Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dread = Fear OR Head Injury Failure

So, I’ve had some ongoing health issues lately. We have insurance. We have the best doctors. We have the ability to address the issues. And after a year, they still haven’t been solved.

But, we’ve been muddling our way through and counting on the fact that we have the rare privilege here in America of being able to afford healthcare. But, it seems as if even the ability to afford it doesn’t deliver.

Last Friday afternoon, I tried to walk from the dining room to the kitchen and fell over. My friend said, she heard a thump and rushed into the kitchen. I was on the floor. My eyes were rolled up in my head and I was drooling. Ten seconds later, I woke up. Needless to say, I was a bit out of it.

She kept saying should I call 911?

I kept saying “No, I’m cool. I’m sorry for messing up the play date.”

Finally, I felt the back of my head. There was an Ostrich egg there. Another friend dropped by. She is also dread. I asked her to look at my head and see whether we had anything to worry about. She kind of gasped and said, "OMG! It's really red." It was then that I decided that going to the hospital might be a good thing. Husband came home and kids were packed off. (Thank you lovely friends)!

So, we go to the ER. Great. I am interviewed. I am given standard neurological tests. I am given an EKG. Blood is drawn. An I.V. is inserted. Heart is monitored. But, nobody will touch my head.

I am released. I am not allowed to go anywhere unattended. I may not drive. I am to follow up with my PCP on Monday. I sleep for two days. I wake only to restlessly try to make our son’s life seem “normal.” My husband makes sure I follow up with our PCP on Monday.

So, I do. And the PCP is incredulous that I am in his office and nobody ever thought to scan my head. I can’t walk unassisted. I’m dizzy. I can’t see straight. So, he sends me off for a CT Scan. Never does he touch my head.

(In defence of all the lovely health professionals who attended me, I will state now for the record that I present “poorly.” That means, I’m not moaning and crying. I am often witty and engaging. And I have to spend a lot of time thinking about what ails me because, why complain for no reason? I like to present all of the facts in a rational manner ....somehow hoping they will be relevant. And pain is a state of mind we accept. Right? This does not not help me or them.) Moving on....

(Side-side note: this is the woman who swears child birth is painless. Both of my births had to get someone to coerce me into the hospital by my midwives because I kept saying, “it’s all cool. the ancestors are with me. the ocean waves are great and I love riding them.”)

But the fact remains, nobody was willing to touch my head. Not even today during the CT scan. When asked if I had any metal in my “braids,” I suddenly realised that I do. I began combing through my locks looking for this one piece of jewellery. The technician simply stated, “As long as it is way down there we don’t have to worry.” Well, I did worry.

I don’t know about CT Scans but I do know that my dense heavy locks were over the exact place they needed to be looking at. And I do know that the ER MD wasn’t willing to touch my head to feel the Ostrich egg presenting itself there. And I do know that no one was willing to look under the mane for any damage. And I wonder....will this leave us in a deeper more long lasting limbo.

Am I so fierce? Is my mane too terrifying to diagnose? And why aren’t there more African-Americans in these fields? Because there seems to be some deep fear about approaching my dread.

And fierce as I am....I hate limbo.

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