Friday, October 16, 2009

Flu Rant!

I am so sick of the Swine Flu. I know kids are dying and it's scary. I'm not going to say the normal "people die from the flu every year" thing. I do believe this thing is worse...but damn I am sick of it.

It's not the people who are really sick that's bugging me. It's that EVERYONE thinks they have the flu. I primarily work at a big county hospital for residency, but I also work in a children's hospital, an urgent care, and a small rural ER (moonlighting gigs for extra money). EVERY single one of them is filled with people daily who want to be tested and treated.

They don't care about my clincal assessment of them. They don't care that testing for the flu is basically worthless...they want the test. They want to call and tell everyone they have the swine flu. They swear their neighbor has it or the shopping cart they used had it. They could care less of my training and clinical acumen. They know what they have and what they want. I try and try to talk rationally and teach them the recommendations and pathology, but they don't care. I spend time and energy and it doesn't matter. And if I succeed and talk them out of it, I get negative patient satisfaction scores.

I know what sick people look like from the flu. They are hypoxic, febrile, have rigors, and having breathing problems. Slam dunk cases that will be treated or admitted. But a year ago....we would NOT be running all these tests and treating all these iffy cases. We would call them URIs or viral syndrome or bronchitis and let them be. This country is going to run out of Tamiflu....and then....

"Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu"--The Howard Stern Show

Thanks for letting me rant,

-ER Doc


DreamingTree said...

LOL -- you're gonna get some hate mail with your quote at the end. Very funny rant... that now has me dreading my weekend at work. I'm always amazed by those who choose to seek medical care, but then totally disregard the advice they are given.

Anonymous said...

I have discovered that trying to talk rationally to people - especially those of the attention seeking sort - a futile endeavour. At the end of the day you know that you have assessed your patients reasonably and responsibly and that you have done your job well.
What baffles me the most is why anyone would wish to be ill in the first place.
It seems to me that the more 'humankind' 'evolves' the more weak and pathetic we become. The mind boggles...

Lisa said...

My family is being treated for the flu. It's rampant in the county; the school where I teach is seeing greater than 10% absences on any given day which is high this early in the school year.

My infant is pretty sick, high fever, not wanting to eat much, sleeping a ton. I'm running a fever too. So its Tamiflu for us all and instructions to stay home for 5 days.

Our county is only testing those who require hospitalization or those who die where flu is suspected but anyone w/ flu symptoms is being treated as if they have flu, swine or not.

Anonymous said...

And that is whats wrong!!!

Natika said...

So I don't get they get some kick ass meds....or do they think they do? If I have *A* flu all I want to do is lay in bed and die. Not go hang out with 200 annoying people. If I wanted to do that I would hang out with my family.

HugeMD said...

I'm with ya. This is already a long winter. It's freakin' October. I'm tired.

I actually one of those residency-type thoughts the other day--if I actually GOT H1N1, I'd get a week off and wouldn't have to deal with the whole "swine flu thing", if only for that short period of time. Pretty bad considering I vividly remember the last time I had influenza--1997--there wasn't enough ibuprofen in the world to make me stop half-hoping I would die.

nai nai said...

I completely agree with you. It's ridiculous the amount of scare that is coming from this H1N1 flu. Really, very few people have died from it, and most people who DO get it recover! There are just way too many misconceptions floating around out there.

killa said...

LOL. I agree. I am so tired of hearing about it. The sad part is that it is only October and the real flu season is not even here yet!
I seem to remember a similar pandemic that we had a few years ago and people where all hyped about it.. Remember SARS?
People are getting to hyped about it- the media is not helping either!

Mandy said...

I'm sick of hearing about it too. My husband had the swine flu a few weeks ago--he recovered--no meds. The only reason he knew it was the swine flu is because he works for pathology in a large hospital. My kids school is advising anyone who gets a fever to stay home a whole freaking five days!

Anonymous said...

50% of yesterday's patients: I'd like to get that swine flu test I heard about on the news.

Me: Currently, only patients ill enough to require hospitalization are being tested by the CDC. In fact, the CDC is recommending that people with mild viral symptoms stay home and avoid spreading / exposure to viruses. What symptoms are you having that make you think you have the swine flu?

50% of yesterday's patients: Well, my cousin's neighbor's mailman has the swine flu. Now my throat's kinda scratchy. I'd like to be tested and get some of that Tamiflu stuff.

Me: You're not running a fever, no body aches, no nausea/vomiting, no cough or sore throat. All of your vital signs are normal. You may be coming down with a little cold, but from what I can see, you're perfectly fine.

50% of yesterday's patients: Can't you just test me?

Me: Do you know what a nasopharyngeal swab is? (explains procedure--emphasis on pain and discomfort).

50% of yesterday's patients: Oh. Ummmm. I think I'll just go home.

Mel said...

I think what most people don't get is that whether or not you have the regular or the piggy variety of flu, the testing will make not one whit of difference in terms of your care.

On the other hand, when I developed flu symptoms a couple months, I still went and got tested. From an epidemiological perspective, I feel like it's important for the data to be recorded. Then I went home and slept, drank plenty of water, and waited until I was well before going back to work.

Nurse K said...

For the most part, the flu is like gastroenteritis...if you have it REALLY bad, you can't possibly consider leaving the house to go sit in some lobby somewhere for hours.

LivingDeadNurse said...

i agree with nurse K..if you can't get out of bed and don't even want to take the effort to come it...u might want to get ur ass to the hospital...what I am tired these work places demanding I get the H1N1 vaccine...grr

Bubba said...

I will seek and find you..
I shall take you to bed and have my way with you.

I will make you ache, shake & sweat until you moan & groan.

I will make you beg for mercy, beg for me to stop.

I will exhaust you to the point that you will be relieved when I'm finished with you.

And, when I am finished, you will be weak for days.

All my love,

The Flu

Grace said...

I was recently admitted to the hospital for suspected H1N1. I was extremely ill but it turned out to be an e-coli infection in my blood. I was hospitalized for 13 days. The symptoms were exactly the same as for H1N1.

R. May said...

Thank you. I wanted to strangle the woman next to me at soccer practice last night, who whith an ever so slight cough insisted she had swine flu and was going tomorrow to get tested for sure and a chest xray.

Lady - you are up and functional you have a flipping COLD!

HugeMD said...

R. May--You're totally right. If she really had swine flu, she probably wouldn't feel like going anywhere (fever over 100, cough, sore throat, usually bad body aches and headache, sometimes runny/stuffy nose, sometimes nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, usually significant fatigue). HOWEVER, people, if you DO THINK YOU HAVE SWINE FLU, STAY HOME. Do not go to work, soccer practice, school, the store, etc. Other people don't want to catch the crap you have.

Kermit said...

One quick way to tell.

If you have The Swine Flu you'll have a snort instead of a sniffle. Believe me, I'll know..

Trust us....we're doctors said...

Some day I will do a "Bipolar Rant" to equal this.

-Psych Doc

Me said...

I does not fear the virus.

Me said...

And two thumbs up to HugeMD's comment.

Natika said...

Karma got me! I came down with this gawd awful flu shortly after I posted on here. Now mind you I still think going to the hospital on the onset of this crap-o-la is STUPID, after last night I think I could of gone but didn't.
I went from all the stupid flu symptoms( headache, non productive hacking, chills, fever, sore throat) to a much scarier symptom of not being able to catch my breath while coughing. I seem to have a loud crunching sound in my left lung. I get these very disturbing coughing fits where I lose bladder control(I do love this flu). But here I sit! I'm not going to the local ER and sit around and wait for someone to come out and say "you have the flu, $600 please!"
Besides that if your blog has taught me anything it's what doctors must think of us patients! Especially the weird ones.

karlheus said...

Both my 12 year old and 15 year old came down with some evil flu at the same time - Doc said don't bring them in, its just the flu. So they lay around like casualties for about 9 days slurping fluids and ibuprofen and sleeping, sleeping, sleeping. Left permanent body impressions on the sofas in the TV room. On day 10, they rose, dressed and went back to school - a little wobbly but mostly intact. No antibiotics, just lots of quiet and rest, warm fluids and fever reducers. Doc was right.

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