I made my way through the festivities with frequent naps and pyjama days. I kept thinking I'll feel better tomorrow.
As New Years approached I was feeling worse and with some great plans in place for New Years Eve I was determined to get myself well enough to attend.
You're probably asking yourself why I didn't see a doctor sooner. Well the short answer is my doctor is on holidays until the 12th. Going to a clinic for me is a long confusing process. My medical history is complicated and comes into play each time I visit a doctor for the simplest things; and it is never simple, so I avoid it.
I woke up from what little sleep I did have on the 29th and decided not only did I need to see a doctor, I needed an X-ray of my lungs so I headed to emergency. And when I said the simple can be complicated what happens next is a good indicator of that.
At triage I'm asked what my symptoms are. They are, I'm congested, runny nose, phlegm, and discomfort in my chest. I'm asked if I have a fever, I tell them no because I have a spinal cord injury and since that time my body does not produce a fever. I'm asked to explain that again and four questions later I'm asked did I take my temperature in the last 24 hours. I answer no; I do not get a temperature so I do not take it. I am then asked if I have taken anything for a temperature.
At that moment I haven't even seen a medical person and I want to walk out the door. I'm so sick, exhausted and I have literally no patience to deal with this. I'm asked to explain the congestion in the chest and within minutes I'm on an EKG machine despite me telling them I have a lung disease which can cause me to feel this way.
I have an irregular EKG, I'm put immediately into a bed and hooked up to a heart monitor. So it begins.
I'm asked to leave the EKG leads on my body because they may want to redo it after blood work. I refuse. There was a time I'd cooperate despite the damage it does to my sensitive skin but I'm in survival mode now and I will not allow my skin to become raised and irritated for the convenience of two minutes to replace them when and if they are needed. I'm kind to the technician and explain how sensitive my skin has become and she sees it herself as some of the leads are taking bits of skin off as she removes them. One battle won.
My nurse, a humorous if not nurturing soul, sets me up and offers to go find Barry and bring him in to commiserate with me.
Finally I see the doctor and she asks how long I have had the cough and fever. I have neither I tell her, she looks at her notes and shakes her head. Off to a great start. She explains they will wait for blood work to return to rule out heart issues then send me for an X-ray. I caution her that they will see spots on three lobes of my lungs as I have a lung disease called sarcoidosis.
Off I go to X-ray and return. Within a short time of being hooked up to monitors it is clear my blood pressure is rising fast. Barry and I discussed it and decided to wait for a number then try to explain autonomic disreflexia to my nurse and doctor. The number hit and we spoke to our nurse. Surprisingly he did not downplay it or ask us to wait. He asked how it is usually treated and went off to find the doctor who immediately prescribed the appropriate medication. That's a first. I'm usually told I'm anxious and that's what is causing my high blood pressure. Etc etc. I've been lying almost asleep and told my anxiety was causing it so this reaction was so refreshing. My doctor has been doing his part to educate staff on this rare condition and I think it has worked. He will be pleased.
My X-ray came back and the radiologist suggested a catscan because there was so much scarring on my lungs it was difficult to see wether I had pneumonia or not.
The doctor gave me the choice and it's one I don't take lightly. I've been told a catscan is 100 times the radiation of an X-ray. Her argument was a good one and she added that it had been a very long time since I had my lungs scanned and with a chronic disease it was good to do that from time to time. I agreed since I'm seeing a pulmonary specialist this month and a catscan would be helpful.
Off I went to catscan and having had many in the past I answered the questionnaire confidently and assured them I hadn't ever had a reaction to the contrast. Immediately upon the contrast entering my body I started sneezing ten to twelve times in a row. I wasn't concerned but they sure were. It was a medical emergency!! The room filled with three techs and a doctor who quickly sat me up and examined me. I assured them I felt fine and once examined and no hives were found everyone rested a little easier. I later learned you can arrest for a reaction so I see why now they reacted the way they did.
The catscan showed a progression of the disease but not pneumonia or blockages. Good news of course, but what now. My doctor was determined not to prescribe an antibiotic because the correct number of days had not been passed will an illness. She painstakingly explained that medicine has change and antibiotics are not given out very freely anymore.
While I agree in theory, I didn't make much since for her to ask me to wait three more days and come back and I respectfully said so. I said with a comprised immune system that I really don't want to visit emergency or a clinic full of sick people. Coming back to tax the health care system with me unusualness once again doesn't make sense either.
Long story short, she questioned wether I had some strain of flu, or a sinus infection. She ordered a steroid spray for my sinus, a rinse and a puffer, finally she agreed to give me a prescription for the antibiotics in case in three days I am not better. Phew!!!
Twelve hundred words to tell you I have possibly a sinus infection that has irritated my sarcoidosis. That's why I love my doctor and hate when he takes holidays.