I have had Crohn’s Disease since 2003. And since then, every time I fall ill, wether by ambulance or being driven, I go to the ER at Littleton Adventist. I have been in a pretty major flare since February of this year. I have been ending up in the ER roughly every 20 – 35 days or so. Those ER visits typically turn into 4- 6 day hospital stays. Before I get to the part where I am really pissed the hell off let me just start by saying once admitted the nursing staff, the RN’s and the CNA’s are AWESOME. And it isn’t just the Nurses. It’s the cleaning lady Maggie. It’s Donna from Food Services. It’s the familiar faces that make me feel comfortable. I’ve been going to this hospital for almost 13 years now. When you are sick it’s nice to be surrounded by people you know. That makes an otherwise intolerable situation tolerable. So my issue is not, I repeat NOT with the staff at Littleton Hospital in the floors above the ER. To be fair my issue isn’t with most of the ER staff. There’s a guy there Joe, an RN, who knows me know since I’m there so much and is always cool to me.
But this last visit to the ER was an insulting nightmare.
The day started off shitty enough for me. I was in bad shape to begin with. I had an appointment in Lonetree CO – At Skyridge where my GI Doc’s are, South Denver GI. I was schedule to get my first infusion of a new drug called Vedolizumab or as us cool kids call it, Entyvio. I made it as far as getting in my Jeep in my driveway when I started throwing up, came close to passing out and felt my heart try to leap out of my chest. I reluctantly called 911. Elk Creek Rescue showed up along with Platte Canyon and they poured me out of my Jeep and into the ambulance. Off to Littleton’s ER we go, like I’ve done some 30 times so far. Elk Creek knows me well, and begin treating me with what little they can, mostly they try to stop the vomiting. See when I start barfing like that I can’t keep my meds down. When that happens, obviously I’m not getting the meds I need. Not just pain meds. But I do start going thru withdraws on top of being sick and on top of being in pain. So, we get to the ER and it’s the same old same old. Even tho I protest and tell the doctors I’ve just been here they insist on running thru a serious of tests, including shoving something up my ass looking for blood. They don’t have to look far. They don’t have to look at all, but they do.
So there I am, laying there in pain. Well not just casually laying there, I’m writhing in pain. Who knows, I may have been weeping too. And now I start throwing up again. Luckily, Amie was there – she showed up a few minutes after I was brought in. Then it happened. A “Case Worker” or a “Social Worker”,…something like that, someone with some sort of title like that came in. I don’t remember her name or title because I was, ya know, in PAIN. She proceeds to start grilling me.
“Why are you back again so soon?”
“Why do you think you keep coming back?”
“You know, Insurance isn’t going to cover this. You are what we call a frequent visitor.”
“Why don’t you just have your colon removed?”
“Why didn’t you see your GI doctor today?”
“Aren’t you taking your medication at home? If you were you wouldn’t be here so often!”
“The hospital is concerned because you come here so much!”
She said more. And she all but accused me of being there for pain medication. I just told you what I go thru when I go to the ER. Aside from the barfing and feeling like I’m going to black out. I have shit shoved up my ass, and along with pain meds I am given prednisone. Prednisone destroyed my right hip and I had to have that replaced. It’s all but destroyed my left knee and most likely my left hip isn’t far behind. Believe me, there is no drug on this planet worth taking when you know well in advance you are going to have to endure what I endure and take other drugs that have nasty ass side effects. And yet, as I lay there in pain, that woman in effect, accused me of being there just for drugs.
I was eventually admitted and placed on the Fourth Floor where I know everyone. When I told the staff, and believe me I told anyone who would listen, they were appalled. I’ve waited on contacting the administration at Littleton Adventist but that is my next step. I wait because stress can trigger a flare. I just finally got my Entyvio Infusion. I wanted to make sure I was in a better place before making contact with the hospital. I don’t have any plans to discuss this over the phone or in a letter to the administration, I want to meet Brett Spenst in person and tell him my story.
I will be sick again. Even if Entyvio works no drug is permanent. I can only hope I achieve remission. If Im lucky it’ll be a few years of remission. I want to speak to the hospital administrator to make sure no one else ever gets treated like I was treated. Over all, Littleton Hospital is a good hospital. But no one, ever, should be treated the way I was treated.
This story isn’t over, so I’m sure I’ll be updating it soon.