OY… So yesterday, I wake up and my chest feels tight. Not like anxiety/stress or intuition tight, but asthma attack tight. I’ve been battling a sinus infection so I didn’t really pay much attention to my cough until this morning. I had to go up to Nowheresville and finish cleaning out one of our storage units today; this was the only day in had a sitter for the kids, it had to be done no matter what. I decided to call my doctor in route and see if I needed an appointment or just a prescription refill for my inhalers and how to proceed from there with treatment, diagnosis whatever.
Since I was only officially diagnosed with pregnancy induced asthma, after the Twins were born I waited about a month and discontinued my treatment. The Twins will be eight months old on Monday (ALREADY WTF HAPPENED TO TIME?! Lol) and up until today I haven’t had any asthma related issues at all. I mean, I’ve been running regularly up until we moved for like two months. You would think any underlying pulmonary problems would have made themselves known before right now, but… They didn’t for whatever reason.
So I called my doctor at about 1pm, and went about my usual business. I was pretty short of breath and starting to get light headed, but I was confident if I could get my inhaler prescription squared away everything would be okay. I wasn’t coughing or really STRUGGLING to breath per say, as much as it was more of struggling to get a FULL deep breath. Kind of that short shallow automatic stress response thing your body does? That’s kind of what it felt like.
So I hauled everything out of the storage unit reorganized it, took a few car loads of stuff to various places, and loaded up the car to go home. In the heat, during an asthma attack. Not one of my better ideas I’m sure, but I survived. I stopped at McDonald’s to get an ice water and cool off a bit before decided I was done waiting for my doctor to call and headed in to the local ER. It wasn’t quite to the emergency threshold at that moment, but I knew if I didn’t get treatment soon I would be in trouble.
I had a fairly decent drive ahead of me back to the apartment and didn’t want to pass out or anything crazy on the road so… ER was my only option after not hearing from the doctor. I walk in and write down on my intake form: asthma attack, no access to inhalers. Which is exactly what I felt that I was experiencing. Last time I felt that way, I was diagnosed with asthma, so… 1+1=2 right? I get through triage pretty quickly; then the doctor comes in.
She listens to my lungs and goes through her schpeil; then looks at me and says: “well, it doesn’t sound like your lungs. So with the rest of your symptoms, elevated heart rate, shortness of breath, light headed, it could be a heart attack, or a blood clot. Let’s get you an EKG, chest X-ray, and some blood work. I guess we can order a breathing treatment too, but I doubt it will help. Have you ever been diagnosed with cancer?”
Like, no joke. That’s what this doctor says to me. Deadpan, straight faced, like she delivered this news to millions of people every day. I don’t think it’s asthma, it’s your heart or CANCER. Because that makes so much more sense in an otherwise healthy, athletic, 30yr old, Caucasian non-smoking female, as opposed to a pre existing asthma condition that’s been untreated for six months or so flaring up. It’s CANCER.
Two hours later, after a chest X-ray, EKG, bag of saline (that I didn’t really need but hey why not?) and the begrudgely issued breathing treatment I was feeling better. My heart rate slowed, o2 levels rose from 94% to 98%, and omg my lungs relaxed and produced an asthmatic wheeze! So when the doctor made her rounds and checked my lungs again she says: “huh, well all of your other tests came back fine, and I guess sometimes asthmatics can be so seized up when they get here they don’t issue the typical wheezing. It’s just really weird. You definitely have atypical symptoms. You need to see a Pulmonologist. To make sure there isn’t cancer or something else going on.”
Again with the cancer… This doctor was like the WebMD of ER doctors, I swear. Blood work was normal, chest X Rays were normal, but there could STILL BE SOME CANCER HIDING SOMEWHERE. Which is technically true. I’m sure with the amount of X-rays I’ve endured for various things recently I have an elevated risk right now, but damn doc. Slow down there for a second. Can I just get my inhaler now and worry about my impending potential cancer later?
She did prescribe me some temporary inhalers, I was finally able to get a hold of my doctor and he refilled my primary prescriptions, so I’m good now. It just turned into a whole freakin thing. If I went there and didn’t know what was wrong they would have handed me a prescription and sent me on my way. Show up with an idea of what’s bothering me, and I must be wrong because I’m not a highly educated medical professional. I am not a fan of a lot of American’s medical professionals at this point…
I love my doctors, I love my kids’ doctors, but beyond that I have rarely had a good chance encounter random experience in a long time. I’m not a doctor, so I keep seeking out their advice, but it gets really hard when egos supercede patient care. The confident doctors are awesome, and easy to work with. The rest, not so much.
Which is why I’m not going to make a follow up with the Pulmonologist on staff in Nowheresville… And not because his name is Dr. ChooChoo (not spelled that way, but that’s how it’s pronounced. I kid you not) but because I trust my doctor to provide the best care when his staff delivers his phone messages anyway.