Alternate Care Options: Getting Sick During A Holiday
I had one of those unfortunate brushes with the medical system. I have a knack for getting sick on long weekends and holidays, meaning I need to find an alternative care provider. After a turbulent autumn of medical adventures, a rib fracture, an exacerbation that would not go away, and a crazy infection, I finally thought I was turning the corner into the world of medical stability.
Needing care over a holiday
I had fractured my rib while coughing and had a coughing incident a few days prior to that. While scary, I seemed to be okay. Phew! I managed to survive uninjured. Unfortunately, that was short-lived. I had experienced mild pain, which became severe pain. All I could think was, "Please don’t be fractured!"
It was just days before Christmas. What were my healthcare options? My family doctor is usually available for urgent calls. However, it was the first night of a religious holiday and it did not seem “right” to call them with what may be muscle pain. It was Sunday and I surely could make it to Monday morning to see if coverage was available during the holiday week. Their office has the most amazing nurse practitioner, after all. Unfortunately, It was the one week that they did not have coverage. Ugh!
Looking for an alternative care provider
I remembered that there was a mobile/online health service. Surely this had to be a better option than going to a random walk-in clinic. The application was fairly easy to use and the cost was the most reasonable at $50, even in a country with single-payer coverage. I also struck out at the mobile health service as my symptoms required an in-person assessment and they were not available for an online consult.
Ugh. It looked like I was bound for the walk-in clinic. While my respirology clinic does have an urgent referral service, there are strict criteria for that clinic and I just wasn't sure if rib pain fell into that category.
I had not been to a walk-in clinic in some time since my family doctor has extra coverage available if needed. It looked like this was the avenue that I was going to need to take to find an alternative care provider. I was very nervous about running into sick people; my immune system was just too susceptible to all the things. In my experience, walk-in clinics also have very limited knowledge about severe asthma and can be quick to prescribe antibiotics or steroids without much rationale.
Choosing the walk-in clinic for alternative care
I decided it was time to brave the walk-in clinic. I did have a message into my respirologist who was overseas, yet I was unsure when I would hear back. However, the walk-in clinic wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. It was shockingly modern - more urgent care-like - and the doctor was super nice. Although, I was not confident in the identification of my breath sounds and suspected pneumonia. Off to x-ray I would go! In the interim, I would receive a call from my respirologist office with instructions to be seen in a colleague's clinic. Hooray!
It turns out that I had a severe intercostal muscle injury that was likely going to take several weeks to heal. Interestingly, through this journey, I found that there are local apps that are connecting patients to different care options, especially during the holidays. This also includes solutions that are OPEN outside of just urgent care or walk-ins clinics. They have a connection to physiotherapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, and mental health resources.
Have you experienced needing to see an alternative care provider over a holiday? I'd love to hear your story.
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