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GP advice / hospital advice: which to follow?

54 replies

ItalianinLondon · 11/12/2019 22:40

Sorry if this is a bit of a stupid question - and I'm 100% being unreasonable, because nobody else can really answer it but me!

So, I woke up at about 2am with a really sharp, stabbing pain in the middle of my chest. It still hadn't gone this morning, so I called for a GP appointment and (miracle!) got one. The GP said it was almost certainly pericarditis but I should go to the hospital for echo / ECG / blood tests to check. And she said, if it was, stay off work for a week and come back to see her on 18 Dec to see if I'm okay to go back.

To cut the story short... went to the hospital, had the tests and they said that yes, it is pericarditis, but no reason not to be at work, just take some ibuprofen and get on with it.

So... now I'm not sure what to do. In truth, I don't feel terrible at all, but it's still super painful and the ibuprofen isn't doing much to help. But if I stay off work tomorrow after this advice, I feel a bit pathetic and feeble. And it doesn't help that I'd never even heard of pericarditis until this morning, so I have no concept of what's "normal".

Anyone who has experience / advice (especially how long it goes on for...!) I'd be super grateful.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

SomeHalfHumanCreatureThing · 11/12/2019 22:46

It very much depends on what your job is. If you're in a calm part time job, you'll probably be OK, but if still take a few days off. If you're in a stressful or very active job, then you'll probably need to be signed off. Go and see your GP again, and if you need to stay at home you'll be signed off and get a fit note.

Remember to take the ibuprofen with food. You don't need heartburn on top of these symptoms.


SomeHalfHumanCreatureThing · 11/12/2019 22:47

Re-reading, I think you should take tomorrow and Friday off, keep up with the NSAIDs, and see how you go.


DeathStare · 11/12/2019 22:49

If you didn't know what it was and was just going by how you feel, do you feel well enough to work?

At the end of the day your GP is the one who would sign any sick note (and the one who probably has more experience at assessing whether someone is fit to work).


ItalianinLondon · 11/12/2019 22:55

@DeathStare I was also thinking that and, to be honest, I feel kind of tired and sick and in quite a lot of pain. But then again, I think part of the tiredness is from hanging around in the hospital for 5 hours, stressing about childcare, etc!

So, not sure...

(P.S. I work in research, so it's not physically demanding!)

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DeathStare · 11/12/2019 23:00

It doesn't matter what the tiredness is caused by (in this context where it is either caused by the illness itself or the impact of the treatment/assessment of the illness). If you are feeling too tired/sick/in pain to work then you shouldn't be in work.

Personally I'd probably take Thursday and Friday off (assuming you don't work weekends) and reassess on Sunday evening for Monday.


Tillygetsit · 11/12/2019 23:02

I agree that you should at least take the rest of this week off to rest and see how you feel after the weekend.


ItalianinLondon · 11/12/2019 23:04

I think you're probably right!

My judgement is a bit skewed because I have lupus (and twins) and I'm kind of used to feeling a bit tired or a bit in pain or whatever, and you just kind of get used to it and carry on with whatever needs doing.

But in this case it's probably more than "a bit" and probs best to take a couple days off! (I work in constitutional research, so I would guess that I am highly unlikely to get the weekend off!).

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SomeHalfHumanCreatureThing · 11/12/2019 23:08

You've got lupus too?

You really need to look after yourself and at the very least take the rest of this week off.


ItalianinLondon · 11/12/2019 23:11

Yeah, but I've had it for quite a while and never really get any bad symptoms, so it's not a big deal. And I don't usually get more ill than other people when I get ill (if that makes sense...).

But you've convinced me - or I've convinced myself?! I'll take off tomorrow and reassess tomorrow evening!

Thank you :)

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Mammajay · 11/12/2019 23:14

Give your body a chance to recover. Rest is very important.


SomeHalfHumanCreatureThing · 11/12/2019 23:15

Oh, sure you know this but pericarditis is common with lupus

Just one thing to be mindful of. Medics love an easy diagnosis of a comorbid condition (in my not limited experience). Did they do all the tests to diagnose pericarditis?


ItalianinLondon · 11/12/2019 23:23

@SomeHalfHumanCreatureThing My GP said that, yeah (although I didn't actually know before). She reckoned it was pericarditis because of my symptoms and because she could hear something weird with the stethoscope (like an extra sound or something). I had an ECG and blood tests but no echo (they were super busy and had no time to do it, unless I waited another 2 hours and I wasn't so keen...). The ECG showed something (ST elevation, I think?) which is apparently typical, and my inflammation markers were up on the bloods, but they often are...

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ViaSacra · 11/12/2019 23:24

At the very least take Friday off and see how you feel on Monday.


Savingshoes · 11/12/2019 23:25

The information for this would suggest rest and care for at least a fortnight to reduce symptoms and reduce it returning.
Go with GP I think


WhiskyTangoFoxtrot · 11/12/2019 23:28

Agree with Deathstare

Take the next 48 hours to let the pain subside (or at least get your pain relief sorted). Then it's the weekend, so reassess Sunday pm


Welshmaenad · 11/12/2019 23:32

Your GP is probably better acquainted with your underlying condition and personal circumstances. I would go with their advice and stay off for at least the rest off he week.


ItalianinLondon · 11/12/2019 23:44

Yeah, I do trust the GP's advice as she is very good and also the one that I usually see. (Lol, which makes it sound like I go to the doctor all the time!!)

The only thing I wish is that they'd given me some stronger painkillers at the hospital. I don't think I'm going to get any sleep!! :(

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IceBearRocks · 12/12/2019 00:45

If you have a stressful life with other 'inconveniences ' then you tend to just think everything to you leg falling off is just .....okay !
Give yourself time, sort out YOUR pain....


ItalianinLondon · 12/12/2019 00:48

Haha, yes - or my line manager may just kill me for not being at work tomorrow, in which case none of this will be an issue!

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ItalianinLondon · 12/12/2019 00:49

My judgement is a bit skewed because I have lupus (and twins) and I'm kind of used to feeling a bit tired or a bit in pain or whatever

I also realise that I just listed my twins as if they are another illness, lol...which is obviously not the case!

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DeathStare · 12/12/2019 00:53

So you have just drip-fed (accidentally I think!) that you have a significant under-lying condition and that you are heading into an extremely busy period at work.

Stop worrying about what is causing how you feel and whether the specific label justifies time off. You feel like shit, you're clearly not going to have any let-up at work and your GP (who has good knowledge of your underlying condition and general wellbeing) has advised you take the time off. TAKE THE TIME OFF. not doing so will not help you in the long run


ItalianinLondon · 12/12/2019 00:59

Sorry, yeah, that was a bit of a drip-feed, but an accidental one, I promise!

I'm definitely taking tomorrow off ... and probably Friday, unless I feel miraculously better, because Friday is likely to be chaos unleashed! I just felt, after what they advised me at the hospital, that maybe it was a bit feeble to take time off...and I don't want to be feeble!

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ItalianinLondon · 12/12/2019 06:12

And I forgot to say, thank you for all the advice (and for bothering to reply to somebody asking stupid questions!!). I'm feeling so awful this morning that I think I must have been mildly insane to imagine I could go to work today!

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Sparklybaublefest · 12/12/2019 06:31

Go with the GPs advice, they know more about you, they know more about people taking time off than the hospital doctor


Orangeblossom78 · 12/12/2019 07:05

What the hospital may be doing is just giving guidelines without the lupus diagnosis as well. I have found they are not known for looking at the bigger picture at times. If I were you I would go with how you feel and get note from the GP who know you better.

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