Monday, September 24, 2012

Some People are Buttheads

My friend K recently sent me a great article that had been written by an HG sufferer and survivor for a women's magazine.  In it she details her journey through her first pregnancy with severe HG in all its wonderfulness.  I think she did a fantastic job, although I must say that if I had been the one writing it there are certain parts that I would have stressed more to help get the seriousness across.

The next thing I hear is that in a later issue of the magazine a woman wrote in to the editor saying that since this wonderful HG momma hadn't had a PICC line, then clearly it wasn't severe HG and she demanded the magazine print a correction saying so - which they did.

If only I could get my hands on that letter to the editor, I would write such a scathing reply that that woman wouldn't know what had hit her.  How dare she do something like that.  Seriously - how dare she?

A little education here: just because you don't have a PICC line doesn't mean you don't have severe HG.  Some doctors are unwilling to place one because of the inherent risks, and I have never ever heard of a woman being given a PICC line for treatment of HG in Israel (where the original writer suffered through her pregnancy).  There are a million and one reasons why a woman wouldn't get one.

If you look at the HER Foundation website at the list of signs of severe HG, there is nothing there saying "you don't have severe HG unless you have a PICC line".  I mean, seriously, are you kidding me?

Do you know what it feels like when you go through all that pain and suffering - and yes, it is pain and suffering - and then when you open yourself up to the world in the hopes of educating others, helping other mothers going through it, and perhaps finding some closure yourself - do you know what it feels like when someone comes along and says that you weren't really suffering like you said you were?

Let me tell you a story.  There was a terrible car accident and both drivers are severely injured.  One driver needs a leg amputation, the other leg is shattered, his liver is lacerated, he has severe whiplash, and multiple head injuries.  You would say that this man is in critical condition, yes?  But wait - the other driver has all of these injuries plus seven more and spends three weeks in a coma etc. etc.  Now are you going to go back and tell the first man that just because his injuries aren't as bad, he really wasn't injured at all?  No, because it would be completely ridiculous to say something like that.

So Ms. Letter to the Editor, let me tell you this.  No one makes up having severe HG.  No one will give herself that label just to feel 'cool' or to make things seem more serious than they were.  If she was diagnosed with severe HG, she had severe HG - end of story.  You, someone looking in from the outside who has absolutely no clue who she is and what she actually went through, have no right to belittle her suffering and to demand a correction.

It doesn't matter if you yourself are an HG sufferer, if you are a medical professional, if you are random Joe Shmoe off the street.  Unless you are this woman or her doctor, you have no right to say anything.  The only appropriate response to an article such as hers is "I'm so sorry that you went through that.  I will pray that you never go through that again.  Now I know about HG and if I come across a woman suffering from it, I know where to send her for information and I better know how to support her."

Clearly the woman who wrote in to the editor knows something about HG because she knows that (in the US) a PICC line is frequently used to treat the worst cases.  But she clearly doesn't know enough to shut the hell up and not make a bad situation worse.

So please, think before you open your mouth.  Sometimes really stupid things come out.

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