Imagine going to the doctor for a simple procedure that requires an IV, having your concerns and requests about the procedure ignored, and coming out with debilitating pain radiating up your wrist and hand that simply doesn’t go away. Years later, you are still experiencing pain and weakness. This is where Ivy’s story begins
I’ve known Ivy, a pediatric nurse and fellow photographer, for a few years now. We met at a photography workshop here in Raleigh, and have been friends ever since. I knew that she had had an injury to her wrist and hand, but hadn’t really known what it was or what kind of treatment this entailed. She was excited to hear about my project and was one of the first people to respond to my request for stories to tell.
Ivy had gone to the hospital for a fairly routine procedure that required an IV. When she asked to have the IV placed in her non-dominant hand, the office and nursing staff refused to listen. During the process, the pain was so great that she begged the nurse to stop and thus began the tingling pain through her hand. The pain didn’t go away, but rather it caused her hand to become clumsy. She began to have trouble writing, holding her fork, and even typing.
Upon contacting a neurologist, she discovered that this wasn’t an injury with a simple solution. The hand pain, it turns out, wasn’t a simple injury at all, but something much worse, called CRPS. CRPS stands for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and is a nerve injury. This particular injury happens when the mechanism that stops sending pain signals from the nerve to the brain is not functioning, allowing the nerve to send too much input to the brain and thus one’s pain can spiral out of control.
CRPS is a very difficult condition to treat, and Ivy has worked for years to come up with treatments that can make her days better and with less pain. She has seen many certified occupational therapy hand specialists and physical therapists, taken many medications, used countless healing creams, and finally flew to Colorado for a specialized treatment - Regenexx prp. Her hand is still not back to pre-incident shape, but she has seen improvement with several painful pop treatments. She still continues to have bad days and requires daily therapy..
I am not particularly religious, but I admire Ivy for her belief. For her, her Christian faith is central to her strength and continued fight for her hand. She wants to share her story in order to encourage people to advocate strongly for themselves when it comes to their health care. Her requests for her procedure were refused because they didn’t line up with protocol. She wants to remind health care workers that it is so very necessary to listen to patients. Protocol may be necessary, but should be flexible when able in order to provide the best patient-centered care.