up on the floor.

    The second time was the worse, urgent care wasn’t working so the doc gave me a dose of steroids and sent me home. The next morning I tried trigger point injections but didn’t help and ended in the ER – decided to give me hydromorph and it took 2 doses but no problems to get the ER doctors to give me the meds. I did have to sit in the chairs which was loud, bright and I couldn’t lay flat which helps.

    So the worse I’ve had is when the environment is loud, bright and doesn’t help. And when they shine that stupid bright flashlight into your eyes!! Sorry doesn’t help!

    I hope my streak continues, I cant imagine being in usual migraine pain AND having to deal with a stupid doctor.

  • solove0611
    3 years ago

    I feel for you so much on this er topic. I live in a small town, my migraine specialist is five hours away. Last summer was the one and only time I went to the er in my hometown for an attack. He asked me how long I had been experiencing this pain, I told him over a month with it increasing the past three days (like you I was vomiting, and crying), he proceeded to tell me that it “wasn’t possible” for a migraine to last that long. I should say in the past I’ve had some psychiatric issues, depression and anxiety. I am also a suicide survivor, and I take three different medicine for those issues. I have been stable for three years. When he took a look at my current med list I could **feel** the disdain coming from him. He gave me Benadryl ORALLY as if I hadn’t already tried that dose, and Tylenol. I’ve never been so humiliated and disheartened in my life. Not only was I still in severe pain, now I felt no one believed me. While my husband is fantastic when I’m not feeling well somehow when a doctor tells you it isn’t possible to hurt like that from a ‘headache’–his words not mine-and then won’t listen to you or give you anything to try and break the cycle I felt so stupid and unheard. I truly am so sorry you also had to go through this!! **hugs**

  • Meaghan Coneys moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Solove0611 – Thanks for your comment. So sorry to hear you had such a terrible experience at the ER. We definitely hear you, and most certainly understand you here at I thought you would be interested in this article – It provides some tips on how to make the most out of an ER visit. I hope you find it helpful. Wishing you a lovely day. Best, Meaghan ( Team)

  • 5v2uvv
    3 years ago

    I would definitely lodge a formal complaint. I have never actually had someone speak to me like that, but I do feel like they look at me like a drug seeker and try to give me 1/2 of the dose that normally works. I used to work at the local ER and the Nurse Manager and another RN that I worked with were there and they actually knew that I suffered from Migraines. Now, the Nurse Manager has retired and the other RN is only there occasionally. Now that they are not there to vouch for me, I never get the treatment that I deserve. It has gotten to the point that I only go to the Urgent care, where they can at least give me steroid, nausea and Toradol. It doesn’t completely work, because there is no painkiller, but they are very kind to me and no that I am not a drug seeker. Once, the MD told me that he felt terrible that he couldn’t give me anything strong enough to take away the pain and that he might have to send me to the ER. I told him that I just wanted to try the Toradol and steroids because I didn’t want to go to the ER and be treated like that. I now do everything that I can to avoid the ER and my GP has given me Percocet for the worst times and a script for Zofran for the nausea. That can, at least, help me to sleep sometimes to make it a little better.

  • Douglas
    3 years ago

    Erin, your treatment was completely unacceptable. I agree with SilverPhoenix13, lodging a formal complaint is necessary. Your future quality of care (and that of others) will likely remain poor if the behavior of the NP is not brought to light.

    I have had to do the same thing twice. The first time it was an NP working for my cardiologist. My cardiologist apologized and took corrective action. The second time was an NP working with a neurologist at a migraine clinic; this incident caused me to fire that doctor.

    The point is that you should be be treated with respect, not disdain.

  • Erin author
    3 years ago

    I must be cursed. I had to have two treatments today. The first one didn’t work, because the pain killer injection didn’t get into muscle,so basically it never got into my system. I had to go back because the migraine never got even slightly better. I pretty much got punished for still being in excruciating pain. I got a Toradol injection, which only works with a pain killer added in. I also got Phenergan IM, and the real punishment was 50mg of IM Benadryl. Benadryl only works for me when it is in an IV. And the dose is always 100mg. This was given to me by my GP, who I used to completely trust. After this incident, I’m a little worried about our future interactions. I thought he would never do something like that. I’m very disappointed. He knows that this combination of medications wouldn’t work, it has never worked for me. All I can think is he did it to punish me. I feel worse now than I did. I feel so crappy and no one will help me. They just hurt me more. I hope others interactions with their drs went much better than mine.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Erin,
    Thank you greatly for taking the time to share your recent experience in the ER. I am so sorry to hear that you had to endure this treatment by this healthcare professional, all the while being in what sounds to be some of the worst pain you have ever experienced. Unfortunately, this is a sentiment expressed by many in the migraine community far to often. We actually have articles written on this very topic: Please be sure to check out the comments at the conclusion of the article from members like yourself. This will hopefully bring you some piece of mind that this is a frequent shared experience and you are not alone.

    I too would recommend submitting a formal complaint to the hospital.

    Thank you for being part of our community and again for taking the time to share your story. I hope you are feeling much better since posting this.

    Joanna ( Team)

  • SilverPhoenix13
    3 years ago

    That is absolutely horrible! I’m so sorry that you were treated that way, Erin. So far, I’ve been rather lucky with doctors. I have not been accused of drug seeking, yet. I did have a resident at the E.R. try to say that I had to have been misdiagnosed with chronic migraines because they simply don’t last for 7 days and the type of pain I was describing didn’t match the typical description of migraine pain.

    I would definitely contact the hospital board and lodge a complaint against that doctor. Her words and actions are inexcuseable, in my opinion. It boggles my mind that even though chronic migraine is a valid, medically recognized disease there are so many doctors and medical professionals who don’t act like it is.

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