To the Condescending ER Nurse Who Dismissed My Symptoms


To the ER nurse who told me it was his job to get my pain down to zero,

First of all, I wasn’t even in the children’s ER for my pain. I was in for seizure-like symptoms, which I would have really preferred you treated as a priority instead of my pain. It turned out to be medication withdrawal – not that anyone in the ER helped me figure that out.

You were only in my room for a few minutes, and I only saw you through the cracked door after that. But you’ve been on my mind for almost two weeks because of what you said in that fake cheery voice.

Did you get any training on how to treat people with chronic pain?Probably not. But you’re not going to get my pain down to a zero, I can guarantee that. I’ve been in pain my entire life. I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, fibromyalgia, IBS and TBI, and I’m only 14.

You are not going to get my pain down from a seven, and the faster you accept that, the better you can treat me. The less condescending you will be. The better you will do your actual job, which is to treat the twitching I have that is so bad my arm is almost smacking my mom in the face.

Thankfully, I had another nurse who wasn’t nearly as dismissive, but the ones like you are the ones who try to make me go off my (non-opioid) painkillers even though I can’t function without them, who tell me I need to get off my mobility aids even though I can’t walk without them, who tell me I need to lose weight even though I have an eating disorder.

You are not here to treat my pain. I don’t want you to treat my pain. I want you to treat my withdrawal and my twitching. I want you to treat me like a human being.

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Photo via Mike Powell on Getty Images

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