Urgent Care Dr. calling the ER Dr. about me--To The Hospital Again?

Well, today was another adventure in the life of a chronically ill, a little too-unique to be fun, patient. That would be me.

I've been taking antibiotics for 10 days now. With any infection, along with needing the medication for the problem itself, because I have Addison's disease, I also have to go up on my steroids to give my immune system the cortisol it needs to function. If I don't do this, infections get worse and worse till I die (not exaggerating, it almost happened once).

Along with that, because I take several prescriptions, any new medication has interactions, so I've been adjusting my med schedule around so the ones that interact won't interact as much, which affects my adrenal system and my blood sugar, etc., etc., etc.

You get the idea. Sickness-not fun.

So last night I had another episode, for lack of a better word to call it. I was home alone (Brian and the kids were visiting family) and started to get that same numbness and tingling in my legs and feet, then my arms and hands, then my head. Got lightheaded and dizzy and my heart was pounding really fast. (BTW it's very difficult to stay calm and think rationally about symptoms when your heart is racing all over the house!)

I made it through the night with some extra hydrocortisone to help my body adapt to whatever on earth was going on (and a fair bit of talking to the Lord, reminding Him and myself that I trusted Him but I sure needed help!), but called the doctor first thing in the morning to make an appointment. No good, she was booked solid all day.

So I went to urgent care...again. This is always a gamble, because having several conditions make you complicated, and that just gets more complicated if you're seeing a doctor for the first time and all. On the way to the doctor, I prayed that God would fight for me. That's the thing I dread most about going to new doctors, trying to convince them I do have all these issues and they are worth taking seriously (this is hard for my personality in general, but when you feel lousy it's even worse).

God was very good. He gave me the same doctor who had prescribed the antibiotics in the first place. The man listened to everything I said, ordered bloodwork, and did other testing. He came back to tell me he was concerned about me being in a minor Addisonian Crisis. I was surprised he knew what that was. Addison's is rare and not a lot of doctors know much about it.

He even told me he'd called the ER doctor at the hospital to make sure he was doing everything that needed to be done. Wow, God bless that man!

I fully expected to be sent to the hospital, which was not exciting. I used to have a sense of adventure thinking about a hospital stay--getting to lay in bed while other people brought me food and took care of my medication schedule. After a couple 2-week stays the glamor has worn off. Maybe it was the time my blood vials got mixed up with some other guys and I almost got treated for something I didn't even have. Or maybe it was the time I was told to keep track of my own urine output because I was a "bright girl" and could do it myself. Or maybe it's because, when I'm on stress doses of hydrocortisone for emergencies, I get about 2 hours of sleep per night and my body thinks it's starving to death.

Worst of all, if I had to go to the hospital it would be because my electrolytes were low, and I dreaded the idea of having to get them intravenously. Especially the potassium. Potassium through the veins burns. Not as in ouch, that burns. As in cry, give me morphine, do anything to make it stop kind of burns.

I had a nurse tell me she cries whenever she has to administer it to patients because she knows it hurts so badly.

You can imagine my relief when the doctor came in and told me that, though my potassium and calcium were low, they weren't so low that I needed them through an IV. Praise God!

I am now back home instead of at the hospital, with medication to treat my latest different infection, taking extra potassium and calcium (added to what I already take daily to keep them up because of the disease) and drinking tons of fluids. I may even enjoy a long shower and then a nice nap, being sick and all.

...Just another day in the life of a person with chronic illness.

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