One thing I like about taking my daughter to Children’s is that at the end of the appointment we’re handed a piece of paper summarizing what we’ve been told.

It’s a bit frustrating, though, to look back at the paper to discover that what seemed to make perfect sense at the time, now isn’t quite as clear.  Three weeks ago, “Call if the pain gets worse,” seemed pretty straightforward.  Now it’s not.

Worse than what?

  • Worse than it was at that appointment?
  • Worse than before starting a daily rx NSAID?
  • Worse than it was before starting PT?
  • Worse than usual but not as bad as it sometimes gets?
  • Always worse, or sometimes worse?

This is so *$%& frustrating!

This morning my daughter took her usual NSAID, then added 1000mg of acetaminophen and tossed a couple rice bags in the microwave so she could put some heat on her hips.  The pain is bad enough that she cancelled her horseback riding lesson.

I don’t know if this qualifies as being worth a phone call to the doctor.  The pain is definitely worse than it was at her last appointment.  She’s back to where she was before starting the NSAID – but she’s not vomiting from the pain.

To call or not to call.  That is the question.

For now, I’m going to wait.  I have a prescription for a different NSAID, so we’ll see if switching makes a difference.  I doubt it, but we’ll try the obvious things, first.  She’ll resume the PT exercises that she’d been told she could discontinue; maybe that will help.  Heat definitely lessens the pain.

And next time I’ll try to view those instructions through my crystal ball.


8 thoughts on “Ambiguity

  1. O.K…I think you should e-mail the doctor your list of pain questions and see what they say. First of all I think it would make them laugh :). Second, if I had to cancel something because of my pain I would be calling…because when I have sufficient pain control I can always (well except for the absolutely killer migraine) continue with normal life. So this might not be possible for everyone…but I would hope it would be for your daughter!


  2. I have to say I’m with Melissa on this one…after all, it’s not like she’s cancelling school, it’s horseback riding!!!!

    If my niece cancelled her horseback riding, we’d know she was practically dying, since nothing, but nothing, keeps her away from her beloved horses!

    🙂 L

  3. Oh, my. Count my vote as well. Even if it may not be WORSE, the pain is certainly NOT better (which it should be), and as you pointed out so well in an earlier post, if you’re not getting the results you expect, go back to see your doctor. They can make the best decision on the next steps on the treatment plan. (Obviously the first step of an NSAID didn’t work.) And (I hate to point this out) the PT exercises might hurt worse than they’ll help at this point. Better to get the inflammation (or whatever the cause of the pain is) under control first. As badly as she hates needles, the answer might be a steroid shot to accelerate the relief — or perhaps a prednisone taper to help settle things down. You have nothing to lose by calling the doctor’s office and everything to gain at this point.
    I hope she gets to feeling better. All the best.

  4. I’d call and make an appointment. If you speak to a nurse or someone at the doctors office they will tell you if an appointment is appropriate.

    Never doubt your gut. It’s better to go in for reassurance than it is to just sit and wonder.


    It’s so hard to be a mom!



    Tori – thank you. I’d rather be sick than see my kids sick; you know how that is.

    Melissa – She’s learned that when she’s not feeling well, that’s when she gets hurt by the horse; much safer to wait. We homeschool, so the kids need to be sick enough that they sleep all day to get out of schoolwork 🙂

    Laurie – Yep, she felt pretty miserable yesterday. She’s feeling better today – enough that she helped stack firewood.

    Carla – I’ve wondered about a quick pred taper for her, and might ask (although I hate to sound like I’m making suggestions to a doctor who obviously knows tons more about all this than I ever will).

    Melissa – At my pcp’s office, the standard response is, “If it concerns you enough to call about it, then you should come in to be seen.” I don’t know what dd’s rheumy will say.

  6. Yes, this ambiguity is maddening. And we ALL face it, Socks. Sometimes “worse” is obvious, of course, but not always. I hope the alternative NSAID will relieve your daughter’s pain and you’ll not have to call the doc. What a conundrum. Sending hugs your way…

  7. Pingback: Who’s The Patient? « ∞ itis

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