It's late, and I can't persude my sister she's in crisis.
June 30, 2010 10:53 PM   Subscribe

Help me persuade my sister to go to the hospital (or talk me down).

I took her kids to swimming today, and when I brought them home I found her too embarrassed to stand, as period blood had soaked her pants and throught to her shirt. I've spent the evening with her, and every twenty minutes or so she's had to rush to empty her Diva cup.

She's refusing to go to the hospital, because it's almost midnight and she doesn't want the expense or awfulness of an emergency room visit.

She's had a very long history of long, heavy periods, and last year tried uterine ablation with no success. I'm at her house right now. She's gone to bed. My parents want me to force her to go to the hospital, but her husband is content to let her sleep through the night before she can get to her regular doctor tomoorrow.

posted by Sara Anne to Human Relations (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, it's freaked me out reading it, so if it helps, print this out and say, "hey, a random woman on one of your communities online would go to the hospital anyway, because that just sounds crazy". Soaking pants and emptying cup every 20 minutes? What?! Nobody likes the emerg, but it's better than, oh, the Emergency room. She should go. Jesus.

Good luck - keep us posted.
posted by rmm at 11:00 PM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

No. Sorry. Go to the ER. Worst case scenario: you'll have apologize. Worst-er scenario, she bleeds out in her bed. God I hated typing that.
posted by CaptApollo at 11:12 PM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

I have super heavy terrible periods, a myriad of lady problems, and hate hate hate going to the hospital, but that's egregious even for me! If she were my sister, I'd make her go to the hospital. It's better to wake up in a pile of your own blood in a hospital bed instead of in your own pricey, unwashable mattress.
posted by Mizu at 11:14 PM on June 30, 2010

I don't think you should let her sleep. Most insurance companies, and I'm willing to guess most hospitals, have an advice nurse. Please call the advice nurse.
posted by samthemander at 11:14 PM on June 30, 2010 [8 favorites]

I second samthemander. If she won't listen to you telling her to go to the hospital, she may listen to the advice nurse.

How the hell is she going to sleep through the night if she's losing that much blood anyway?
posted by saveyoursanity at 11:16 PM on June 30, 2010

The Diva Cup can usually stay in for at least 12 hours! This is worth a trip to the ER in my opinion, which is only that of a woman, not a doctor.

There are lots of reasons this could be happening, some of which are relatively innocuous, but some that are VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS.
posted by chiababe at 11:18 PM on June 30, 2010

i soak through a super tampon every hour on the second day of my period. is she weak? disoriented? if it were me, i'd wait until the morning and see if it were the same situation.
posted by nadawi at 11:19 PM on June 30, 2010

Best answer: Are you in Albuquerque? Call the Nurse Advice New Mexico line at 1-(877)-725-2552.
posted by clearlydemon at 11:19 PM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

IANAD, but that seriously freaked me out just reading that. Please go to a hospital! Extreme blood loss is not one of those things you want to mess around with. Offer to pay for the visit out of pocket if that's the stumbling block here.
posted by lilac girl at 11:32 PM on June 30, 2010

Just in case you need to hear it from yet another person... Make her go. Be a jerk if you have to. Lots of women have to change every hour for a day or two but every 20 minutes? Hospital time!
posted by madred at 11:48 PM on June 30, 2010

She knows herself best. I have a friend for whom extremely frequent tampon changes (every twenty minutes) on at least part of one day of her period are not unusual. If she thinks this is rather typical for this time in her cycle, my opinion as a completely uninformed stranger is to let her sleep.

The Kaiser handbook does say to call Kaiser if bleeding heavy enough to soak a maxi/super tampon in an hour occurs for six hours or more. So calling an advice nurse hotline is a good idea.
posted by salvia at 12:02 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't blame her for not wanting the expense. I've seen plenty of $100 urgent care visits turn into $6000 emergency room adventures because it's 12am and not 12pm. Frankly, they will probably just ensure she's not dying and then have her wait for the specialist to make his rounds in the morning. Seeing the specialist in the morning sans-er gets my vote.
posted by mmdei at 12:02 AM on July 1, 2010

You could call 911 and have the paramedics come. They won't drag her away kicking and screaming or anything, but if they examine her and tell her she needs to get to the ER, maybe she will take it more seriously. Good luck.
posted by stennieville at 12:03 AM on July 1, 2010

OTOH it could be that stupid cup overflowing and making a mole into a mountain. Regardless - the condition could be due to many things including fibroid tumors or even iron deficiency which would probably be best checked out by a gynecologist. Some information for her to read.
posted by watercarrier at 12:16 AM on July 1, 2010

Yeah that sounds pretty awful. I'd be resistant to go to the ER too, especially with something like this, but it just doesn't sound right. That's a freaking lot of blood.
posted by radioamy at 12:32 AM on July 1, 2010

Best answer: Okay, IAANAD (I am absolutely not a doctor), but let's do the maths:

A size 2 Diva Cup holds 25ml of fluid. If your sister is emptying hers every 20 minutes, she's losing approximately 75ml an hour. If you let her sleep for the next nine hours, she will have lost 675ml of blood by morning. (This assumes that the rate of bleeding stays roughly constant). Assuming her body is otherwise healthy, it will replace some of

By comparison, blood donors give up to 550 ml of blood in under than an hour, and the only treatment they require afterwards is a glass of water and a cookie. Your sister definitely needs to see a doctor, but if she says this level of bleeding isn't too far off normal for her, it might not be an ER situation just yet.

Personally, if she insists she's fine, I would let her sleep, but have someone check on her a few times during the night. Check that she stays hydrated and make sure she sees a doctor in the morning.

Situations that would prompt me to drag her to the ER include:

- If there's any likelihood that she's actually having a miscarriage.
- If she starts showed symptoms of circulatory shock
- If the bleeding worsens or you aren't able to convince her to keep drinking water.

But that's just me, and I'm just a stranger on the internet. Only you can decide whether the situation is serious enough to justify overriding your sister and her husband's decision to wait until morning. If you strongly feel that your sister must go to the ER tonight, offering to help pay her medical bills might help convince her to cooperate. I hope she feels better soon.
posted by embrangled at 2:27 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Sorry, scrap the last sentence of the first par. I was going to suggest that her body might replace some of the blood she's lost overnight. But then I checked, and it can take up to four weeks to replace the red blood cells lost in a typical blood donation. She will, however, slowly replenish her blood volume as long as she continues to stay hydrated. Apologies for the error.
posted by embrangled at 2:34 AM on July 1, 2010

just to note: period blood is not all "blood".
posted by bearette at 2:57 AM on July 1, 2010 [8 favorites]

Please give us an update! Is she okay?
posted by emkelley at 5:04 AM on July 1, 2010

Is it possible she's having a miscarriage?
posted by taff at 6:02 AM on July 1, 2010

Please update.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:12 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've had "flooding" that soaked through cup and pad to the chair I was sitting on in an instant; I've had heavy periods where I had to change my Diva cup every half-hour or so because it was full. In her position, unless I felt light-headed or something, I'd probably pack myself up with a big ol' pad, lay some towels down, try to get some sleep, and call in the morning.
posted by not that girl at 8:31 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Good god that's terrible. My first thought was "miscarriage." I hope she's okay.
posted by ErikaB at 10:58 AM on July 1, 2010

I had flooding like this, where the bathwater turned red around me; where I soaked through three pads and all my clothes within five minutes of leaving the house.

I had a ruptured ovarian cyst that was misdiagnosed by my regular doctor as a heavy period. When I finally got to the emergency room and filled a kidney-shaped dish with blood and what looked like chopped liver, they asked me what had taken me so long to get there.

That said, I didn't flood or bleed so dramatically in the nighttime. So I think she's probably okay with a snack and lots of towels and padding. But do let us know how she's doing.
posted by vickyverky at 11:59 AM on July 1, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks to all who gave advice. She insisted on sleeping, so I stayed over to get her to the doctor in the morning. She sat for eight hours in the ER, without seeing a doctor. She's feeling better now, not bleeding so much but still feeling weak. Tomorrow she'll be getting back into see her midwife. We're hanging on.
posted by Sara Anne at 4:26 PM on July 1, 2010

Thanks for updating us. I'm glad to hear your sister is doing okay. Please make sure she gets her iron levels checked - if she's regularly losing large amounts of blood, she's at risk of anaemia. I hope she gets adequate medical care and treatment soon. Besides the obvious need to rule out serious gynaecological problems, there are drugs available which can reduce bleeding to manageable levels. Transexamic acid is one, but there are others, and she should definitely discuss the options with her primary care provider.
posted by embrangled at 7:47 PM on July 1, 2010

This sounds like what happened the period after my coil was fitted - presumably she hasn't had an IUD?
posted by mippy at 9:45 AM on July 2, 2010

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