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How Doctors Take Women's Pain Less Seriously

How Doctors Take Women's Pain Less Seriously
Early on a Wednesday morning, I heard an anguished cry—then silence. I rushed into the bedroom and watched my wife, Rachel, stumble from the bathroom, doubled over, hugging herself in pain. “Something’s wrong,” she gasped. This scared me. Rachel’s not the type to sound the alarm over every pinch or twinge. She cut her finger badly once, when we lived in Iowa City, and joked all the way to Mercy Hospital as the rag wrapped around the wound reddened with her blood. So when I saw Rachel collapse on our bed, her hands grasping and ungrasping like an infant’s, I called the ambulance. I don’t know how long it took for the ambulance to reach us that Wednesday morning. I didn’t know our wait was just beginning. I buzzed the EMTs into our apartment. “Eleven,” Rachel croaked. As we loaded into the ambulance, here’s what we didn’t know: Rachel had an ovarian cyst, a fairly common thing. There is nothing like witnessing a loved one in deadly agony. And there we stopped. “My wife,” I said.

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