February 14th, 2006 (aka – the Valentine’s Massacre) – I was receiving an I.V. to be sedated for an endoscope.
The second the I.V. went into my left forearm… I started crying and saying “This hurts really bad!” I ended up telling four nurses and the surgeon. My husband, Kent (who is an E.M.T, firefighter & police officer), was in the room and witnessed the needle insertion. With no avail, no one removed the needle. It was in my left arm for one hour before the sedation meds were pushed, during the procedure and wasn’t removed until I woke up crying that my arm hurt. Let me explain that I have a very tasteful tattoo on that arm (left) and the nurse thought if I could endure a tattoo, an I.V. can’t possibly hurt worse.
I took pictures of my arm that night because the red streaking and bruising were so big and odd looking. They believe now that the needle hit my main bundle of nerves… or my median nerve. It is the most painful form of RSD and the most uncommon way to get RSD. This was the horrible beginning of trying to get a proper diagnosis and treatment for my form of RSD.
Everyone made me feel like an uneducated, ding-bat blond hairdresser with a drug problem. The neurologists were the worst! They didn’t even want to deal with my pain. One neurologist, in particular, only documented on file that I had a tattoo on that arm. One doctor spent more time flirting than asking what hurt and how it happened. And yes, everyone thought I was insane. I have tried all medications and pain meds, and now I am on the strongest dose available. So most of my Dr.‘s feared I was a drug-user and just didn’t understand what I was going through.
I hadn’t ever heard of RSD until this happened, and more horrifying, neither did most doctors I visited. Sadly, I have done everything that is available to me besides a spinal cord stimulator.
I had owned “Head To Toe Salon” for 15 years. I was the main hairstylist. Hairstyling and owning my full service salon was a dream. I had been doing hair for 20 years and loved every minute of it. I hadn’t taken new clients for over 6-7 years. I was so busy I had assistants helping, just to keep my head above water. I had 647 clients before the “incident” and by December 20th, 2007, I had less than 30 clients. I had to close my salon and go on disability. Now I have trouble even cleaning and combing my own hair.
Fortunately, I was accepted for SS Disability in less than nine weeks after being examined by two doctors picked by the government. I am still trying to get health care assistance. I have absolutely no money now which doesn’t help… The pain, worries and depression exacerbate my RSD.
My RSD (aka – Veni-Puncture Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – Veni-Puncture CRPS or Hand to Shoulder Syndrome) has traveled up my arm to my neck, left ear, left eye and it has traveled and affected my whole body. My legs get edema so bad, I can’t walk. My arm cannot straighten out and is “freezing” up like my frozen shoulder. My arm is so cold at times it turns dark blue, and at other times, it gets extremely hot, turns dark red and swells. I have no strength in my arm, hand and fingers, therefore I could no longer do hair. Worst of all, the pain is disabling.
It is amazing to me now how much I had to go through just because RSD is hard to test for… and if the doctors were even aware of RSD. It seemed being a blond, hairdressing female with tattoo’s, that I was always being judged. It wasn’t until the Dr.‘s would talk with me that they realized I was a half-way educated, somewhat intelligent person. I was labeled everything from crazy to a drug-user.
My husband and I had recently married before this horrible NEGLECT…but fortunately he has stuck by my side through this whole ordeal. And he has witnessed everything from day one till now. He has to help me out of bed most of the time or push me around in my “Go-getter” (my wheelchair – since I can’t use my arm to roll myself around). I can’t afford a motorized scooter.
I do have a lawsuit filed for neglect, but haven’t heard much as of yet.
I would love to be a part of anything so as I may help in any way. It was so hard just to find a doctor who knew what RSD was, let alone educating the people around me. We need more people believing us rather than sticking us in the “insane” category.