I am always conscious of health care dollars - I try not to go to the doctor, the clinic or the hospital unless it is absolutely necessary. But how does a person know when it it is necessary?
I haven't been feeling well for almost three weeks now. I've had a cold - ichy, watery eyes, running nose, or blocked nose, a bit of a sore throat, light headed, caughing and sneezing. You all know the drill. Finally last weekend I was starting to feel better - it had run its course. Despite the fact that I am on immune supressant drugs, I though I had it beat. I actually went out and did a few errands early in the week. Then on Wednesday afternoon I started to notice a pain in my chest. It got worse through the evening. Despite taking Ibuprohnine I was almost in tears at bed time. I managed to get to sleep.
1:30 in the morning I woke up. The pain was worse. It hurt to move, to lay on my left side, to turn over, to lay on my right side. I woke my husband and asked him to drive me to the emergency room - ten minutes away.
Worried about long waits? Just say 'chest pains'. I didn't even have time to get my Medicare card out before they had me in triage. Next thing I know I'm on a stretcher in a little curtained off cubicle. Blood pressure, questions, EKG, questions, oxygen (awe, I could breath), blood tests - a trip down the hall for a chest x-ray. The pain is easing up - its not as bad when I'm on my back with my head elevated and I think the oxygen helped.
The doctor read the results of all the tests. No, it isn't my heart, or my lungs. The x-ray didn't show anything. In fact the only symptom is the pain (which is fading) and the slight cough. He thinks it is an irritation of the chest wall and advises that I continue pain medication, and possible applying moist heat. Shortly after 4:00 I am back home crawling into bed.
So, did I waste the doctor's and the emergency room's time and resources. Or is the peace of mind of knowing that I am not dying of a heart attach worth it? It was to me. Everybody was so very kind to me.
But I still have the pain two days later. If anything, I am weaker than before. And I'm so tired of being sick.
Does the emergency department send records to a person's family doctor, or can he request them? If I call my doctor's office on Monday and presuming that I can get past the secretary, will he know what is going on? I can't keep living like this.