Dec 2020

Sight Unseen

  • By: Samantha Denäe

To have a painful period is a job within itself, but to have a painful period while dealing with Endometriosis (unknown at that) becomes a much more difficult job. My 20s was a difficult time for me. Juggling college, collegiate activities, friends, and work all while struggling to manage my debilitating period was a chore. As the months went by, my period was seemingly getting worse. In many instances, I needed emergent care, but I was always told my period was normal, so I never sought help further than an OB/GYN. It wasn’t until a traumatizing moment during my period when I began to understand that this was not the case.

It’s day three of my cycle – the worst day out of seven and everything is right on schedule: continuous vomiting, dizziness, flu-like sweats, and a 12-hour non-stop cramping session happening deep in my pelvic. I needed to go to the bathroom, so I stood up and began to walk. My legs became so weak I literally fell to the floor. I was alone in my apartment, screaming in agony with no one to assist me, and although I could have waited for the pain to pass, I decided to go to the emergency room instead. This wasn’t a part of my “normal” period routine, and for the first time I was scared. When I arrived to the hospital, I was greeted by a secretary who immediately noticed that I was in excruciating pain. She grabbed a wheelchair and wheeled me straight to a room. Her attention to my pain without even knowing what was wrong comforted me in my time of need. I wish the rest of my experience would have been just as pleasant. 

When the nurse entered and asked of my issue, I responded with:

“I’m unable to walk due to my period. My period is extremely painful every month, but this is the first time I’ve been unable to walk.”

He believed I was pregnant and made me take a test – standard, I know, but he was condescending and unwilling to listen to my truth when I would repeat the same response. Eventually, I obliged and when he came back with a negative test result, he simply gave me a prescription for ibuprofen, grabbed my $100 copay and sent me on my way. He didn’t even bother to ask a doctor for a consult. Here I was, still in pain, left to pay for being dismissed and unheard. I felt so small, so helpless, and this plagued my mental health, as many women dealing with unbearable period pain and womb diseases alike. When I walked out of that hospital, I knew next month I’d be right back in the same boat and IF I needed to return, they’d be of no help. Where was I to go? Back home to try and find some sort of peace.

It was never found. 

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