Why Do We Wait to See the Doctor When We’re Sick?

Young Caucasian woman lying sick in bed suffering from cold

When it hit me, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It seemed like one minute I was fine, and the next, I was burning up, had the chills, felt weak and dizzy. Once I got in bed to rest, I felt too weak and miserable to get up. I slept, took ibuprofen, tried to keep hydrated and waited for my flu to run its course. I figured this would take no more than 3 or 4 days and I’d be back to normal. Wrong.

Three or four days later my temperature was gone, but I was still weak and tired and now I felt like I had an elephant sitting on my chest. To make matters worse, my husband Tom who had been taking care of me got sick too. Now we were both laid up. We closed the bedroom door tight—our version of quarantine—and told our teenage daughter Riley to stay away from us so she wouldn’t get sick!

Finally, on the sixth day of illness when it looked like I wasn’t getting any better, I figured I’d better see a professional. I was just strong enough to get in the car and take a ride to ProMedica Urgent Care, where I was diagnosed with a bad case of bronchitis. Doctors in our area say this year has been one of the worst they can remember for respiratory infections. I got a prescription for an antibiotic, and within two days, I was feeling much better.

You may be wondering, “Why did she wait so long to see a doctor?” Or…maybe my story sounds familiar to you. Why do we wait so long to go to the doctor when we’re sick? People have a myriad of excuses: “I can’t afford to go the doctor.” “I’m too sick and weak to make the trip to the doctor’s office.” Or, in my case, “I’ll get better on my own in a few days.” The problem with that last excuse, as I found out, is that an illness like bronchitis can easily turn into something much more serious like life-threatening pneumonia if left untreated. I admit, when I finally did get into the Urgent Care office, I felt a little silly for not going in earlier.

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It can be tough to get an immediate appointment with your primary care physician when you’re sick, but there are services that can help. Obviously, when we’re sick we don’t want to sit and wait a long time to be seen by the doctor. That’s why I took advantage of the ProMedica app on my phone and pre-registered at the Urgent Care. When I got there they were ready with my paperwork, my wait was short, and 45 minutes later I was picking up the prescription they called in to my pharmacy.

Another great service is ProMedica OnDemand. With this app, you put in some information, select a doctor from a list of available physicians and use video technology to conduct your doctor visit right over your phone. It’s an especially helpful service for parents who don’t want to travel with sick children. Best of all? You can stay home in your pajamas while you talk to the doctor!

These options can make seeing a doctor easy and more affordable, so there’s no excuse for being sick longer than you need to be. I know after my visit, I felt so much better knowing that I got the care I needed. Because when you’re sick, all you want to do is feel better!

IMG_9319For 20 years, Chrys Peterson was the face of WTOL news, anchoring the 5, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. She is now a correspondent and columnist for ProMedica HealthConnect.

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