Knowing the appropriate time to go to the ER and seek additional help while having a chronic health issues is one of the most frustrating issues I see when talking with my clients. It can be overwhelming, scary and unfortunately- a waste of time and resources. I put together this list after my last ER trip because none of my ER trips have been a negative experience for me thank God; they have ALWAYS revealed more information or underlying issues I didn’t know I was experiencing. I want everyone to feel the same way so here are my tips. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
how to have a successful er trip
1. Know when its time to go. This piece is all about tracking and knowing what is a bad day, a flare or an emergency.
2. Go in with the right mindset-I am gathering information. I am getting extra help.
3. Pack right– be prepared for a long stay right off the bat.
4. Listen to the doctors like you’d want them to listen to you. Consider everything even if you don’t think its relevant. It may be– after you leave the ER. Ask for their thoughts then respectfully bring up your concerns and questions after they have finished.
5. Bring your notes!
6. Treat the nurse/staff well. They are the ones who advocate for you. connect with them, ask questions and keep them informed. Don’t make them do the guesswork. For example, my last ER trip resulted in an overnight stay. While waiting for my room assignment, I realized I had forgotten to take my newly prescribed thyroid medication in all the chaos of the day. I told the nurse and she asked if I would like them to run a TSH test to rule out any thyroid hyperactivity since the medication was recently started. We did and the test resulted in showing us an underlying issue that could have grown much worse if not caught.
7. Don’t be the hero, thinking you will just continue to suffer in silence. (This is my weak area!) But also know when to let go. Let them do their job– which is to rule out emergency or life threatening situations. You may feel completely and totally awful, but if their tests don’t indicate your life is at risk- then they have done their job. It is the reality of the healthcare system and it is not their fault. Ask for a copy of your chart before leaving and make sure you understand the diagnosis, when to come back and what a worsening of your current symptoms would look like. NEVER LEAVE WITHOUT BEING CLEAR ON THIS!
8. Stop stressing about the price. Investigate hospital help programs–after you are well. Financial aid programs are not advertised but must exist in every hospital.
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