Should my friend go to the hospital? Symptoms inside...
November 10, 2012 10:29 AM   Subscribe

YANMFD... I have a friend who, on Thursday, experienced sharp pains in his left side--he described the location as, "About an inch inside, directly aligned with my underarm". He felt it about 15 times over the course of the day and said it was "sharp and sudden" and caused him to wince and bend over. The next day, he woke up and there was blood in his right eye--not bloodshot, but blood, like a pool. It went away over the course of the day. He insists these things are not related and won't go to the doctor. As a result, I'm worried. Could these things be connected and what could they be? He's 44.

He doesn't want to go to the doctor because he just spent time in emergency a few weeks ago with a kidney stone and is tired of being there.
posted by dobbs to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Eye on the same side as the pain? Consider Shingles.
posted by readery at 10:32 AM on November 10, 2012

If someone just had a kidney stone and then experiences sharp internal pain and blood pooling in the eye, that seems like a good reason to seek medical attention.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:45 AM on November 10, 2012

Response by poster: No, eye on opposite side.
posted by dobbs at 10:46 AM on November 10, 2012

Chest pain is one of those things you don't fuck around with. He needs to talk about this with a doctor.
posted by snorkmaiden at 10:57 AM on November 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yes, he should probably at least go to an urgent care. But you said he refuses to go to a doctor.

What sort of information are you trying to acquire, that you think would convince him that he needs to go? He's already told you that he's not going to the doctor, despite that his symptoms would be ridiculous to ignore. What evidence can be provided that will convince him, in light of the fact that he's not convinced by his own recent medical issues and his own physical pain?
posted by Coatlicue at 11:11 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is unusual. He should definitely see a doc.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:11 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I can't think of a scenario where BLOOD IN THE EYE isn't an emergency room trip.

IANAD. I could see how both would be blood vessel related, though. And that's ER worthy.

If his problem is more the ER thing, why can't he schedule an emergency/immediate appointment with his GP?
posted by guster4lovers at 11:24 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

He should really go to the doctor.
posted by limeonaire at 11:29 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

My spouse can make me go to the emergency room against my wishes. My friends cannot.

Perhaps you can convince him to call his GP's after-hours line or call his GP on Monday.
posted by alms at 11:32 AM on November 10, 2012

I have gotten blood in my eye like that a couple of times following severe blood pressure spikes. In my case, I did not have any attendant pain or recent medical issues. If I had, I most likely would have gone to the dr.
posted by vignettist at 11:40 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If the is eye completely cleared up and the pain has not recurred it may or may not be coincidental--if in fact--he has no continuing symptoms and feels well/energetic/normal he might wait. It can be difficult for a physician to DX a condition that is no longer present--particularly in the absence of other symptoms. I can not think of a relationship between blood pooling in the eye and a recurrent sharp pain. If the pain was in fact episodic, sharp, of short duration and subsided quickly it does not suggest organ involvement. Is it possible he strained an intercostal muscle--if so he could also have ruptured a vessel in the eye. If he has any residual symptoms from Thursday it probably is not life threatening. If either of the symptoms recur go the physician ASAP.
posted by rmhsinc at 11:42 AM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

" If he has any residual symptoms" should read " If he has no residual symptoms"
posted by rmhsinc at 11:49 AM on November 10, 2012

Best answer: It may well be that your friend is not being as reckless as you think. Blood in the eye does not always indicate any serious condition at all. A subconjunctival hemorrhage, for instance, can look very alarming, yet be utterly benign. Or, it can sometimes be a sign of something serious. This article explains when it does and doesn't need medical evaluation (assuming that's what it is). The pain in his side could be from a muscle spasm, or heartburn. Sometimes it isn't a bad idea to stay clear of doctors and hospitals and give things a chance to get better on their own.

Does your friend have some sort of health insurance? Many insurers these days have some sort of a "nurse line" you can call at any time, and ask if your symptoms seem to require immediate medical attention. That's what I'd do.
posted by Corvid at 12:08 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm with corvid here. Have you tried Google image searching subconjunctival hemorrhage? I bet it will look just like your friend's eye did - and it's a benign condition. It typically occurs after some event has increased the pressure there and caused a blood vessel to burst - like coughing or vomiting. It resolves on its own when the blood reabsorbs.

Regarding sharp pains in the left side, my bet is another kidney stone, but there's really not enough information here to tell. IANY (or his) D.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:20 PM on November 10, 2012

I should add, people often experience nausea and vomiting, or just spiking blood pressure with the severe sharp pains caused by kidney stones (or any other severe sharp visceral pain). Therefore a subconjunctival hemorrhage could be related to the pain.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:23 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Good grief. Why are people so blasé about this? Pain that causes him to bend over several times per day and blood in the eye are not symptoms that should be ignored. This isn't a rash, this is an acute problem. He needs to see a doc.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:39 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Friend, I'm worried about you. I'd feel a lot better if you would call your doctor or the ER where you went with kidney stones. They can tell you if you should get care or not. I'd be very unhappy if anything happened to you.
posted by theora55 at 1:50 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Just got back from ER. Doc says he's fine and symptoms not related.
posted by dobbs at 1:51 PM on November 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Good. Hope you both feel better!
posted by BlueHorse at 8:30 PM on November 10, 2012

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