I visited my old haunt yesterday. Yep, the ER! It wasn't for myself, though. It was for my dear hubby who awoke in the morning with a terrible pain in his side and difficulty breathing because of the pain. It obviously wasn't something we were going to take our time on, given the potential seriousness of the symptoms, so I decided to call an ambulance. And off he went to get checked out.
We have been to this ER so many times in the last 10 years for both his health issues and mine. You'd think I might break down and become all emotional at the sight of this place, but it's as though God has coated my heart with Teflon. I walked through the halls of the ER yesterday looking at the area where I lay a year and a half ago plagued by Lyme symptoms, but where the doctor suspected that I might be a drug addict, based on my symptoms!!! I walked past the CT room, and remembered getting wheeled there to have my brain imaged. Nothing showed up on the scan, by the way. I had Lyme, not a tumour. Honestly, I am amazed at how I was able to keep it all together yesterday.
But I digress. Back to my husband....
He got into Emerg quickly, thanks to the ambulance. They bring patients through the "back door", you know, and the service is somewhat better than having to go through triage in the waiting room area. Because the pain was at the side of his chest, I figured that he would be assessed quickly, and he was. Great! Blood work done, chest x-ray done, EKG done, CT scan ordered. They were checking for heart issues or a blood clot in the lung.
And the results?
Everything came back FINE! Yes....FINE! Of course I was very happy; who wouldn't be? But it left us with questions: What about the pain? What's causing this? What do we do now? They didn't look into it any further, though. He was sent home in pain, and told to focus on symptomatic relief by taking pain killers, etc.
This is where I think the system needs improvement. At this point, just like when I came to Emerg last year with my weird Lyme symptoms, the doctors need to go just one step further and organize a plan for the problem to get resolved. Perhaps a referral to a specialist. I don't know. But it truly felt strange for my husband to come home yesterday, still in pain, and having to figure out on his own what to do next. He got on the internet to do some research about the medications he's on, and he called his neurologist to set up an appointment. Why, might I ask, is HE the one doing this? Where is the continuity of care? Is there just not enough money in the health care pot to fund the job to its proper completion?
Sad. And frustrating. And with an aging population and the financial problems of our universal health care system, this situation is unlikely to change anytime soon.