Health, injuries, aches and pains: when mom needs medical assistance

I did something dumb yesterday.

No, let me try this again. I made a decision that didn’t please some of my family, at first, but in hindsight maybe I should have presented it differently.

Does this many any sense? I’m learning, very slowly it seems, that how one communicates is as important as the actually message being communicated.

It all started with a hospital visit.

Let’s backtrack a little. Tuesday was the one day of the week we had open. No one had to be anywhere and we didn’t have any plans. So we decided to head east of the city in late morning and visit the Canadian Automotive Museum.

Everyone likes cars, and this little museum had a great collection of old, restored cars, and an entire second floor dedicated to Canadian cars, some made by manufacturers I’ve never even heard of before (and are obviously out of business today). Fascinating, the history of car making…

So I’m walking along reading the signs, inspecting the cars, and suddenly my right eye feels very itchy.

I’m always itchy. I have eczema on my wrists and a few other spots, which I’ve mostly controlled through diet, and specialized lotions as well as antihistamines taken both orally or as eye drops.

I did not bring eye drops with me. I usually do…but I expected to be mostly indoors so I left the drops at home.

I also left my distance vision glasses at home. I wear contact lenses and have done so since I was 21 years old, and for the most part I’ve never had an issue.

Well the itch in my eye grew worse and worse. The contact lens was moving around, bothering me a bit.

I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror.

Not good.

Not only did my eye look red and itchy in one spot, the bottom right area looked yellow and puffy.

I washed my hands and took my contact lens out of my right eye. I kicked myself for not bringing a container and saline solution (but then, I’ve had contacts for 20+ years and I’ve never carried such items before…)

I told the family I needed to go to a drug store and purchase some. Which we did. We not only got the little container and saline solution, we also got antihistamine eye drops and another, thicker kind, that promised to be soothing.

Then I spoke to the pharmacist.

“You should get that checked out”, she said and directed us to the local walk-in clinic.

Five minutes later, and with the anti-itch drops already in my eye, we spoke to a nurse about my situation.

“That’s one nasty scratch you have”, he said.

Oh.

He told us to go to the hospital ten minutes east of the clinic and have it officially looked at, maybe get antibiotic drops to help heal it.

Fine.

We drove over. While I was in the car I took out the other contact lens as well, and put my non-prescription sunglasses back on. My eyes were both itchy and red, the right one actually felt scratched every time I moved my eyes, or blinked.

I kept wondering, how did I scratch myself to get such an injury? Only thing I could think of was that some dust spec must have entered my eye at some point, and scratched my eyeball when I had my hands on my eyes.

Itchy eyes are very uncomfortable, but not really painful.

Because my distance vision is now especially blurry and not having contacts or glasses with me, my sweet daughter took my hand and we walked to the triage of the emergency section of the hospital. We waited to see the triage nurse for about 10 minutes, then went through the standard analysis. Registration was required since we had never been in that hospital, so we waited some more, then registered with a clerk who only had about half the brain cells of a normal person, and then we got moved into another waiting room, and we waited some more.

After more than an hour and a half a nurse called me over and told me to read the eye chart.

“I can’t see anything further than about a foot away”, I told her. “I took my contacts out and I don’t have my glasses on hand. I need someone to look at the scratch on my eye.”

“Oh.” She said.

They didn’t look at my eye. They were still doing the preliminary analysis.

She sent me back to the waiting room.

We waited again.

I thought, at least by now, the ball was rolling. My chart was being filled up with info and since I didn’t do the eye test, I was probably marked down as ‘failed’. I mean, I said I can’t see, what else can I say?

We sat some more.

The kids were great even though after the second hour, they were both getting a little bored. My son’s phone had died a week earlier and my daughter played with mine for a bit, and I just sat there and tried not to move my eyes.

The itch reduced quite a bit. Not moving my eyes, keeping the sunglasses on, and just ‘resting’ seemed to help, as did the anti-itch eye drops.

While we waited, there were three people already in the room. Several more came in after us. We all sat and waited.

There was an old People’s magazine in the room and nothing else.

The other patients, each and every one of them, got called in first. Ahead of us. Who had been waiting over two hours now.

No one was bleeding or had any physical symptoms that I could see, but as these things go in an emergency situation, they analyze by urgency.

It appeared that my situation was moved lower and lower on the priority list with each new patient entering the system. I was not an urgent case compared to the other patients.

I looked at the husband. He was reading his phone. I said that I was getting tired of waiting, and he said to be patient.

I took my sunglasses off and asked one of the kids to help me find a bathroom.

“Your eye looks much better”, my son said and left in search of the loo.

“The swelling isn’t as bad now mommy”, my girl said and even my husband checked the progress.

“Do you think we need to keep waiting here?” I asked him. “I’d rather just go to my own doctor later, or tomorrow.”

There was a bit of a tense moment. I think having waited this long, to him, I was already in the system, might as well get it over with.

To me, my situation wasn’t getting worse, I was not in pain, my vision did not reduce or give me any other alerts that things were deteriorating, and frankly, I was sick of sitting in that room.

“Let’s just go”, I told him. “You can call our doctor for me tomorrow and we’ll have it checked out.”

He was not pleased, but didn’t argue.

It was very uncomfortable for me, to be so insecure about a decision I made about my health and feeling like maybe it was the wrong one.

But, I’ve had eye issues for two decades, along with other medical problems, and I think ultimately I’m a pretty good judge of these types of scenarios. Ultimately, if an infection was imminent it would have presented itself with a variety of symptoms, like more swelling, spots on my eyes, headache, blisters or pus, who knows what.

But the opposite was true. My eye was ‘resting’ for over two hours in that stupid waiting room and likely ‘healed’ itself enough to avoid the above scenario.

I assured myself, and my partner, that I still wanted to get checked out, but it could wait till tomorrow at our private clinic. Where wait times were less than 10 minutes every time.

“Fine”, he said. And we finally left.

But all night, and while typing this out today, I struggled with this decision. Was it the right one? What if I had been next, right after we left? Or, what if I had sat there for another two, three hours?

I struggle with my insecurities. When I told him I wanted to leave since it doesn’t look like I’m a very high priority patient, his impatience with me was evident. And on some level, I guess I get it.

I thought about it and thought that if this had happened to a kid of mine, I would not have left, I would have endured.

But, in my own situation, I self-analyzed and made a decision based on years of experience with my own medical situations, not to mention my eye issues. I am no amateur and yes, although one could say that I tend to occasionally under-estimate my health problems (colds, aches and pains) if I deemed it serious enough I do the right thing. Usually.

I’m just not one to run to the doctor for every little thing.

At the time we decided to go to the hospital my eye was quite symptomatic. The scratch caused swelling and tears and I was afraid I would infect it with rubbing or whatever. But after several hours of waiting and nothing happening, the swelling went away and so did most of the itch. I still feel a slight discomfort now, as I blink, but nothing unfamiliar to me.

So was it the right decision to leave the hospital without waiting to be seen?

I guess we’ll never know now.

What do you think? Would you have endured, anticipating another hour or more of waiting? Or would you have left like I did and made an appointment with your own doctor the next day?

 

 

 

 

 

26 thoughts on “Health, injuries, aches and pains: when mom needs medical assistance

    1. Us too, here in the province of Ontario, we have coverage for most services. I show my health card and am provided with most services. There are problems, but nothing like what our American friends experience. It really is amazing that an advanced country like the USA have such unfortunate health care and so many issues.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh my goodness! What an ordeal! I LOATHE emergency rooms. I have had to go and been in SEVERE pain and waited HOURS. It’s beyond ridiculous. But if you felt like things were easing up, I’d have probably done the same thing you did by going home and waiting to go to your regular clinic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On July 13th (Friday the 13th) at 2 am I scratched my eye in my sleep and lodged some foreign object in it and it progressively got worse. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get relief, even closing my eye hurt. So at 12:30 pm I called the eye doctor and went in for an emergency appointment. He did all the exams, and then put a numbing drop in the eye, flipped my lid up, and used a q-tip to remove the debris. He told me I had a small corneal abrasion from the object(s) – yes 3 were in there (WTH?). And it felt AWESOME to have it removed. Like he removed a boulder of glass from my eye! He prescribed moisturizing drops and antibiotics and within a week the abrasion healed and all is well. A person’s vision isn’t something to mess with – just my opinion, but like you said you know your body best!! Hope your eye continues to heal and get better!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would have been calling my primary care provider for the affected body part and scheduling an appointment for the next day
    While I was driving to my favorite milkshake place instead of waiting in hospital
    Those of us with chronic illness or chronic pain know our bodies, we know when something is wrong and we know when something is badly wrong.
    I can’t tell you how many injuries I didn’t file a worker’s comp claim on when I was a stagehand. Some were so bad that the company paid me to sit on my ass for a few days, but I know my body enough to know the doctor couldn’t do anything that I didn’t already have a prescription for. Don’t second guess yourself about your health; and don’t ket your husband’s reaction get in your head too much. He will be okay in the end😉😙

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I likely would have left, too, given the improvement in your eye.

    But I probably would not have gone to the ER in the first place because of the reasons cited by mrsmotherdirt in her comment. Last spring, when I broke my shoulder at the HOSPITAL, while on my way to donate blood there, I opted to walk across campus to the urgent care clinic rather than go to the much closer ER. I made that choice for one reason: cost. I pay $1,000/month for health insurance and have a $3,600 deductible. Therefore, although, I have health insurance, I cannot afford medical care unless it’s absolutely necessary (as in my broken wrist and subsequent surgery this summer).

    I hope your eye is improving. You made the right decision for yourself, knowing your body better than anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard about the health care system in the US. It’s amazing how outrageous and expensive the entire thing is. We hear a lot about the American system in Canada. Ours is far from perfect but we definitely have several advantages to be thankful for.
      Sigh….

      Like

      1. Yes, I do. And we pay an additional $500/month for my husband’s health insurance. His employer pays only half of his $1,000/month premium. So in total, we pay $1,500/month for health insurance. We each have $3,600 deductibles. That sucks away a big portion of our modest income. We don’t take vacations (of any significance) and the 1970s era kitchen I’d like to update will never be updated. There simply is no money left for extras like that. The healthcare system is broken when a couple in their early sixties is paying $1,500/month for health insurance and then can’t afford to go to the doctor because of the high deductible.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, here is the U.S. the emergency room is avoided at all cost if you have insurance. The prices are outrageous so unless I may actually be in danger of death (heart attack, hemorrhage, gunshot, broken bone, can’t breathe, etc…), I would wait and see my doctor. I think what you are struggling with is prioritizing your own needs. Wives/moms are so busy caring for everyone else, it can feel selfish to take the time to get checked out while the entire family waits. A healthy family needs a healthy mom. Prioritizing yourself is a good example to set for your daughter. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No, probably not. 🙂 But it is something to think about. Let them know when your appointment is and what the doctor says so they know you followed through. Talk to them about self-care and how we all need it, but sometimes struggle to find a balance. BTW, I am glad your eye is feeling better!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I love your blog and your writing and the things you write about and struggle with many of the same issues. And I think you absolutely made the right decision. I would have done the same.
    I hope your eye continues to heal up just fine. (But if not, go to your doctor!)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tough call. I tend to push things off till they’re bad….(mom martyr system) but after my recent pneumonia, I don’t think I’ll be doing that anymore….hope you’re feeling better though!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think you have great patience, I would have been up at the desk asking for updates, and would probably have walked out sooner if they couldn’t give me an estimated wait time. You’ll never know how long you would have waited, so don’t beat yourself up about it.

    Liked by 1 person

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