Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Hospital Misadventures

I have been going through a time of considerable fatigue. After  huge amounts of planning for special birthday events, much company, some travel, and six months of hives, I couldn't muster the strength to write even the simplest of blogs.

Finally, things calmed down and I found myself suffering from severe pain on the left side of my body. There is nothing more boring than being awake at all hours of the night and not being able to concentrate on reading, writing, or any other time passing activity. I played Candy Crush and some other mindless games to try to distract myself.

It was a long weekend and I needed to visit the hospital. Immediately, they hooked me up with stickers, wires, and machines before abandoning me in an emergency room. Eventually, I was informed that my heart was fine The doctor examining my level 9 pain diagnosed a pulled muscle. "Take Tylenol", was the suggestion. Only problem was, I had participated in no known activity that would pull a muscle.

Fast forward a few days and nights. The days were bearable, the nights were level 11 pain.  I know, the scale only goes to 10 but this was definitely level 11, allowing  me to sleep about an hour or less per night. Tylenol didn't do much...well, it did something that caused confusion on my next hospital trip.

I hauled myself and my "pulled muscle" back to the hospital. This time, I was x -rayed, had an ultrasound, and was once again hooked up to the heart monitor. The doctor noted a small rash and went on to tell me I was constipated. I was baffled as I sat in agony and was prescribed a laxative.

My daughter (a med student) looked at my rash, followed it around my body and immediately gave me a lecture about derma, nerves, and other complex vocab that |I didn't understand. Then she made
the pronouncement "You probably have shingles. That would explain the pain and the rash."

I had heard about shingles and the associated pain, but on the other hand, I had the vaccine. How could this be?

My appointment with my doctor confirmed the diagnosis. Zostovax is only effective in 80% of the population and I was one of the lucky 20%. I discovered that there's antiviral medication which, if taken immediately at the beginning of symptoms, would shorten the term of the suffering. I was now too late, having been told at the hospital that  I had a pulled muscle and was constipated.

Armed with a prescription for an arsenal of drugs, I left the doctor's office. I am now able to function....not fully, but somewhat. I need to problem now that I have stronger meds.

So I ask is it that a medical student and a family doctor are more readily able to diagnose something so simple and two doctors at emergency at the hospital could not? Shingles is a common ailment particularly in an area where the population is on the "elderly" side of the spectrum.

I believe I would be very concerned were I in a situation where I had an actual emergency and had to rely on this facility. On the other hand, perhaps they're experts in trauma, wounds, vehiclar accidents, just not common, almost eradicated diseases. Who knows?

No comments:

Post a Comment