It’s Day 169 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’ve missed five consecutive days of blogging, which is only one way being misdiagnosed with diverticulitis has made a mess. Hopefully my experience will help you to advocate for your medical health. Last Tuesday, my family doctor squeezed me in for a sick appointment. Following a quick conversation about my symptoms and an examination she made the diagnosis, prescribed two antibiotics and instructed that I was to call if I didn’t improve by Thursday so I could be sent for a CAT scan. When I didn’t and followed her directive, I was told she was on vacation and got referred to the ER. Reluctant to go there, instead I finished the meds, expecting to improve. After a week I was worse. I called back and advocated for myself by insisting on the CT scan. It’s a painful process! Upon hearing the results, my response sounded like my teenage daughter: Wait! What? I don’t have diverticulitis?!
That’s the good news. I don’t have to add this as another D after all! The bad news is they still don’t know what I have. Rather than return to my primary care physician or go the ER route, I went to Urgent Care. At the conclusion of a thorough exam, the doc requested tests and I’m now waiting on those results. The difference is, thankfully, I’m waiting more comfortably. With some new medications, I’m experiencing the first break from pain, etc. I’ve had in weeks! How I wish I’d gone there first! Being down with what I thought was diverticulitis has caused me to miss a really important meeting, to miss two solid weeks of Zumba and to postpone my own class kicking off, to not get any work done on my debut novel’s deadline, and to have to reschedule an interior coaching session that my client and I had been looking forward to. The misdiagnosis has caused such a mess!
Here are some of the questions I would ask if I had a sick appointment do-over.
Savvy & Chic Sick Visit Questions
- How is this condition diagnosed other than hearing my symptoms and examining me? Is the diagnosis conclusive?
- What tests are used to diagnose conclusively?
- Am I contagious and for how long?
- What is the purpose of the prescribed medications?
- What medications can be prescribed in addition to antibiotics for pain management?
- What side effects should I expect from the medications?
- What are next steps if medications aren’t effective?
- What is the recommended diet for this diagnosis? What dietary restrictions?
- What information can you provide on this diagnosis?
- If you are unavailable, to whom can I direct concerns or questions?
I hope these questions help and don’t feel patronizing. I knew to ask them, but in my distressed state didn’t. Boy, did I pay the price for my oversight! I did remember to ask for a doctor’s note for documentation since I had to miss that meeting…I believe this is best practice, even if you don’t feel you need it.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who believes everything I experience is meant to coach, encourage or inspire other women facing Pink Collar Challenges, I’m sharing all of this as a reminder that we need to advocate for our own health care and for that of those for whom we are caregivers. When we do so, we can potentially avoid a misdiagnosis mess!
Be savvy & chic,
~Pink Collar Coach