Diaries Magazine


By Torontoemerg

That’s right. Bilateral even.

I was having this funky back pain radiating around to my chest for a couple of weeks and a really strange shortness of breath that left me inexplicably gasping, so I went to my local ED to get it checked out. Got the full cardiac work-up, blood work, chest x-ray, ECG. Nil acute, nothing wrong, rien, diagnosed with musculoskeletal pain, patted me on the hand, and sent on my way. That was two weeks ago.

Last Thursday a colleague told me I looked “haggard” after a twelve-hour day.

Friday my GP left me a message on my voicemail asking me to follow-up because the radiologist’s report showed “an abnormality” on the chest x-ray. Here we go, I thought. I’m a reformed smoker.

After having a small meltdown, and making many phone calls trying to figure what exactly the radiologists report said, it was determined I only have pneumonia. Undiagnosed for a couple of weeks or more. The term of art for this is “missed finding”: the ED doc literally missed it on the x-ray — or forgot to look.

I haven’t felt exactly unwell: just sort of run-down, which I attributed to the weather and the season. Ibuprofen took care of the back and chest pain. I only started feeling really sick on Friday before I got the call. Since then it’s been hit or miss. Saturday I felt fine, Sunday I was intermittently febrile, and yesterday and this morning— just general malaise. Thankfully, I have a few off to lounge around the house.

Needless to say, all of this is far better than the alternative. It’s funny, though, how a phone call can transform you from “well” to “sick” in a matter of seconds. One moment I was perfectly okay, if a little under the weather; the next I was afflicted with a semi-serious illness, and thinking I needed all the prerogatives and privileges of the sick: warm blankets, ginger ale, chicken soup and general pampering. None of that has happened this far: no one quite believes me! For this, oddly enough, I’m grateful.

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