The last few days I’ve been silent, because something literally had me by the throat.
And last night was the ‘on the edge’ moment for urgent care, leaning into a medical emergency really quickly.
Have you ever had the life-threatening experience of a quinsy, or known someone who has?
I’ve had two rather dramatic experiences in the past, where my throat closed up fast (one of them I couldn’t even talk to personally call the ambulance), which ended up with two seperate occasions with Priority 1’s as a patient to hospital for emergency care.
That was 10 years ago.
So when I started to feel a scratchy throat come on Wednesday night, and get more sore by Thursday, as well as an insatiable need to sleep 😴 I just gave myself the day off and rested. I slept 17 hours!
Then Friday (yesterday) I was dosed up on Panadol (Tylenol) and cepacaine for my throat so at first thought, oh it’s a bit better. But I was still beyond tired as tired could be.
I slept, this time on the couch, with the sunshine pouring through the window, kissing me on the skin. Another 6 hours of day sleep (now a total 31 hours of the past 42!).
I started to realise something was wrong. And I prayed for guidance. In a flash, I saw my past experience of the medical emergencies when I was struggling to breathe from the Quinsey’s.
I thought “oh no!”
So I checked my throat with a light. And it didn’t look good.
Promptly, I called my medical centre, but they couldn’t fit me on. They told me to call their sister centre nearby. So I did, but they too were fully booked before closing time.
I had faith that I needed to see a Doctor urgently, and would get in somewhere quickly (without having to go to the hospital) to get on antibiotics and get on top of this before it needed to go to lancing it. (It’s such a horrible experience by the way, having a doctor put a scalpel down your throat while you’re awake and struggling to breath or swallow).
I told the receptionist at the sister medical centre that I was in a bit of trouble, and shared what was going on and my medical history. She referred me to St John Urgent Care.
It’s a walk in. So I pulled myself together with all the energy I could muster and headed there.
I was not well, but I was equally uncomfortable going to see a Doctor. I’m from the medical world, and both personally and professionally I’ve experienced both good care and really bad care. So I lean to natural health as much as possible. I also honour that there is a time and place for the medical model.
I was calmed immediately when I met the reception staff. Almost all of them at this centre are part-time and run their own natural health businesses. I felt at ease immediately with them and when I said I was nervous at the idea of possibly being subjected to a [c][v][v][a][x] she smiled and shook her head and whispered “no, you won’t and so many of us don’t encourage it anyway!” I felt a sense of relief and knew I was in the right place.
Then I was brought in for triage about 20 mins after waiting. The nurse was all flashy polite smiles but dismissive and flippant as I know some medical staff can tend to be after years of being in the job, and sometimes losing sight and connection of LISTENING to a patient without imposing their general experience onto you.
I told her my medical history of having quinsy’s with priority 1’s to hospital for emergency treatment, and I’m red flagged in the system for urgent care if it happens again, but that I want to avoid hospital and that needed AB’s asap.
She said “how long ago was that?”
Me: “ten years, 2011”
Nurse: she waved it off with “oh that was ten years ago”
Then she said: “have you had a fever?”
Me: “I know I cracked a big one last night, I woke up with my bed soaking wet.”
Her: “What was your temperature?”
Me: “I didn’t take it, I was too dazed and tired.”
Her: “Well, likely not a temperature, unless you take a reading, it could be pre-menopause. I have those night sweats all the time.” Then looked down at me like I was some silly little thing.
Me: “I get that. I’m also an ex-paramedic, and an expert with my own body. I’m not well.”
Her: “Okay, we’ll put you in the waiting room again and call you in when we’re ready.”
So she sent me on my way out of the medical bay, back to sit in the waiting room.
This is where you see me sitting, feeling a bit concerned because I could feel my body letting me know, “giiiiiiiiiiiiirl if you don’t get this sorted you’re gonna have a fast ride in the white and green bus again.”
So I focused my attention during the next HOUR of waiting on visualising my body conquering the infection and healing my throat as much as I could. I know a few people I contacted for prayer requests had also held me in their consciousness yesterday too, so thank you!
When I finally got called in to the medical bay again, they left me sitting behind a curtain for another 10-15 minutes while they were all cackling and carrying on with laughter about something. I get the joy, and appreciated it. But I was like, man, I’m counting on time to be on my side here.
Then I see this beautiful big black African doctor burst through the curtain and I almost choked with the surprise and sudden energy burst of such a tall and solid doctor bounce through. I couldn’t make out his accent to determine where he was from and struggled to understand him a little. He used high medical words but with his accent, and my brain fog, I was a little too tired to comprehend.
But after I quickly repeated to him what I said to the nurse, he started with a quick look in my mouth. “Ahhhh it’s a bit red.” And withdraws his stick.
I look at him, and said “you didn’t see the abscess? Check again”
I don’t know where he was looking the first time, but when he ACTUALLY took a look the second time, this super large human stepped back with surprise, and an “ohhh! Yeah there’s a large abscess forming!”
I’m nodding “ah ha” and he’s already shot out of the medical bay. Apparently to review my medical records online and now he’s back with a script for antibiotics and a face that shows concern.
He says “you must start these immediately! I’ve just checked your records, and my concern is that even with antibiotics last time you ended up in a priority 1 to hospital anyway. They didn’t work for you then. If you start these now, set your alarm and take them at 12 midnight too, and monitor how you feel. Do not hesitate to go to hospital if this gets any worse.”
The flippant nurse has also gravitated in and now being super friendly and telling me to double dose, which the doctor and her begin to get into a verbal sparring match about. As well as them blustering their egos about the difference between “exudate” and “pus”.
I just watched with observation, thanking God I had my AB’s script in my hand, and that I trusted myself to stand my ground and not be intimidated by medical personnel who sometimes forget to listen, and assume they know better. Distraction is a big thing, I get that. But patient care and paying attention can be the difference to dismissing someone or saving their life.
I know I avoided a near miss. Getting the antibiotics arrested the Quinsy from taking over my throat. The dr gave me the most powerful penicillin he could, and a long dose! (50 capsules). I’m still giggling at his reaction and quickstep shifting from not taking me seriously to “oh shit!” emergency talk mode (same with the triage nurse who initially flipped my fever off as “it could likely be premenopausal”..... )
I’ve learned a lot more yet again about trusting my intuition and myself above anyone else.
Always trust your gut! Your intuition, has many subtle ways of speaking, and often loud ways too. No one is a better expert on your body than you can be, you just need to tune into it, and listen.
If you’ve made it this far reading my personal medical emergency story, thank you! I’d love to hear from you. Has there been a time in your life when trusting your intuition saved you from a known possible (worse) outcome? Leave your comments below or join in on the facebook post comment thread which has 156 comments a the time of this post.