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I have a red spot on one of my knuckles of my left pointer finger. Both of my pointer fingers have felt like they are numb from the top of the finger down to the first knuckle for a few days now. I am seeing a new rheumatologist but not until next month. Is this something I should call the doctor at the community clinic about?

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Hi Debo,

 

I'm sorry you have red spots and numbness on your pointer fingers. As it happens, since we are not medical professionals, we cannot advise you on the importance or urgency of any medical situation.

 

However in general, I can tell you that I call or see my primary care doctor's office (an internist) for all immediate health needs. They can then send me to other specialists or confer with them, if need be. But it can take ages (in many areas) to get in to see many specialists, including rheumatologists, so they generally make a very poor resource for immediate or emerging health issues.

 

So, my recommendation? Call your primary care doctor's office. Ask to speak to your doctor, doctor's nurse, or the clinic's triage nurse. They will ask you some questions, perhaps, and can then advise you on the urgency (or not) of your condition.

 

Another resource we use around our house (a lot) is to call the nurse's line of our health insurance company. They are terrific at advising us whether we should seek immediate help, be seen at our leisure, or if it is even something we can just treat at home. It has saved us a lot of doctor visits -- and on top of that, sometimes we've called over what we thought were probably very minor things, only to have them clear the way for an emergency visit. This works especially well in the V.A. (Veteran's Administration) system after hours, where they will even fax information to the E.R. so they are prepared for the arrival.

 

I'm not saying this is a fax-to-emergency situation you have here; I am just expounding because this is a very frequent situation for nearly all of us, wondering if/when/how/who we should contact when we have new, different or repeated symptoms to deal with.

 

Let us know what process you used to find care, and what happens, okay?

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I saw my primary doctor, an internist, on Thursday afternoon. He found that there was very little circulation to my index fingers. He started to talk about putting me on a blood pressure medication for the Raynaud's. I told him that my previous rheumatologist had placed me on nifedipine two months ago and that was why I was worried that my fingers had gotten to this point. He did not seem too concerned about the red spot on my one knuckle though. I had also had some pain in my lungs the previous night but no problems breathing. He listened to my lungs (I am also asthmatic) and found them to be clear. At the end of the appointment he placed me on Medrol for a week. He told me that if my symptoms did not clear up, got worse, or new symptoms appeared that I was to call his office. He said at that point he would contact the rheumatology department to have them get me in to see the new rheumatologist prior to my current appointment of August 10. I told him I was concerned that my fingers lost circulation while I was already being treated with medications. He said that the medications may still be working. He said this episode could have been a lot worse if I weren't already medicated. I never thought to ask him what the Medrol was supposed to be treating...fingers or lungs? My fingers have better moments right now so hopefully they are almost over this latest episode. I think 6 days is a long time for a Raynaud's episode.

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Hi Debo,

 

I wonder if the red spot on your knuckle could be a telangiectasia-type spot? I have one right above the first joint on my right index finger. It's a red dot about 4mm in diameter and if I press on it, it blanches and then comes right back. It was the first one I got, so I'm kind of fond of it. :blush:

 

I'd be really unhappy if a Raynaud's attack lasted 6 days! Have you been able to rewarm your hands at all?

 

Warm hugs,

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