My Latest ER Visit
Recently I found myself in the ER simply because I couldn’t breathe. It felt as if an elephant were sitting on my chest squeezing the very life out of me. My chest felt like a thousand pins were being stuck into it, one sharp edge at a time.
Deep breathing was out of the question, and panting only made matters worse. Well, the panting wasn’t the only thing that made matters worse. The face band-aid called a mask didn’t make matters any better either.
One of the most challenging things to do while experiencing shortness of breath is trying to breathe with a mask on. It’s damn near impossible. Nevertheless, we wear the mask.
Once I was able to get over the mask debacle, I had to deal with the following line of questions: Do you have Covid-19? No. Have you been around anyone who has had Covid-19? No.
After the Covid-19 line of questions was answered, the real tests began. Blood tests, MRIs, CAT scans, X-rays only for the doctor to come back and say they had to check my blood every six hours to make sure my troponin levels were fine.
So after several blood tests were taken, the verdict was in, and I wasn't having a heart attack, thank God. However, I was told that I have yet another underlying lung disease and that my heart is enlarging, the latter of which I already knew. As disturbing as the news was, I was grateful that it wasn't even worse.
The news didn't change my breathing situation; however, it did put my mind at ease. It’s funny how in this age of Covid-19, all breathing issues are linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, but when the results are in and it isn’t Covid-19, and it’s a heart issue, it’s as if the entire matter is dismissed, and you’re referred back to your general practitioner.
Have we come to the medical POV where if it’s not Covid-19 and you have metastatic breast cancer, your breathing woes are deemed null and void? Not being able to breathe with a sidekick called severe chest pains can prove to be very alarming, to say the least.
So they kept me in the hospital much longer than my liking, gave me some fluids and antibiotics, and sent me on my merry little way. Two days later I received a call from an unknown number. Since they called twice, I answered. On the other end of the phone was the ER doctor calling to check in on me. I was shocked and amazed.
He said that as badly as he knew that I felt, I was still a model patient and that I was kind and funny and should consider a career in stand-up. He also informed me that if my breathing wasn’t any better then I could come back in or that he or a nurse could stop by.
My thoughts immediately were transported back to the days when doctors made house calls. Could we be headed back in that direction? If so could this be a great thing or one of concern?
Checking on your patients
Well, since that visit, my new doctor friend has checked in at least twice a week. Who knows, maybe he’s too new to treat patients as numbers. Maybe he got into the profession because he really does want to make a difference or maybe because he really does care about the welfare of others. Whatever the case, his genuine concern has made it a bit easier for me to breathe.
Caregivers: Do you practice self-care?