A couple of weeks ago I was hit with pain so sharp in my abdomen that I actually fell to my hands and knees in the middle of the street. I had to crawl to the curbside where I waited for the piercing pain to end. It didn't, and after a few minutes I realized I needed help. Luckily my co-worker Patricia was walking nearby, and she took me to the Sechelt Medical Clinic. I was slotted in to see a doctor quickly. He took one look at me and said I had pulled a muscle, should relax and go home.I was confused and still in tremendous pain, but I figured the medical professional knew what he was talking about.Patricia drove me home and helped me into bed. She and my friend Nancy came back to check on me periodically as I drifted in and out of consciousness. By 4 a.m. the next morning, I could hardly breathe. No position would give me any relief from the searing pain.My husband rushed me to emergency after waking up my two-year-old daughter (who was suffering from chickenpox) so she could come along with us.We don't have family here, and 4 a.m. is a little early to call even the best of friends for help.Once at the hospital, I met a nurse who implied I had gas. She was not willing to give me morphine. Eventually she did, as I pressed her for the painkiller.A multitude of tests and scans showed nothing, until about 12 hours later when an ultrasound showed I had a cyst that had ruptured and filled my body cavity with blood. It was that blood pressing on my organs that hurt so much and was making it hard to breathe. The nurse who thought I was gassy was now quick to administer painkillers on my request. Later she even asked me to write a story about her son.The doctors said they could do nothing but give me morphine and wait for my body to absorb the blood. They discharged me with a prescription for Tylenol 3. I was told it would take "a couple of days" to feel better. A week later, I could still barely walk.I was given no follow-up care instructions and no tips to ease the pain I was still experiencing.Now, two weeks after the incident, I am finally getting back to normal and reflecting on my encounters with the health professionals whom I trusted to have my best interests at heart.I've realized many doctors don't have the time to care. The doctor who said I had pulled a muscle was rushed and wanted me out of his office. And the nurse who so rudely accused me of having gas and then had the gall to ask me to write a story about her son definitely didn't have my best interests in mind.After talking to people on the Coast about this situation, I've heard I'm not alone. Almost every person I told this story to had a similar experience where a doctor dismissed their symptoms, and later, a more serious injury or illness resulted.I guess I've learned an important lesson though: you have to be your own advocate and insist on care when you feel you need it.They may find out it is just gas, but I'd rather look silly and be dubbed paranoid or a troublemaker than die from internal hemorrhaging left undiagnosed.