December 31, 2013 - I was in my first trimester of pregnancy. Had just returned home a few weeks earlier from the islands after being by family. I came home from work that afternoon and started to feel some lower back pain. Didn't think much of it other than thinking it was my kidneys and not my back.
The pain intensified quickly. I took a bath within an hour of the first pain and at that point was rushing to get out of the tub and to the hospital as it was happening quickly. I was petrified. First pregnancy and alone...and without a local phone plan because I hadn't yet set up my Toronto phone upon returning.
I left the home and headed for King Street off of Dowling Avenue to hail a cab. I nearly had to crawl...but made it, got a cab and he took me. Why I didn't call 911 is beyond me...but I was uneasy and just wanted to be there. Upon arrival I was crying out. I couldn't fathom what was happening and was petrified that I was going to lose either mine or my babies life that day.
They gave me pain medicine (which I was hesitant on only because I hardly take Advil let alone full on narcotics), managed to call my family (from way out of town) and then left me. No problem...they are busy. The pain didn't get better...it was awful and I cried out. After time, I needed to use the washroom. I buzzed for help...nothing. called out for help...nothing. Time passed, I was going to soil myself. I attempted to get up. I was crying. I got to the nurses station - they looked at me and then went back to their work. I was hunched over. My ass out of my gown. And crying. It fucking hurt. They didn't skip a beat in their conversation. Just sat there. I looked around. A woman who was by a man came and gave me an arm. I'll never forget the look she gave to me and then to the nurses station. She walked me and the IV pole to the toilets. One was COVERED in diarrhea. I cried out. And an ambulance person was there I asked for help - they shrugged, looking helpless. I went to the next toilet. It was filthy. I did my business and walked back to the bed trying to contain myself. Hours of pain went on. They could barely ultrasound me as my kidney was protruding out of my back, it was so swollen.
They never gave me an answer as to what happened. The doctor who met me in the hallway after the pain subsided laughed and asked me if I was feeling better. I was in shock that it just went like that. He was happy for me and I believed him. I later found out that my uterus was pinching my ureter and blocking my urine. My kidney nearly ruptured - which could have killed us both - and the specialist (who I met the following week at an appointment) wanted to put a stint in so my urine passed everything going straight from my kidney to an external bag. He gave me specific orders that if I came anywhere close to that pain that I call 911 and go straight to the ER with his paperwork (imagine being told to go back to the judgemental/neglectful place in the event of life or death).
When I was age 6&8 I had the same major surgery on my ureter re implanting it - it's a weak area for me. I told the ER this that night. And those people just sat there and treated me like I was something they didn't see. This memory over time would take me somewhere I'm not used to. I got very affected by the emotions it brought (brings) up in me. My daughter is 3.5. This still makes my jaw tight and my eyes wet.
Eventually, after settling into motherhood I contacted St. Joe's and told my story but it didn't matter because what were they to do? The woman was effective in her conversation with me and some pain eased, however, it was just a St. Joe's staff member and me talking about this - just one person hearing one story and nothing could really be done. At least through this avenue people will know that these things can happen.
I was a single pregnant female without a phone or anyone around to help. Also, I asked for more pain medicine, which I learned that night isn't something you do if you want to be taken seriously. I legit thought this evening I was going to die. I honestly felt it was the end and they didn't even help me to the bathroom. I'll never forget the strength in that woman's arms who helped me. I've never felt gratitude like I did in that moment.
Submitted by Danielle