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Coping with a Health Crisis

Unfortunately, I have had some recent practice with multiple health crises or emergencies. I’ve had a couple cases were an issue quickly developed and worsened over a weekend when my doctors were not available. It would have been possible for me to go to an urgent care clinic, but I prefer to see doctors familiar with my health history and complexities so have learned to take quick actions early on a Monday morning for hopefully treating a health issue without a visit to the emergency room.

Please note: If you need to (or are instructed by your physician) visit the emergency room for a health crisis.

Things to consider when seeking emergency care

Here’s some tips and things to consider when facing a health emergency:

  • Listen to that uh-oh feeling. I’m not always great at seeing a health problem. Like other people, I may want to put it off or ignore it or hope that it will go away on its own. I’ve learned the hard way that I have got to listen to my body! When it needs help, I have got to get it treated. In my most recent example, I woke on Saturday with a painful lump in my skin. I hoped it would get better, but was pretty certain it wasn’t going to improve on its own. So, I watched it over the weekend and took quick action Monday morning.
  • Make an appointment with your primary physician or the related urgent care so they have access to your records. With my history of rheumatoid arthritis, joint replacements, and unusual complications, I find it best to see my primary care physician as she had the most background on everything. If she is not available, I try to get an appointment with someone in the practice. My strategy is to call first thing in the morning. The phone lines open early so if I call early, I can usually get an appointment.
  • Make an appointment with the specialist pertaining to your health issue. My latest health emergency involved a skin cyst showing signs of infection (very painful and red). Since I was certain this was a skin problem, I also called my dermatologist early and was able to make an appointment with a doctor in the practice (but not my usual doctor). I also checked that (if necessary) the new doctor would be able to consult with mine since he knows my history best (but of course there are also the records). I actually called before they opened and left a message. Then I called back again after they opened to get the appointment. This time, I decided to cancel the urgent care, since I was confident the dermatologist was the best place for swift and effective treatment. But I think going to both appointments would have been fine.
  • If you work, update them on having an urgent health situation. As soon as I got to work, I updated my boss and coworkers that I could need to leave early to get to the doctor as I had an urgent medical issue. I explained (without going into too much detail) that I suspected an infected cyst and needed to address it immediately because of my health risks due to RA. Thankfully, I have an understanding workplace. But it is also personally important to me to keep up with my responsibilities or ask for help. This time, I was well enough to take my computer and plan to work from home.
  • Plan to take the time for treatment now (however inconvenient), so it doesn’t cost more time and money later. I am an inpatient patient. I want immediate results so that I don’t have to lose time. But that is not reasonable! So, I have to tell myself that acting quickly now will save me pain, time, and money in the long run. For example, a hospital stay is way more expensive than an office visit to the doctor! I need to take the time now to get treated and heal (that means more resting time!) so that I can save on these future costs if my condition were to get worse.
  • Plan ahead for possible future health emergencies. It really helps to have some plan in place for when you may experience a health emergency. For example, know what doctors you can call to get quick appointments and know their phone line hours. Have an idea of what you can do for your work, such as sick time, adjusting your hours, or working from home. I am fortunate to have my husband Richard to help in these emergencies, but it’s also good to have a friend or two that you may ask for assistance when you need it.

We can all agree that health crises are no fun and not how we want to spend our time. But hopefully, some quick action can provide swift treatment and recovery.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Cynthia Ventura moderator
    4 months ago

    It’s always better to be prepared. Sometimes though when I’m feeling exhausted taking those extra steps, even calling the stand getting ready feels impossible. That’s why it’s important to have someone else in your corner advocating for you. A spouse, significant other, family member, trusted neighbor or friend.

    I also think my desire not to be a burden and not wanting attention brought to myself works against me taking proactive steps such as you suggest. That’s when your advocate should spring to action. If my husband believes the situation is going downhill fast he doesn’t even ask me he just calls the dr for an appointment or tells me to put on my jacket, we’re going to the ER. I might gripe or make a face at him but it does nothing to deter him. Off we go. His spidey sense is always spot on. I’m thankful to have him in my life for doing what I know I need to do but fight against.

    I push myself to work through my issues to get the help I need before the situation gets worse. But when I’m unable, having a proactive advocate in my corner makes all the difference.

  • Kelly Mack moderator author
    4 months ago

    Hi CynthiaV, Excellent point! It’s so helpful to have an advocate in your corner, looking out for you. Thanks and glad you have a good one with great spidey sense!

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator
    4 months ago

    I have my medical go bag packed at all times. I mean not literally. But I maintain Sheryl and she maintains all the stuff I need to have if we go to the hospital.

    Insulin, check,
    Infusion sets check,
    Bag of medicines check,
    CPAP check,
    Rick? well maybe he can come as well.

  • Kelly Mack moderator author
    3 months ago

    LOL! Thanks Rick! Very good. I do think the list should include you. 😉 Actually, great idea to have a go-bag list. I’m going to steal that thought! That way, if I have an emergency I can send the list to my husband for him to grab whatever I may need. Because I was already home, I was able to grab what I needed during my last emergency but I know that’s not always possible. Hopefully neither of us will need the go-bag for a long time! Best, Kelly ( Team Member)

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