When I Say, “Stop!” I mean, “Stop!”

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

January 30th, 2013 • Living with Chronic PainPrint Print

Today I went to my endo for a check-up. The nurse who usually works there – who is totally awesome not only because she wears purple smocks but also because she remembers and adheres to all my sensitivities — was not there, and I got this studentish-looking nurse who took quite a bit of time with basic stuff. I gave her a heads-up that I have low blood pressure (the healthy athletic kind, not the anemic kind) and that I need her to use a manual cuff so that she can stop before the blood pressure reader gets super high, because I end up in bad pain when it gets past a certain point. She said OK.

She then proceeded to do an elaborate procedure putting together a manual cuff. Then, when she was pumping, the pressure was fine until it went from “starting to hurt” to “excruciating pain” in, like a nanosecond. “It’s hurting,” I said to her. That’s usually the cue where other practitioners let the gas out, so to speak, and the pressure starts going down right away. She, however, just stopped pumping.

“Please stop,” I said. “OK,” she said again, not making a motion, watching the numbers on the screen. A few seconds ticked by, and I was ready to rip the damn cuff off my arm. Quite frankly, I should have. “I need you to stop!!” I said urgently. That’s when she let the gas out. But the damage had been done. I’ve been in pain since that time, and it’s been about eight hours. I anticipate having a hard time sleeping tonight.

I often err on the side of being polite and sparing people bad feelings, but this time I believe I was scowling, and I made no attempt to hide the fact that I was in pain. The studentish nurse apologized and said that in the future, I could ask to not have my blood pressure done. I was tempted to ask her why she didn’t move when I said stop, but I figured she obviously felt bad, and there was nothing to be done to undo the situation anyhow, so why add to her stress.

But I often look out for other people’s feelings instead of taking care of whatever business I need to take care of, and I do wish I’d asked. Simply because I’m curious and because it’s good feedback for another situation – ie, to understand the psychology of medical types.

Anyhow, off I go to bed with an ice pack. I’ll dance it out tomorrow.

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