If fibromyalgia is a dangerous condition at all, blurry lines make it so. Walking the fine line between getting medical help and not needing to get medical help is a daunting task. Every fibro patient is different, too, and each has his or her own medical histories to consider, so the blurry line shifts with everyone. I’ve set my own guidelines for getting help – although they’re imperfect and I often step one way or another over the line. It has helped, however, to be able to say to a doctor, here are my guidelines for coming to see you. I wouldn’t be here unless this visit fit into x-parameters. During the visit then, I try very hard to stick to the issue at hand and not blur that issue with all the other problems I face every day. Again, easier said than done, but it’s a goal, and it has made dealing with doctors easier. This last couple weeks have been a challenge to stay on the right side of the blurry line, so for my own reinforcement, here are my guidelines:
- Hemorrhaging or loss of consciousness, a trip to the ER is probably okay.
- Cough, lung tightness or shortness of breath, fever, check for pneumonia. I’ve had it three times in the past and it’s very unpleasant, thus the trip to urgent care this week.
- Lower leg tightness, pain, and swelling, check for DVT. I’ve had a couple in the past.
- Shortness of breath with sharp stabbing pain in the ribs, check for pulmonary embolism. I had a massive pulmonary embolism in the past and am on life #2. Best not risk needing a third.
- New pain that lasts more than a week and/or interferes with my ability to work. See the great pinky incident of 2016.
- Fever that lasts more than a day. Possible infection somewhere.
- Skin rupture with swollen glands under my chin. Last two times have been a staph infection and I probably need an antibiotic.
Finally my last note to self: Don’t hit anyone who suggests taking a Tylenol. Their heart is probably in the right place, but even the placebo effect doesn’t work when I take a Tylenol. Ibuprofen has ruined my tummy, and besides I won’t live my life popping pain meds of any sort. The long term effects – see my tummy lining – are worse than the short term benefits. Tylenol is not my miracle drug. My miracle drug is a good diet and exercise. If only I could get back on my feet to exercise and had any sort of appetite at the moment. Oh well, I need to lose weight, right?