22 September 2009

Health Update

I've mentioned it on Twitter, in some Ravelry forums, and in passing to some friends, but I guess I should officially blog about it, too.

On Saturday, 12 September, I woke up with what I thought was the beginning of a cold. Well, technically, I thought I just had a bit of a sore throat from sleeping in a dry house. See, I had stayed at Brook's house since we were waking up at 5:30 a.m. to go set up her booth at New Jersey Sheep & Wool festival. But unfortunately, it turned into what I thought was a cold.

It was bad enough that I called out sick on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, I decided to go to work, because we had our monthly Big-Ass meeting on Thursday. And I'm responsible for doing a lot of prep work for said meeting. Once I got to work, however, my coughing got REALLY bad (I don't know if was due to the subway air quality or office air quality), and I threw up. As soon as Peter (the doctor who covers our department) got in, I called him and asked if he would see me. He did, and once he heard my symptoms, he suspected H1N1 flu, did an NP culture (which feels like a lobotomy done via big-ass Q-tip up the nose), and sent me home with orders to NOT return on Thursday, possible return on Friday depending on flu test results.

He started me on Tamiflu and Compazine, which is what I usually take for nausea. In case I couldn't keep the Compazine down, he also included a script for Compazine suppositories. Yay (happily, they were NOT needed). He also gave me strict instructions to call and check in with him every day.

Thursday, because my coughing was so bad, he added a script for guiafenesin with codeine (my med of choice for a bad cough). He also called in a script for an antibiotic, in case I needed it but I wasn't to start it unless he directed me to. But the thought was that I'd have it on hand and wouldn't have to make another trip to the pharmacy. Since I was still extremely nauseous with Compazine, he called in a script for Zofran, which is what they give people taking chemotherapy; it's the strongest anti-nausea drug out there. Even with Zofran I'm still nauseous, but at least I don't constantly feel like horking up anything I eat.

Friday, after I'd been on Tamiflu for three days and NO sign of improvement. He had me start the antibiotic. The rapid flu test was negative, so they sent the culture off for the more sensitive test to see if I really had H1N1. Peter and I also discussed the possibility of me coming in for chest x-rays to see if I had pneumonia. But we ultimately decided not to. He said if I did, he'd basically put me on the same antibiotic he had me on anyway, and he'd only admit me if I needed IV antibiotics and fluids because I couldn't keep anything down. Since I was keeping things down (albeit just barely), I elected to not go in for x-rays.

Plus, although I love Peter to death and trust being under HIS care immensely, I didn't want to be admitted to my own hospital. I'd have to divulge ALL of my health conditions to people I work with on a daily basis, my hospital is NOT close to my closest friends, and Peter was leaving for the weekend and wouldn't be able to closely supervise my care anyway.

On Saturday and Sunday, I tried home nebuliser treatments for my coughing. Peter kept asking me if my cough was flu cough or asthma. Early in the illness, I KNEW it wasn't asthma, but at this point it was getting hard to tell. I didn't THINK I was wheezing, but the cough WAS different. OTOH, albuterol and the nebuliser weren't seeming to help.

On Monday, I went to work not knowing if I'd be sent home again since I was still coughing. Technically, if I had H1N1, I'd not be contagious any more after Saturday evening. But the final culture wouldn't be done until Monday evening at the very earliest. If it WASN'T H1N1, then the contagious-window could be different. I was hoping that Peter would listen to my lungs, hear a lot of wheezing, declare that I was having a lot of asthma, and we'd proceed accordingly.

Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, he couldn't get me to wheeze at all either yesterday or today. So yesterday he added Tessalon pearls to the mix. I'm not sure when I didn't think of that, since I used those last year when my doctor thought I had whooping cough and they worked well. Today, I was still coughing every time someone looked at me, so he added prednisone, which is generally a last-ditch effort with me.

So, we're at the end of the line folks.

I've been on: an anti-viral, an antibiotic, two anti-nausea meds, a cough syrup, a cough pill, and now a steroid. And I'm still lethargic, cranky, and coughing like crazy.

One of the most difficult parts was telling Mom about it all. She and I are really close, so I've been telling her everything, but it's hard because I know she worries. OTOH, there's no way I'd NOT tell her and then suddenly call her and go "Oh, btw, I'm in hospital with pneumonia."

On the flip side, I called Orin (my adoptive father) tonight to say, "I was really sick last week. They think it was H1N1, but they aren't sure. What's shaking in your world?" and he told me about the 23-pound catfish he caught that wouldn't fit in his sink.

So, that tells you pretty much all you need to know about my relationship with my parents. lol

PS. Apparently my lab doesn't read flu cultures every day. So we still don't know.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man. I can't believe you still don't have any answers. That would drive me absolutely batty. Are you feeling any better at all? My mom's partner is really sick right now but wouldn't go get tested for H1N1. So now we just have to wait and hope she gets better on her own (they have no health insurance).

    Feel better missy!