What Do I Do Now? - 35

35
GET ME ORIENTED /// CHAPTER 22
Urgencies and
Emergencies
A medical urgency is a new symptom
or condition that needs to be evaluated
urgently, usually within 8-24 hours, and
cannot wait until your next appointment
with your physician. Call your physician's
office or after-hour line. Your medical
team will want you to avoid the
emergency room (ER) when possible
since your treatments may lower your
immune system. Your symptoms may be
treated with a simple medication change
or by going into your doctor's office or
infusion room. If your medical team is
worried that your symptom may indicate
or lead to a more severe problem, they
may advise you to go to the ER.
A medical emergency is a new or
worsening symptom or condition that
needs to be evaluated and treated
immediately, usually within the hour.
The most serious of these require you/
your caregivers to call 911 first, not your
doctor's office to avoid a delay in care.
These include:
» Becoming unconscious, seriously
confused and/or hallucinating
» Severe chest pain, abdominal pain,
headache or other severe pain
» Severe trouble breathing
» Loss of pulse
» Severe bleeding or vomiting blood
» A seizure or bad fall
» Slurred speech or sudden weakness,
especially on just one side of your
body
» Inability to walk
Other symptoms that require you
to call your physician emergently
and are likely to require a trip to
the ER include:
» A temperature above 100.4°F
for more than 1 hour,
especially if you are receiving
chemotherapy
» Shaking chills
» Confusion
» Difficulty breathing
» An allergic reaction (suggested
by trouble swallowing,
drooling, rash, or facial, neck
or tongue swelling)
» Increased pain
» Ongoing constipation or
uncontrollable diarrhea
» Uncontrollable nausea and/or
vomiting
» Bleeding
» Swelling in legs or arms,
especially if warm or painful
Each cancer center or oncologist's
office may have slightly different
criteria for when to go to the ER.
Ask your nurse or doctor to clarify
any questions or concerns about
when to worry, when to call, or
when to go to the emergency
room.
BE PREPARED
It's best to plan ahead
» Know which ER your doctor
would want you to go to in
an emergency. If you live
more than 30 minutes from
the hospital, you are likely
going to be told to go first
to the CLOSEST ER to your
home.
» Have the after-hours
emergency phone number
for your doctor in several
places - your phone, your
caregiver's phone, taped to
the fridge, etc.
» Know who would transport
you to the ER at any time
» Consider having a small
bag packed with a change
of clothes and toiletries
in case you require
hospitalization
» Have all medical
information handy
* Name of your doctor
* Type/Stage of cancer
* List of chemotherapy
medications
* List of all other
medications
* List of allergies
https://fwaya.org/

What Do I Do Now?

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