Friday, January 28, 2005

Urgent Care

I hate it when I feel like I know more than the doctor. It's unnerving. Sure, I'm a nurse, but I'm not exceptionally well educated. Which is not to put down my education, simply to point out that I'm on the less formally educated end of the nursing spectrum. So, generally I feel that someone with an MD behind his name should have some clue of what they're doing when they step in to examine me.

I went to urgent care with the notion that I would, I don't know, actually be cared for. Maybe even urgently. The service was quick. I give them points for that. I was in and seen in under 15 minutes, a record seldom achieved when I have an appointment. So after explaining my symptoms to a lovely nurse, I was seen by the doctor. "Well, doc, I've been sick for about a week. I'm coughing my lungs up. I hear rattling in my chest. I've been coughing so long it hurts to breath. I wheeze. I can't breathe through my nose. I've got yellow junk in me. I can't sleep because I can't breathe and I wake up every hour. I have a fever that comes and goes. I'M EXHAUSTED!!"

So, the doctor doesn't do any of the things I'm used to doctors doing when I have athsmatic bronchitis. No blowing in that tube thingy, barely even a listen to my chest. Maybe my standards are too high. I learned basic assessment skills from some awesome nurses, and expect more from someone who spent many years and thousands of dollars to receive a medical degree. Silly me. So basically after giving me the most basic of exams he says, "So, would you like antibiotics?" "Hmm...gee, Doc aren't most cases of bronchitis viral?" "Well, yes they are," he replies, "but I can give you antibiotics." And I wonder why I have patients with resistant bacterial strains (MRSA especially). "No, doc, I think I'll pass." I wasn't offered albuterol to help open my constricted airways, he didn't even recommend an over the counter expectorant to help me cough up the junk. "Well, what would you like me to do? Do you want to take a cough suppressant?" he asks. All those years in med school, and he has to ask ME what to do? Cough suppressants aren't good for patients with bronchitis, as you want them to expectorate and not end up with pneumonia! Quack.

At this point I practically broke down in tears. I've turned a number of doctors down with offers of codeine in the past. But now, when I want some, I feel like I'm med seeking because I have to ask. Look, doc, I haven't slept in 3 DAYS. IT HURTS TO BREATHE! I'd like an expectorant with codeine so that the pain subsides enough in my chest that I can sleep and maybe finally cough this junk up! "Oh." he says, "I can give you that!"

So, now I'm going to take my cherritussin with codeine, pop in "Troy" which arrived from netflix, and sip my water while I watch Brad Pitt. Maybe there'll even be a storyline involved. But after the codeine, I might not care anymore.

On a side note, there was an advantage to being sick with the kids. I didn't have energy to keep the house clean, but it wasn't hard. All the kids wanted to do was lay around all day and be sick. Nothing was getting dirty. They've all obviously turned the corner now, as I looked around tonight wondering if someone had exploded a small nuclear device in the living room. Well, off to my plans.

Wish me happy breathing!

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