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A Male Doctor Thought I Was Exaggerating How Heavy my Periods Were. One Period Lasted 83 days And I Ended Up Needing a Blood Transfusion.

A Male Doctor Thought I Was Exaggerating How Heavy my Periods Were One Period Lasted 83 days And I Ended Up Needing a Blood Transfusion
Date Posted: Thursday, January 12th, 2023

*In 2015, I was diagnosed with PCOS due to my irregular periods.

*Three years later, I experienced a period that lasted 83 days and sent me to the hospital.

*I needed blood transfusions and eventually a D&C to stop the bleeding.

I have heard women describe the sensation of their "water breaking" in a myriad of ways. I've never gone through labor, but one random spring day in 2018, I stood up from my desk and experienced what I can only imagine feels like your water breaking. When I looked down at my seat and the floor, I was standing in a small pool of blood.

I made it to the bathroom and got cleaned up as quickly as I could, but by the time I walked the 200 feet or so from the bathroom to my desk, blood was cascading down my leg again. In the 10 minutes, it took me to drive home and get upstairs to my bathroom, there was a trail of blood following me.

To control the bleeding, I put in a tampon, lined my underwear with an overnight pad and a standard pad, then nestled into a second pair of panties. Within an hour or so, I had gone through a box of tampons and a pack of pads.

In 2015, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, because my periods were so irregular. When I'd experience a heavy period, I would think, "This is just because I have not had a period in a while, it will slow down in a day or so."

But this time, it never slowed down. I tried managing it the best I could with ibuprofen, heating pads, and at one point free bleeding, but deep down I knew that something was not right. I needed help quickly.

I was taken to the emergency room

I sought medical attention twice. The second time, urgent care transported me via ambulance to the emergency room. I was absolutely petrified.

After about three hours in the emergency room, a white male doctor finally walked in. He did not have much bedside manner, and after he read my chart, I could immediately tell that I wasn't going to get the help I needed from him. I can't remember if his question came before or after the vaginal exam, but I vividly recall him asking me, "Are you sure you're bleeding as much as you say you are?"

He was oblivious that by the time he had made his way to my room, I had an IV drip for dehydration, the bedding had been changed a few times, and a nurse had administered a dose of tranexamic acid — a medicine used to control bleeding. I'd also received a few pints of blood via a transfusion.

As a Black woman, I'm often not believed by doctors

After receiving the transfusions, the doctor thought I was well enough to go home. Unfortunately, that is the story of so many Black women who die at the hands of healthcare providers — we are simply not believed.

I knew that if I went home without the tranexamic acid to make the bleeding manageable, it would be a dangerous situation. In my mind, I would have been going home to possibly die.

Advocating for myself, I adamantly requested to be admitted overnight for observation. Overnight turned into a weekend stay. I had several panic attacks; my heart rate was increasing, but my blood pressure was dropping. I became anemic; my hemoglobin levels were low; I was still dehydrated and on an IV, causing my veins to collapse; and I needed more pints of blood. I was tested for fibroids, endometriosis, and a host of other things. The bleeding lasted for 83 days — which required me to get a dilation and curettage, or D&C, to clear the uterine lining and stop the heaving bleeding, and an IUD placement to regulate my periods.

I haven't experienced another menstrual cycle like that one, but I wholeheartedly believe that advocating for myself saved my life.

Source: Ronny Maye/Insider.com

Date Posted: Thursday, January 12th, 2023 , Total Page Views: 2058

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