Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So How Do You Know?

Ok, here's a question for all my friends in the chronic illness community -- how do you know when it's time to seek medical attention for symptoms that probably are just be a worsening of your normal symptoms?

I'm having one of those weeks where I know, if I call my doctor or speak to a triage nurse, I'll be told to get to an ER to be checked out.

My fatigue is way up, I'm feeling like I'm having trouble catching my breath, and my chest pain is through the roof. 

But I've been to the ER enough times in the past 2.5 years that I'm fairly sure it's just a general flare from overdoing things the past couple weeks. My chest pain is probably just the costochondritis I've had in varying degrees since June 2007. The breathing is because it hurts to take a deep breath, so I don't, so I feel out of breath. 

I know my symptoms are enough to get me checked out for pulmonary embolism. But I also know that the odds that I've got PE or something serious are miniscule. My current symptoms are most likely just the ups and downs of my "normal."

What about you?


Jeanne said...


Oh, I hate when these things happen. Are you certain your PCP wouldn't see you to at least help you figure out what to do, if anything?

If the topic of the ER comes up, is there an "after hours" clinic or "urgent care center" that would be a way to get checked out but without going to the ER (which is never fun)?

I hope you feel better soon. Follow your gut and listen to what your body is telling you. I know the ER is a pain but if you think something serious is going on, I'd bite the bullet and go there if need be.

I would try to see if the doctor's office will work with you first. Yes, they might initially tell you to go to the ER. However, if you push back and ask them to run things by your doctor, who knows what'll happen?

With heading into a holiday, I wouldn't put off making calls or taking action... whatever that might be. If you call now, there's a chance your doctor's there. Tomorrow will be another story.

I hope it gets better on its own fast!!

Try to have a happy Thanksgiving despite all of this!


Diane J Standiford said...

I found a 24hr nurse line, other than that I wait. Geez, always around the holidays...