Synovial Syntax

How do I get help?

Posted on: September 29, 2009

Oh lordy. Had a very extreme pain crisis yesterday afternoon and night. Right jaw – for which I have a maxillo-facial consult booked for end of October. Have had this pain on and off since November last year. Thought it was toothache, 4 visits to the dentist later, root canal work and a night-time bridge thingy later, she says – it’s not your teeth.

Yesterday, the pain was worse than labour, relieved only by squeezing up co-codamol pain relief into every 4 hours and taking 2 glasses of wine. Bum in air, forehead on floor also helped as my jaw was kind of hanging there not hurting anywhere near as much. Thought I’d got away with it, went to bed very dozy, woke in great pain again after 30 minutes went straight to A&E. Exemplary history taking, quick access to nurse and then doctor. Who did the best exam of the area I’ve yet had, says it’s the RA. Gave me Tramadol and a different presentation of codeine for today. Strict instructions to see GP today.

Rang GP twice at 0830 when lines open, coudn’t get through. Took older boy into extra session of pre-school (thank you to them, a thousand times for having him). Baby zonked out with start of cold now. Called GP again at 0930. No appointments free. No advice on how to access any medical care. I want to understand differences between pain killers, and have a stash of Tramadol against repeat emergencies. Also, seriously considering getting private MRI of jaw, by practice in Harley Street who have a maxillo-facial specialist on their list. About £300. But! I need a GP referral for this.

Back to square one then. Have my phone timer on and am calling practice for cancellations every 45 minutes. Can they call me if they get one? No! I am in pain, I find it very hard to care for the kids, my husband doesn’t earn if he doesn’t work. I don’t like this, no sirreee.

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4 Responses to "How do I get help?"

Ours do too WS, but they release them at 0830 on the dot and it’s less than 50:50 if you’ll get through before they’ve gone. I was handicapped in the staying-on-the-phone-stakes this morning by pain, tiredness, school run and snotty baby. You ring, and it rings for 42 rings and if it isn’t answered, it cuts you off. And you have to ring again. Etc:) After that all failed I then rang 6 times from 0915 til 1300, speaking to someone and asking for help.

It’s such a big practice, it used to be able to soak all us extras up, but now it doesn’t, and there are so many different phone people…

My PCP reserves a few appointments for same-day urgencies. The only time I’ve ever not been seen the same day was when I phoned five minutes before they closed (and I didn’t expect them to fit me in then, so it wasn’t a problem). When you finally get in, you might ask your doctor how you should handle such a situation in the future. He might not know that his staff won’t give people emergency appointments. Or maybe he really doesn’t think your situation is important, in which case you need to know that. I hope you’re able to get help soon.

Thanks for the validation, everyone who is saying no always has such an air of disbelief that I’m actually asking that i do wonder if i’m asking too much sometimes. But no i don’t think so. I’d have another night of no sleep, weakened immune system, all that, without having got the omeprazole and tramadol to bump me through this crisis.

You called your GP’s office and said, “I was at A&E last night. They gave me a rx for tramadol & codeine and told me to see you today,” and your GP won’t see you? That’s appalling! Would it work to phone your rheumatologist instead of your GP? Can your GP see you tomorrow? I’m so sorry to hear your jaw hurts so badly.

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