Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Non-emergency Emergency

I hate the thought of using emergency healthcare when it’s not warranted. It’s such a waste of resources & time that should be saved for real emergencies. Unlike calling 911 to get directions or to complain about Burger King not getting your order right. Or to go to an emergency department for a migraine & then sit for 3 hours on the free phone complaining to your pal about how your boyfriend doesn’t love you & you are pissed because your narcotic patch ran out two months ago & there are kids screaming & how that is so not cool. Lady, what’s not cool is you. If I had a migraine (which I get quite regularly) I certainly wouldn’t be able to talk on a phone, never mind sit in a loud & well-lit waiting room.

Get the impression we checked out some more healthcare? Yup. Within a month of moving down here Doodles & I got sick. We put her in the daycare at the gym for an hour & a half one day & two days later she came down with a cough that she gave to me & which then got worse for both of us. I suspect it turned into bronchitis, at least for me, & it took forever to go away. Then it sort of came back again but not as bad & it coincided with the shots last week, plus what I think is more teething. Anyway she’s been sounding like a mangy tobacco-smoking purring cat for ages now & the past few days there’s been a lot of coughing & hacking that disturbs her sleep & my worry. I asked the person when we got the shots about her possibly having asthma but after a stethoscope listen she said she sounded congested but fine.

Yesterday she got a bit worse & I could hear her wheezing. She sounded tight, congested, phlegmy & her breathing was almost twice her normal rate. Last night when I was nursing her I got Sugar Daddy to take a listen & he wanted to call the doctor. Microsoft Health has a number you can call to get advice & to request an actual house call (I thought those were pretty much obsolete but I guess MS has got the power) so he dialed them up & explained the situation. Upon describing her symptoms they told us to call 911. Huh? We are both asthmatic so we knew she wasn’t that bad. What we were hoping for was a house call or be told to go to the Urgent Care Center (vs. hospital) so we could get her an inhaler with a spacer or nebulizer just in case she got worse. A preventative line of attack. That’s what we requested so they told us they’d get a doctor to give us a call.

He calls & tells us he doesn’t want to prescribe without a definite diagnosis of asthma which he doesn’t feel comfortable making during a home visit. OK That’s cool. Totally understandable. He suggests the urgent care but then calls us back & says they don’t want to do that either & so therefore we should go to the nearest emergency room. Great…. I picture sitting forever in an uncomfortable waiting room filled with a variety of sick people. I picture the sleep disturbed baby not wheezy when we finally get to see a doctor. I picture boredom, frustration & futility.

What I pictured is what we pretty much got despite Sugar Daddy telling me that since we are in America now there won’t be long Canadian style wait times. Two & a half hours after arriving the Doodles gets weighed, temped (where she’s never been temped before the poor, poor thing) & assessed at level 4 because since she’s screaming so much the triage nurse says there’s nothing wrong with her lungs. There’s 5 levels & we are on the second to last so anyone worse that comes in after will be seen before us. One more hour later, during which she dozed off, we finally get called in. A super nice nurse checked her out without waking her, said she wasn’t wheezy & another twenty minutes later the doc comes in & almost does the same. Of course she wakes up when he’s checking her ears, so then he does the rest of the check while she’s half awake & getting upset. He doesn’t want to make a definite diagnosis either since he doesn’t know her history, etc. but he will prescribe an inhaler with a spacer for her that we can use if she gets really wheezy again. So we don’t have to use the emerg unless it’s an emergency. So not so futile in the end but definitely a lot of boredom & frustration felt.

Now we have an inhaler with a spacer & a mask for her which we’ve used twice. She freaking hates having the mask put on her face despite us trying to make the experience as fun as possible. We show her the pictures of the bears on the spacer & tell her she needs some bears in her chest. She’ll play with it & point happily at the bears but as soon as it nears her face she pushes it away & gets pissed off. But, it works. The breathing is smoother, clearer & there’s less purring. Too bad she still has the temper of a mangy cat.


James Perkins said...

Hiya... I cowrote a website on feline asthma (http://www.fritzthebrave.com) and have been active on and off at the Feline Asthma Inhaled Medications page. We use an AeroKat for Fritz, for giving him Flovent and Albuterol. His asthma as mosty well-controlled although he still has occasional symptoms -- but he never needs hospitalization or more than regular veterinary checkups for that. He has diabetes and we're trying to control that now. My google watch found your blog entry, by the way. Feel free to let me know how your little puss is doing, and I wish you best of luck in bringing the wheezing and gurgling under control.

Kind regards, James

jody said...

Has doodles morphed into a feline? Wow! That's one major case of asthma. I look forward to learning about that in class. :)

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