So I still can’t breathe….

7 Feb

I went to a walk in clinic last night, and all she could do was tell me in fractured english that my lungs sounded clear, and I should go to emerg.

Anyone who has been to the armpit knows that sitting in emerg here is just as enthralling as it is anywhere else. I’m hoping that the words “trouble breathing” and “chest tightness” are magical triggers on the triage ladder, but I’m not THAT hopeful.

It’s scary more than anything else. I continually have this sense that I’m suffocating, like something is sitting on my chest. I’m breathing-but deep breaths are impossible to take 9 times of ten, and it’s like being squeezed. I wish I did have a cough. At least then, it would be a cold or pneumonia or something unscary. And not just in my heard. I’m worried that they’ll tell me it’s just in my head, and to deal with it. But hey, I’m equally worried it would be something serious.

Either way, I don’t want to go to emerg. Sitting in a room full of sprained ankles watching old ladies with “heart pain” (heartburn) fly past triage is frustrating. I don’t begrudge real illness, but come on.

What really gets me is that I end up feeling less than human when I’m there. The only times I’ve been treated with anything nearing respect would be if I have a kid with me, or the time I was in there suicidal. Otherwise, you get that look.

Pardon me if the ER is the only place to go, and I’m silly enough to expect health care.

What I’ve always wondered is why there can’t be a place you can go for non emergency problems-small injuries, the flu, etc, and be transferred over to the full “ER” if needs be. Less wait for everyone, less attitude from nurses and doctors. (And seriously-is there a class in medical school titled “Let’s treat the taxpayer like an asshat?)

I really don’t want to go. I’m hoping that having the doctor’s explicit instruction to go will help. But I’m not holding my breath.

heh. I made a funny.


22 Responses to “So I still can’t breathe….”

  1. radical mama February 7, 2008 at 9:11 am #


  2. sweetsalty kate February 7, 2008 at 9:14 am #

    Oh, that SUCKS. You have trouble breathing, and you can’t stop thinking about it, and you panic, which worsens the problem…..

    Hope you can see somebody that can help – today?

  3. Hannah February 7, 2008 at 9:51 am #

    You did make a funny. Good on ya. 😉

    I have no idea what this might be but it kind of makes my chest tight just thinking about it. And I hear you, sitting in emerg can be pretty soul-destroying. I’m not thrilled about the clinic’s answer to your problem, either. If she didn’t even order any tests or anything, they may just send you back to the freakin’ clinic…

    Not be a downer, or anything. Best of luck today, hope you can get this sorted out.

  4. Jen February 7, 2008 at 10:02 am #

    Ugh, I hope the ER is empty and it’s something easy to take care of. I was half comatose when I was in ER the other week and it still sucked.
    Take care of yourself and don’t let them give you shit. Will be thinking fast triage thoughts/nice medical staff for you.

  5. Emily February 7, 2008 at 10:14 am #

    We had an Urgent Care clinic in Chicago when I lived there. It was great for bad colds, etc. when you didn’t really need the ER but you wanted to see a doctor and maybe get some antibiotics or something.

  6. bipolarlawyercook February 7, 2008 at 10:46 am #

    Oy. I know it’s a pain in the ass, but please go anyway! I mean, I just started reading you!

  7. Marcy February 7, 2008 at 11:09 am #

    My two times in the ER with PPD a week after Amy’s birth, the triage nurse was awesome. The psych evaluator was decent the first time, less so the second time, increasing to disgust and contempt by the time I convinced her that yes, I wanted to be admitted.

    The previous time, years ago, I don’t really remember, except that I was in major abdominal pain (turned out to be allergy to a medication) when I arrived, blacked out or almost blacked out after they gave me Demerol for that pain (another allergy, how about that), and got back home in the morning.

    Do they really not have urgent care clinics where you are? And is there really no other option for the doctor to have suggested? I hope you get some expert attention and help soon.

  8. thordora February 7, 2008 at 11:13 am #

    It’s the ER or the walk in clinic I’ve already been to. I could go to my family doctor, but I’d end up being schedualed for tests instead of just getting them.

    It’s one of those problems in the Canadian system…

  9. bromac February 7, 2008 at 11:37 am #

    “What I’ve always wondered is why there can’t be a place you can go for non emergency problems-small injuries, the flu, etc, and be transferred over to the full “ER” if needs be. Less wait for everyone, less attitude from nurses and doctors. ”

    In the US, it’s a walk-in clinic. And there is certainly NOT less wait or less attitude.

  10. sara February 7, 2008 at 12:16 pm #

    go go go

    my mom had been having problems like yours, that she wrote off as nothing, she’s currently in ICU check my blog if you want the whole story but seriously GO.

    I hope your okay

  11. daisybones February 7, 2008 at 12:18 pm #

    That sounds a bit like my asthma. Which is tied to allergies a lot and I tend to forget that. Antihistamines might help in the meantime.

  12. thordora February 7, 2008 at 12:58 pm #

    I already take antihistamines for the itchy hives I get….so I don’t think it’s allergies… 😦 I wish.

  13. Eden February 7, 2008 at 1:01 pm #

    “why there can’t be a place you can go for non emergency problems-small injuries, the flu, etc, and be transferred over to the full “ER” if needs be.”

    Like Emily said, we have urgent care facilities (Hawk worked for one that year in Colorado). Their hours are usually about the same as a doctor’s office, maybe more like 7-7, and sometimes you can find them right in hospitals. When you’re triaged, they might send you to urgent care instead of the ER.

    Canada really need to get something like that in place. Many, many times I’ve heard Hawk (while on call) advise people to get to the urgent care instead of the ER.

    Also your doctor’s office should have openings for “acute visits” — stuff that needs to be taken care of that day. Usually those slots fill up first thing in the morning so that’s probably the time to get the appointment. It’ll probably save you more time in the long run than wasting time sitting in the ER.

  14. Candy February 7, 2008 at 1:36 pm #

    Did you have a cold or something before you got the tight chest/no breathing thing?

    I ask, because this happens to me, but it’s something I’ve only contracted as I’ve gotten older (and overweight). I get a cold, regular ordinary cold, which, when it’s nearly gone, settles into my chest and creates asthma-like conditions. I don’t have asthma generally, just when I get a cold. They put me on Advair (which I’m allergic to now so be careful) and it clears up.

    So don’t panic. But go get it checked out.

  15. bine February 7, 2008 at 2:39 pm #

    i really think this should get looked at again. when did you have your last bad cold? might be there’s some stuff left in your lungs that never wanted out and is causing trouble now. i had that once a few years ago. your description of “like something sitting on your chest” reminded me of that.

  16. thordora February 7, 2008 at 3:00 pm #

    I’m going to the hospital in a little bit. Thankfully, I have a book with me.

    Going to my FMD would be a waste of time, since he’s just send me for tests anyway.

  17. Caitlin February 7, 2008 at 3:10 pm #

    I’ve had urgent care when I lived Dallas and DC. They have it in Louisiana, but it’s a 40 minute ride over a road with ginormous craters. That ride put my dad into needing the emergency room 10 minutes into the trip. I wish they had them closer, since my hometown’s hospital is always packed and understaffed, since it’s the closest in state hospital for most people in my home parish. They’re bad about sticking you in a triage unit and forgetting you, but they have a “100 Best Hospitals” banner on their entrance.

    I have no idea what’s making it so hard to breathe, but I hope you get the good docs and nurses, so they can figure it out quickly.

  18. Eden February 7, 2008 at 11:42 pm #

    What book was it?

  19. thordora February 8, 2008 at 7:38 am #

    The Mallorean, David Eddings. I got the books combined for Xmas (new editions) since I had never actually had any new copies of his books. Perfect hospital reading.

  20. whymommy February 10, 2008 at 2:31 am #

    Oh, I love David Eddings. It’s been so long since I’ve read his books, but I remember how they sucked me in … excellent choice!

  21. George February 11, 2008 at 1:09 am #

    A bit late on the topic, but I’ve been transferring to my new laptop.

    Here in London, the four exisiting hospitals have turned into “London Health Sciences Centre”. Old Victoria, two blocks from me, is closed to the public. University and “New Vic” are gigantic monoliths I want no part of. That leaves St. Josephs. My son was born there 26 years ago. They no longer have emergency, they have “urgent care centre”, which is open from 8:00AM until around 10:00PM.

    Forget about saving on the wait time. I was there last year and waited 4.5 hours. On a previous visit, they referred me to a doctor in the same building. I waited five months to see him.

    I have to admit, most of the staff at St Joe’s is super.

  22. thordora February 11, 2008 at 7:45 am #

    My husband was at the Old Vic when he shattered his wrist. They tried resetting it 3 times-didn’t work. Had to go to London Health anyway…

    I don’t think it matters much where you go-you wait. Sucks. Sucks even more when you have two old people behind you giving a running total of people who went in and left before them, even after someone explains triage to them.

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