Invisible Illness or Drug Addict?
July 12, 2017
Although this is an ugly story and painful for some to read, please know I have faith there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
I will never give up hope that there WILL be a day, hopefully in my lifetime, where ALL Emergency Rooms will understand the following:
1) Know the SERIOUSNESS of CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE & Other Invisible Illnesses
2) Understand that CHD is for a LIFETIME, not fixed as a baby
3) Understand we WILL be back, maybe frequently, to the ER, and DO NOT deserve to be treated any less humane simply because we have more emergencies and are NOT A DRUG ADDICT!
Please help me raise awareness about this horrific problem across the US of people with INVISIBLE ILLNESSES getting treated like DRUG ADDICTS and therefore not getting the proper treatment.
I have heard so many stories since I posted this original Facebook post and it is so sad to me how many of us are abused and/or neglected, mistreated, and NOT BELIEVED in EMERGENCY ROOMS.
All it takes is ONE DEATH for them to listen, right? WHY? Why does it take people DYING for people to listen and create Laws? Well I refuse to let myself or any of my people be that ONE death that they need to listen! We will fight while we are alive and demand to be heard! I am working on something right now in regards to creating A CALL TO ACTION about this lethal issue.
All it takes is ONE ER staff member to choose their judgement of this epidemic of drug addicts over listening to and investigating the REALITY of what is happening, to kill someone like me.
Below is the Facebook post from after I got out of the hospital and wanted to share my experience of being treated like a drug addict yet AGAIN, in the emergency room.
This issue NEEDS to be solved and hospitals all over the country need to take charge.
With a rise of innocent people like myself living into adulthood for the first time with an invisible illness, there seems to be an equal amount, if not way more, people overdosing from drugs or faking different sicknesses to get drugs in ERs for the first time in these large numbers.
An extremely dangerous and lethal problem is happening with both of these on the rise - Medical staff is ASSUMING we are all drug addicts and treating us accordingly.
This results in mental, emotional, and physical abuse by ER and hospital staff.
We look healthy, pretty and handsome yet also have debilitating life threatening illnesses. The problem is magnified if you look too young for their liking to be sick.
This is the epitome of discrimination.
These drug addicts probably look sicker than us to be honest yet we are the ones who are ACTUALLY sick without MAKING ourselves sick.
Although I unfortunately have many personal examples, here is my latest and most severe and terrifying experience of ER staff trying to treat me for an overdose while I was having a stroke. Simply based on an assumption from my boyfriend and I being young.
Keep, in mind, this was AFTER my boyfriend had told them, in detail, my lifelong severe heart condition as well as a history of TIAs. This woman needs to be fired. She is a triage nurse who is about 60's or 70's and HATES young people and is horribly rude and mean. Every time I come in there she says I am faking something or says "this isn't McDonalds, you can't have it your way, leave if you don't like the way I'm treating you and go to a different hospital!" as I'm in the EMERGENCY ROOM because I obviously need help urgently! At a hospital in Tampa FL. I have only reported her twice now for almost killing me, even though it's happened multiple times, yet they keep her there.
If you are a lawyer reading this and want to take this on for free, or know someone who could help me, please contact me. Just like I keep telling the hospital, this woman is going to kill someone! Someone who doesn't stand up for themselves. Someone who goes home and internalizes all of this. The someone I used to be. The someone so many of my friends and family are. This woman has NO RIGHT working with human beings.
I feel like an elephant is on my body I’m so tired but wanted to update. I have been through so much so fast in just 2 days it feels like I've been here for a month. My procedure yesterday, TEE went well but have a lot of pain in my chest, throat and just all over from feeling sick because I have a hard time healing from anesthesia. I thankfully, finally found out why I have been getting mini strokes throughout the year.
They discovered through a TEE that tiny blood clots are seeping through my Fontan (a major heart surgery to rebuild the structure of my heart at 3 years old). These clots are going to my brain and causing TIAs. Thankfully these clots are so tiny that the TIAs I have experienced have not turned into any permanent strokes. Thank God!!!!
This one was the worst though and I am so thankful my speech came back, so I am going back on coumadin.
On Sunday, I completely lost my ability to speak for 12 hours. All I could do was cry, I forgot how to form words. It was terrifying. I was trying so hard and couldn't understand how to talk, couldn't use my hands or legs, and my whole body was numb and tongue swollen, etc.
I was happily just eating an ice cream cone after dinner laughing with my boyfriend on our couch and then bam out of nowhere I had no idea what was happening to me. I wanted to lick my ice cream cone but I didn't know how to move my hand to my mouth anymore and I was thinking really hard trying to figure it out. My boyfriend, Freddy, started tasking me questions. This is when I figured out I couldn't talk anymore.
My brain was shaking so bad I wanted to tell Freddy I think I'm having a seizure but I couldn't speak or move my face. Then he made me go to the ER, which saved me.
I was refusing because I was scared because of how horrible ERs treat people and have treated me in the past. Esp young people with invisible illnesses.
Even after they see the medical history and after they see the scars. Still, all they see in me is the 20 drug addicts from earlier that day or week who may have said similar things I am saying to them.
The inability to treat EACH PATIENT AS AN INDIVIDUAL should be the NUMBER ONE PRIORITY of EVERY hospital and ENFORCED.
My latest ER Discrimination Story: Although I have about 500 of them, here is one. Sometimes I feel like I’d rather die than face more abuse in the ER. Freddy had to leave for a few mins to move the car, I couldn't tell him no but I tried. I was scared they were about to do something to me. Then sure enough when he walked away the lady he had told I'm having a stroke to said, "ha yeah right this isn't a stroke this is definitely an overdose" then kept asking me what I took and told me to stop pretending I couldn't speak. She wheeled me into room, the guy said whadda we got?" The lady said "overdose" then walks away. Then these people hold me down as this guy rips my pants and underwear off because they said they needed to do a catheter to test my urine to see what drugs I did since I "won’t tell them". They started taking off all my clothes to do a bunch of drug addict people tests and I started screaming and kicking them off of me until my boyfriend got back to me. They all kept saying it’s a drug overdose and I couldn’t speak to defend myself. If I could speak this would have been a different story. Although even when I can speak many of them don’t believe me. When my boyfriend got back I was bawling my eyes out, shaking, and holding on to him and wouldn’t let them do anything to me. Then once he told them again what happened they all changed to ordering MRIs , etc. And then became really nice to me.
… And this is how PTSD is created. Them holding me down and that guy ripping my clothes off won’t stop replaying in my mind the whole time I’ve been here ..yay more things to add to therapy as if I don’t have enough. Thanks, ignorant ER people. I don’t care how many drug addicts and overdoses you get a day, this is not my problem or ANY innocent sick person and is NOT an excuse to treat an innocent sick person like a liar. I’m so sick of hearing "yeah but you don’t understand how many drug addicts come in and lie to us, fake different sicknesses to get drugs, etc" No I actually just don’t care because it is 100% irrelevant and has absolutely nothing to do with me as an individual human being. Let me give someone who thinks like that an example- so your telling me when I was a waitress I should’ve said to you, (after not taking your order and angrily throwing a hamburger in front of you and making mean side comments), oh I already know you want a hamburger because everyone who’s young with blue eyes wants a hamburger. Then when you object all I have to say is "well this is just the way it is because majority of young blue-eyed people have been ordering hamburgers for the past 10 years and we get at least 20 a day." Don’t you think you’d be a little upset, offended and confused why these people are treating you the same way they treat every blue-eyed person? That’s an extremely mild example yet I know thousands of people would freak out about it and there would be memes, protests, etc and it would be all over the news if all blue-eyed people were getting served hamburgers because they are young and therefore associated with LOOKING like people who like hamburgers. That’s insane. Now imagine if it was something as serious as your health. Seriously... Please try to actually imagine my analogy. I know it's a stupid analogy, but it's all I can think of right now. It’s called discrimination and discrimination can kill people. Esp. in this environment. It makes us not even want to go to the hospital no matter how sick we are. Therefore, our fear alone of being treated like drug addicts and not being able to handle the STRESS of going to the ER when we are sick, in itself, could kill us or cause severe permanent damage. This would all be avoided if people knew what CHD is and the neurological affects. Also it would’ve been avoided if they would have simply listened to my boyfriend telling them what happened and that I don’t do drugs, I have a serious heart condition and history of mini strokes. But they thought he was lying too. Because we are YOUNG. It’s also why I have so much anger for ER doctors and nurses because they never listen to the real story, they base my symptoms off of other peoples, including drug addicts who have turned our healthcare staff into these monsters now innocent sick people all over the US are treated WORSE than 10 years ago. It’s happened way too many times to me and others and it needs to stop. Ironically enough I saw a post on my cousins FB about this that I shared below. Yet another thing to raise awareness about since patients have to keep teaching the world how to care for us. Feel free to share this and your own stories if you’d like to raise awareness about ER abuse and horrifying things we have to go through on TOP of what is already happening to us with our CHD or other illness that brings us to the ER in the first place. They either think it’s a drug overdose or some mental disorder where I make up diseases, exaggerate, or fake being sick. WHY would I want to go to a hospital if I don’t ABSOLUTELY need to? Please understand the importance of not being alone in the hospital if you can. I have lived it a thousand times .. many doctors and nurses are
completely different people when you have a witness with you. I’ve also see it a lot where many are not and they are amazing, genuine people no matter if you are alone or with others. But I don’t treat THEM the same, as they do with me. I let people show me who they are before I react. That is the private investigator in me protecting myself from good and bad people. If you react first, those people are just a product of your reaction. But if you let them show you who THEY are first, then that’s who they are and if you need to fight to protect yourself, then fight. 🙅 As far as my medical update: As of now they are giving me coumadin & aspirin and planning a bunch of appointments to look at other stuff too that I don’t want to talk about. Another dream of mine is being in a room full of thousands of doctors to teach them about so many things and one topic being this... This new epidemic of innocent young sick people like us being treated like nothing as overdose patients. Also below ..Here’s me trying to smile.:) Also, a pic of me in recovery room after TEE, which has a million hilarious stories. .. I apparently wanted to wear sunglasses because I felt like no one could see me but I could see them which I thought was hilarious. 😎😂 Thank you so much, I love all of your messages, am so thankful for your prayers and I truly believe so much healing happens when people get together and pray. I love you all.
Here is a video I made after getting out of the hospital in 2013. This has been happening, as I have said, for a very long time. This needs to stop.
Copyright © 2018 | By Stephanie Romer