How do you decide when to go to urgent care?

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    • #15443
      Kathleen Sheffer

      Hey everyone! I’ve been on vacation visiting my boyfriend’s parents and friends in the midwest.

      Unfortunately I felt a cold coming on right before I left. My transplant team expects me to do a nasal swab right away to test for flu and other viral infections. I did this before I left and it came back negative, but my cold continued to worsen.

      On New Year’s Eve I called the after hours emergency line for my clinic to see what could be done because I was feeling so terrible. My cold symptoms were always much worse when I had pulmonary hypertension, but I’d never felt so bad since my transplant and I started to worry.

      The doctor recommended I go to urgent care to repeat the nasal swab and get a chest x-ray and sputum culture. Not what I wanted to hear. (I was hoping he’d prescribe Mucinex or something!) My friends and I had New Year’s Eve dinner scheduled and didn’t want to spoil the holiday. I texted my parents to see what they thought. “I’m not wheezing! My O2 saturation is 99!” As I expected (and dreaded), my Dad told me to go get the tests, “before the ER fills with drunks.”

      So, at 4pm on December 31, my boyfriend and I entered the emergency room, facing an onslaught of audibly sick people and long wait times. I worried we would miss dinner. When my boyfriend told me he would kiss me at midnight no matter where we were, I relaxed.

      Luckily, we made it out of the ER in 3 hours (a record, probably!). The nasal swab confirmed what I had expected: I had the common cold—coronavirus—and everything else looked good. We made it to dinner with 15 minutes to dress. I joked that the ER doctor told me to “drink lots,” as my friends ordered cocktails (I stuck with soda).

      As I predicted, I would have been better off staying home on the couch drinking juice and resting. Even though it was not how I wanted to spend my vacation with my boyfriend, I’m so glad we went. Had I not gone, I would have worried I made a mistake going against the doctor’s recommendations. Now that I have a diagnosis, I can let go of anxiety about my cold.

      So often I have found myself with this dilemma: stay home and rest and hope I feel better, or go to urgent care to make sure it’s not something worse than I think. I know my body really well, but I’m not a doctor. My dad is a registered nurse and has been caring for me all my life so I generally defer to him. When my parents and my doctor want me to go, I go (when I was younger my parents would just drag me to the hospital themselves).

      Have you been in this position? How do you decide when to go to urgent care? Have you ever gone against a doctor’s recommendations and trusted your own judgment? How do your caregivers impact your decision?

      As a caregiver, how do you help the patient(s) you care for make the right decision?

      I’m so grateful to my parents and my boyfriend for putting my health first, even when I don’t want to!

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Kathleen Sheffer.
      • This topic was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Marta Ribeiro.
      • This topic was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Marta Ribeiro.
      • This topic was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Kathleen Sheffer. Reason: My mom texted me about a typo
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