Cough, Hack, Cough, Wheeze

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post.

Thank you for your kind comments and encouragement to make that phone call.  Being reluctant to drive into town and be told, “You have a cold,” I phoned the doctor least likely to ask to see me.

It made sense to stick with the same doctor for worsening of symptoms that had already been discussed, so I called my rheumatologist’s office.  She was already aware of the cough since I saw her last week.  I left a message, and when I finally got a call back, the answer was:

  • skip the Enbrel injection
  • keep taking the methotrexate
  • phone PCP

It was nearly 5:00 when the call came through, so I couldn’t phone my PCP.  That will have to wait until tomorrow, and there are two problems with tomorrow.

First, my PCP doesn’t work on Wednesdays.  At least, that’s the official story.  He phoned me a couple weeks ago on a Wednesday, so he was working then.  I’ve seen him standing in his office on Wednesdays, wearing blue jeans, catching up on paperwork.  He does work on Wednesdays; he just doesn’t schedule patients (pretty good time management, if you ask me – which you didn’t).  In any event, I’m supposed to call but my PCP won’t be available.

Another problem is that I don’t have a really good track record of phoning the doctor’s office.  Their hours and my hours do not mesh.  I would have forgotten this morning, despite the coughing, because I was trying to get things done.  But I kept getting email notices popping up on my screen with you wonderful people encouraging me to call my doctor, so I finally did.

This might sound small, but it is a huge issue.  It can take months between the time I say that I need to phone and when I actually place the call.  I get up early and my day is well underway by the time my doctor’s office is answering their phone – by then I’m involved in other activities and lose track of time.  I forget about making telephone calls until I take a break for lunch.  At that time, my doctor’s office is also taking a break for lunch.  Then I’m busy again until I collapse in the evening (when they’re closed).  If I could send email, it would be so nice.  I could drop them a quick note now, and they could respond at their convenience.  Lacking email, I’m trying a sticky-note in the center of my computer screen to see if that will be an effective reminder that I need to make a phone call in the morning.

Third (yes, I know I said two reasons, but I thought of another one), I don’t even remember now why I’m supposed to call.  To tell him that I’m skipping this week’s dose of a medicine that a different doctor prescribed?  That seems kinda weird, but I think that’s what the rheumy said to do.

I’ll report back again after I’ve talked to my PCP’s office.
Thank you again.

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11 thoughts on “Cough, Hack, Cough, Wheeze

  1. As a family physician, I read the Rheumatologist comment as “call your personal physician for an appointment” (unless your personal physician doesn’t value what they do as medical practice and you as a patient- then the comment might be interpreted as call your personal physician for non-medical non-care, like something called in without getting a medical history and a medical examination of parts under consideration, i.e. third rate illness care). If the rheumatologist values the powerful nature of medicines and medical practice, she wants you to receive that power from a physician who uses it daily in a relationship-based way.
    A lot of primary care is about validation, relationship and power. All of it is scarce and valuable. Many persons know that and benefit from it like a precious jewel. Honor and admire it and it lasts. Diss it and devalue it and it dies.

  2. Your reasons are exactly why it takes me months between when I say I am going to call and when I do also. I like the post it note idea. I used that once and it worked. Hopefully you made the call. Although I know what you mean about then forgetting what you are even supposed to be calling for…because maybe you never really understood in the first place why you would call your primary doctor for this if the other doctor already talked to you. But what Dr. Synonymous said makes a lot of sense.

  3. Yes, our schedule at home works the same way. It’s why I still need to call the piano teacher after three days of meaning to: our schedules don’t match up.

    I find it interesting that your doctor said no to the Enbrel, but to continue the methotrexate. Mine says the opposite when I’m sick: continue the shots, discontinue the mtx. I found out the hard way that, for me, keeping up the mtx when I’m sick leads to much more sickness than dropping it for the week.

  4. Is there some reason you can’t call your PCP’s office today and leave a message about your situation, Socks? They may not be able to schedule an appointment or see you today, but you’ll at least have a jump on a call-back tomorrow. I’m with Mary — I think your rheumatologist wants you to see your PCP so a diagnosis can be made regarding that cough and your other symptoms, and perhaps get busy treating it before it gets worse and turns into something serious.

    Call today. Leave a message. What can it hurt?

    Thinking of you, my friend. Slow down a bit today and take care of yourself, okay?

  5. Thank you :)

    This morning I have canned some applesauce, cleaned the oven, baked a loaf of bread, graded yesterday’s schoolwork, reminded my daughter how to divide a trinomial by a binomial, helped two children with RoyalRangers merit badges, ordered my prescription refills, fed my ducks and gathered eggs, and finally it was late enough to PHONE MY PCP. I have an appointment tomorrow morning.

    Now to go see why my 8yo is playing with hotwheels instead of doing his schoolwork.

  6. Socks: I would hate to see how much energy you have when you’re NOT sick! We all feel better knowing you’re going to see your PCP — and I’m sure your rheumy wanted him to check your cough and other symptoms. Hopefully it is nothing, but [most of us] are not 18 anymore and can’t bounce back like we used to with just two aspirin and a nap. And on the drugs we take, something simple can become something awful very quickly. Please keep us posted and thank you for making the appointment.

    • I feel lousy no matter what I do, so I figure that I might as well get something accomplished.

      When I typed that list I realized it looked like more than I’ve really done. My kids made applesauce last night, so all I needed to do was ladle it into jars & set them in the water bath. The oven has a self-cleaning cycle (I just have to schedule four hours that we can go without the oven). I have a bread machine, so just had to measure ingredients and press the “start” button. And I’m pretty wiped out – I’m hoping to take a nap this afternoon.

      • I was getting tired just reading you list of completed jobs. Your right though, life must go on whether you feel well or not so may as well do what needs to be done. Hope you feel better soon.

  7. I am not feeling either. Sneezing, coughing up a storm, watery eyes, wish I was in bed – you name it. I know what you mean about sending an email but patients would bombard doctors and that is we are not given email addresses. If you are feeling better, forget the PCP and continue working towards feeling even better. Get some rest, some more rest, and even more rest.

  8. A trinomial by a binomial?? I’m sick just thinking about that!!

    Can’t wait to hear what your doctor says and hope you feel better soon.
    :) L

    P.S. Naps are alwaaaays good!

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