Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Fallen into the Hands of Scary Medicine

So I virtually disappeared for a while. I took quite ill since right before Thanksgiving and I'm still struggling to right myself. But not without hospital, medicines and a diagnosis I really do not like. For once this does  not involve my endless asthma drama.

If I owe you a email, and I know I owe about a hundred right now, I'm going to try to get to that tomorrow as I'm still not able to move all my fingers yet. Putting this up while super stoned on narcotics.

What happened between the last posting and Thanksgiving is a lot of classes, homework, going with Laura on a shopping spree and hosting friends for the holiday meal.

First let me start by stating a big old 'Fuck You' to Larry Solomon at Biblical Gender Roles. While I'm in the middle of my medical goat rodeo he posts up that too many people go to the doctor so copays should be much much higher to stop that. If it were Larry-world I would have run up the national debt over this thumb-tastrophe!

Not too long after I'd loaded the dishwasher and started putting the fine china away my right thumb started aching. Not too badly at first, but enough to be a serious annoyance. Seemed I'd nibbled at a hang nail or picked at a cuticle. Not the first or last time this has happened to me but never has it ever gotten this infected before.

And that night I got no sleep. The thumb throbbed, worse than the time I smacked it hard with a hammer or had it bitten by a parrot. I was up most of the night tossing in tylenol trying to get the damn thumb to let me get some shut eye. No dice.

Morning dawns and I take part in that strange lottery at my local doctors office, dialing for appointments. Our town is so devoid of general practitioners that  you must call in at exactly 8:30 and keep calling until you get in. If you can't get through by 9:00 am stick a fork in yourself and your only options are the local Doc in the Box or the ER. I choose Doc in the Box.

Luckily for me the doctor I saw is someone I know that used to have his private practice here and he's good. Takes one look at my throbbing red thumb with a tiny blister of pus rising on the edge, notes I have a high fever and decides to do the nasal swab test for mrsa before sending me away clutching prescriptions. The test is a 'weak positive', whatever that is. So they take a sample of my pus for culturing and sent me away clutching lots and lots of prescriptions, multiple antibiotics supposedly effect against mrsa just in case this is it and codeine pain pills.

I go home with my pile of prescriptions and the groceries I laid in to deal with feeling like shit. Yeah, by that time I'm feeling like crawling into the bed, sick, gross sweaty sick and tired. Much imbibing of pills takes place and I don't move off the bed or sofa except to go to the john. I've even lost my prodigious appetite. It's crackers and diet coke for me.

Except I don't get better. My thumb swells to scary big proportions, develops over the course of days a blood-pus bubble on the top of my thumb the size of the thumb originally. Did I mention I also have a bleeding disorder. I can't bend some of my finger, I'm in enormous pain and now there's a red streak crawling up my wrist, which also hurts like crazy. Still high fever too.

Back to the Doc in the Box only to be sent immediately to the ER. I have to say this is one of the quickest non-asthma attack times I've been taken back to the treatment area. But then it begins. I have to explain to the medical personnel to look at my records on file with the hospital, yes, I have a mild bleeding disorder, yes I have scary crazy allergies, yes I have that thing common with bad asthmatics higher acid levels in my blood which means I always have a slightly higher than normal heart rate.

And why is it if you know you're a hard stick for blood and you show the nurse the only decent place to actually get blood that they feel like you don't know what the hell you're talking about? They go digging for a vein on their own only to end up getting the blood from the place you pointed out in the first place. This happened, but because my platelets are low my arms look like I've been severely beaten because of the bruises.

I kept telling them I was dehydrated, another reason why sticking me for blood wasn't going well and about the only time my blood pressure deviates from norm.

But the worst part of all of this is one of the doctors, a young woman fresh out of her residency/internship, tells me that because I'm fat I have to be diabetic. Not necessarily. My doctor tests my A1C levels and I've been borderline once and took steps to lower my blood sugar.

They kept me the entire day. I got a couple of bags of saline to rehydrate and a couple of doses of IV antibiotics, x-rays to make sure the infection had not spread to the bones in my hand, plus they drained the thumb of doom pus pocket off the top of my thumb, cleaned out some of the nastier bits on my thumbs and hit me with a shit ton of painkillers to accomplish that.

As I'm getting redressed, as if getting dressed the first time with only one hand wasn't hard enough, the only one of the doctors that treated me who tried to body shame me comes marching in. I popped a seriously high blood sugar. Already knew that because the head of the ER told me that mine was very high and he was going to give me some meds to take for it, but that there was a strong possibility that the crazy rise in levels was due to the infection alone. I likely wasn't a type 2 diabetic.

All new set of prescriptions including Metformin for the sugar. I go to the pharmacy with Jim and the funniest thing ever happens.First,  you have to understand that not only did I have trouble dressing myself with one hand I also happen to be dressed like I'm on crack, my pants are old and wrinkled, my sweater is stretched out and wrinkly. There was no way I could handling putting on a bra so my boobs are hanging somewhere around my belt line. I'm not even sure I combed my hair that morning. Between the bruises from the ER festooning me and how sick I am I'm sure I look like an extra on 'The Walking Dead'.

As Jim and I enter the store this elderly man that seems to smell very strongly of beer sidled up to me and said, "Is he your grandpa or your daddy? Do you think he'd mind if I took you out?" Jim and I burst out laughing over the sheer inappropriate absurdity of this moment before I tell the man that Jim is MY HUSBAND, not my father.

While filling the new prescriptions I went ahead and got a blood sugar meter, one of those ones you do not have to use right on your fingertips. With my bleeding I could see me sticking my finger and quickly being down a few quarts like some ancient Pinto station wagon.

Back home. Take drugs, days pass, feel slightly better. Have a good day, followed by a bad day. This is the pattern - good day/bad day/good day/bad day. I eye guzzled a giant pile of idiotic novels and have watched every 'Law & Order SVU' episode ever filmed since between the drugs and the lack of use of my right hand and all the dizzy/unbalances side effects of the Metformin I didn't trust myself with complex tasks like walking or filling the dishwasher.

Checked the blood sugar levels and they fell to just about pre-diabetic within 48 hours. They've since fallen again, but I was so triggered by Doctor Fat-Shamer that I'm back on my low carb diet. Also, this is the first time in months I've been weighed and I'm currently at the lowest weight I've been at in 25 years! 

Wake up Saturday in pain, pretty significant pain. The hand and thumb still hurt like a car rolled over them, but now I have pain in my left knee, left calf and left thigh. Try to stay off my leg, but I cannot recall doing anything that might have hurt them. I've been shuffling like a stoned zombie between the bed and the sofa.

Sunday morning, the pain is much worse. Back to Doc in the Box, who then sends me to the ER because the muscle/joint pain is a possible side effect of one of the antibiotics. When I get to the ER the doctor in charge says it's almost certain because of my size and inactivity that I have a blood clot. Point out to the doctor that my platelets are on the low side right now, so how is that even possible.

More tests, got rehydrated again. They did an x-ray of the knee, an ultrasound and a veinous doppler study. No clot, not only is my leg not swollen at all, the technician points out that the Bakers cyst I've had behind that knee is gone, I have great musculature around my knees and the blood flow is better than most folks my age. I can only credit the gym with this because years ago when I started having knee pain I started going to the gym to swim. It's helped. No knee replacements happening here any time soon! So the news wasn't all bad.

Then the doctor decides it's a sprain. I point out that a) it's not swollen and b) how can you sprain a limb in your sleep. To cap off this unlikely diagnosis I have to point out to him that the two new meds he prescribed I cannot take. One I'm allergic to and the other one is not appropriate for anyone with bleeding issues. I went home and put on my knee brace I scored the time I had a hairline fracture of my knee cap.

I am improving, but oh so slowly. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. Blood sugar numbers coming down even more. Closer than ever to normal. But I think I'm going to talk to my doctor, my lung doctor, about staying on Metformin. I can feel that my bronchial tubes are completely relaxed right now. Did a little Googling and found out that Metformin helps some asthmatics by reducing the swelling in the bronchi.

Today my sense of humor finally returned. Jim and I did a Costco run. I used one of those electric scooters that Jim loves to mutter at people riding by calling them fat asses. We mock fought over that scooter, I played bumper car with the scooter and his shopping cart before driving the thing around in figure eights. So stoned on the pain meds that the riding around was actually pretty fun. I know between Jim and I we likely freaked out some folks in Costco, especially when he was guffawing and telling me to get up and walk while I flipped the bird at him and tried to ram him with the scooter. I'm so glad he is my husband because we love to pick at each other and joke around. So don't be surprised if you see a video of me riding that scooter in a dangerous fashion while flipping the bird at the camera.

1 comment:

Bruce Gerencser said...

Wow, it sounds like you have had a rough two weeks. I do hope things are improving for you.