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Hypochondriac? Or am I getting sick?


image: © cervo

I woke up this morning with a wicked headache and a horrible sore throat. Oh, no! Could it be? Is my prophecy coming true? Have I contracted the swine flu????

It is now 16:00 and although my headache went away, my sore throat didn’t. I don’t have a fever though…if I were a regular “JOE” (like maybe Joe the Plumber?) would I be running to the ED, gripped by fear of the H1N1?

It makes me wonder how skewed my ideas of health and sickness are. I remember one of our truly seasoned nurses (20 plus years!) was taking care of a child who had fallen off the swing set. Mom brought the child in and they CT’d the kid and it turned out he had a head bleed.

This RN was standing at the nurse’s station with a look of horror. I asked her what was wrong, surely, surely, this wasn’t her first child with a head bleed?

“No” she said “The same exact thing happened to my daughter two days ago and I didn’t bring her to the hospital.”

Or another one of my nursing friends whose son was sick with a fever and all the other viral like symptoms. She kept saying oh, its a virus, its a virus. He wasn’t getting better after two weeks though and so she brought him to see the pediatrician. Bilateral pneumonia!!!

Sometimes having a little knowledge is dangerous…all those patients who “google” their disease and come up with crazy diagnoses. But having too much knowledge can be just as dangerous.

So until proven otherwise (i.e. until I have a fever) I refuse to accept that I might have the swine flu.

Here’s to good hand hygiene!

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Rebekah Child

Rebekah Child attended the University of Southern California for her bachelor's in nursing and decided to brave the academic waters and return for her master's in nursing education, graduating in 2003 from Mount St. Mary's. Rebekah has also taught nursing clinical and theory at numerous Southern California nursing schools and has been an emergency nurse since 2002. She is currently one of the clinical educators for an emergency department in Southern California and a student (again!) in the doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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