You don’t have to do things the traditional way. You can create your way of doing things. With TBI, you have to if you want to recover.
We are conditioned to speak and write in a grammatically correct way. It’s supposed to make communication better. However, it restricts communication to anyone who can speak the “King’s language.”
Patients with limited communication skills for a variety of reasons, including medical, are often not heard. Culture, along with illness, affects how a patient communicates. It takes patience to listen to people who are culturally different and ill. Healthcare is designed, so most doctors don’t have the time to listen to patients. In my case, they did not care, and most did not believe me.
I was in that mindset when I started my 30-day writing challenge to write about my experience as a patient in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. By sharing my story about the pervasive way in which healthcare is broken to the point of doing more harm than good in high-risk groups, I hope others will too. Together we can get reparations for damages done and shine a light on a healthcare system that creates health disparities.
Just because a symptom for a particular illness or an adverse reaction is not in the medical books does not negate its existence. For me, medications didn’t work as expected and often were associated with side effects that doctors would dismiss.
I told the sleep specialist, a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) physician, I had palpitations on Vyvanse and Provigil, and he did nothing. HE CONTINUED THE MEDICATIONS after I passed out and hit my head, fracturing and dislocating my jaw. Two months later, I had a hypertensive crisis with a stroke– right-sided weakness and aphasia.
The doctors at Southern NH Regional Medical Center, where I went for evaluation, took the precaution of getting a neurology consult. But ordered a psychiatric assessment despite a BP of over 200 /120 on admission because they did not believe me or the physical exam. The psychologist threatened me. I had an undiagnosed concussion and new-onset HTN, and the psychologist wanted to put me in a mental institution for abnormal behavior. Essentially, the internist/hospitalist who admitted me medically cleared me for psyche admission.
During that hospitalization for a stroke, they stripped me of my dignity. I was forced to undress in front of a security guard and an audience as if I was property.
The psychologist or therapist then proceeded to ask inappropriate questions about my personal life. None of his questions assessed my judgment or risk of harm. He wanted to know about me. It was almost like his personal need to know.
I complained to the hospital administrators at Southern NH Medical Center without avail and even sent a letter to the board of medicine in NH regarding the psychologist. They thought it was appropriate for him to threaten me with institutionalization when I just had a stroke. What if they had institutionalized me? My problem was not psychiatric, but they were determined to make it so. If they had succeeded, I would not be alive today.
I am a medical doctor who was dismissed and abused by the medical staff and administrators at Tufts Medical Center and Southern NH Medical Center, where I once worked. If they could boldly not believe me and do harm without care or fear, can you imagine what they do to other patients with no knowledge of medicine?