My medical update

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Marguerite, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Someone asked me in General (Sunday good morning thread) to let people know how I got on today at the various doctors.

    Where to start? OK, we've just had the average August monthly rainfall for Sydney, in the last 24 hours. So we woke this morning to the news that our main road out of town was flooded. That meant a long drive to get round to 'the mainland'. All the way there were waterfalls cascading through the rainforest plus a lot of mist on the road near the headwaters of the main waterfall. It's actually what this road (and the village on the highway it leads to) is called - Waterfall.

    Because I left early to beat the traffic I actually was early at hospital No 1. That is the doctor who oversees my pain medications. Recent blood tests show my liver isn't coping too well, we had to talk about that. He doesn't think I'm taking enough paracetamol for it to be the cause, so we're still stumped.

    Then the next hospital - two suburbs on. The urologist, to try to sort out why I can't get rid of this current infection.

    For most people when they get a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), they are given antibiotics and it clears up. But I'm now allergic to almost all antibiotics. There are two left - vancomycin and gentamycin (hey, if there are more, please tell me). Both of these are restricted here, to avoid the dangers of unnecessarily breeding bugs (especially enterobacteria) which are resistant to these. Resistant enterococci are capable of passing their genetic material (bearing their acquired resistance) onto nasties like staphylococci, hence the nervousness.
    So I've had to get special dispensation to be given gentamycin when I get an infection. And because I also have a damaged kidney on one side, I need to be REAL careful to not let an infection get out of control. So I have my own prescribed stash of gentamycin ampoules in my garage fridge.

    And now the gentamycin doesn't seem to be working. Two weeks ago on the Sunday I called my favourite district nurse to please come and give me another injection. She's a dear, very gentle and goes very slowly. it really can hurt a lot to inject 12 mls into muscle ANYWHERE. We use a large bore needle because when the hole is larger, the fluid comes out with less velocity, less turbulence. Hence less tissue bruising. Something husband's doctor taught him.

    Ten days later, I finally accept that the gentamycin simply hasn't done its job. I miraculously had a local GP available that day. He did some pathology, sent me home to fetch old ultrasounds and more gentamycin, gave me another 12 mls (other side, please!) and told me to come back in two days to see the NEXT locum.

    Two days later - test results are inconclusive. Nothing grown, but clear evidence of problems. Plus, liver is crook. Not dangerously so yet, but we need to know why to make sure it doesn't get worse. More tests. The locum was dithering - I should have more antibiotics, or maybe I shouldn't, what did I think? I said I think I need to talk to a doctor who doesn't need to be asking ME the questions.

    I went home and immediately rang my urologist. He was away for the day, totally out of range. The nurse told me to take more fizzy powder stuff (every three hours if needed) and come in on Monday morning (today).

    So I sat waiting today, since I was a squeeze-in appointment. Very glad I'd left difficult child 3 at home, doing his work under difficult child 1's supervision (I hoped). A wet, miserable day.
    The doctor was really on the ball - we talked about just about everything, including my weird anatomy which predisposes me to infections plus makes me even more at risk with the kidney. No, nothing can be done surgically to reduce the risk. And he's finally agreed, he doesn't want to do any procedures on me while there's any inflammatory process going on. Yes, it's probably the MS-like problems neurologically that are behind this. He rang for the latest path results - even worse. But still nothing cultured. Very bad news.

    "You need another shot," he finally said. "And more tests. We need to make sure there are no stones and nothing else nasty."
    At first I was going to get my nurse friend to inject me when I got home- that's where my stash is. And with the flood, 'home' was 90 minutes' drive away. So I rang the nurse - no answer. She could be out for half an hour, or a week. I spent the rest of the morning going up and down the hospital to the pharmacy to fill the prescription, back to the doctor for the injection, then the long walk back in the rain to the car (with a sore rump, this time).

    I stopped to buy some fried fish at the first bridge, to fortify myself for the long trek. I resisted the impulse to explore the north road from the highway side, to check out how high the flood was - the police will book you if they think you're likely to attempt to cross a flooded causeway.

    Finally got home with no appetite, gave the rest (most) of my lunch to difficult child 3 and went to bed. Minutes later, my nurse friend rang, in a panic because she hadn't been home for me. So now I've got her lined up for Wednesday's shot, I've managed to explain it's not her fault if my bugs have become resistant, and she got off the phone because another caller was coming through. mother in law. "So you're back then? How did you get on?"

    I finally managed to put the phone down over an hour after I got home. I'd already rung husband on my mobile phone (hands-free - it's legal that way) while I was on my way home.

    I dragged myself to the shop this evening to buy some chicken for dinner, then dropped in on difficult child 3's godmother, who went to the funeral today (close friend's 19 year old daughter suicided a week ago, looks like a Zoloft reaction). It was every bit as ghastly as we had feared, although it did the poor girl justice.

    So what with the rain, the floods, the funeral - it was an Edgar Allen Poe day, for sure.

    I see the urologist in a month. I still have to organise the tests - hate 'em. Plus I don't want to be driving to an ultrasound if I have to drive through floods for well over an hour, AND in the rain (something about all that water running over the car and across the road, while I'm trying to hold on).

    OK, now you have more detail than I tell even my family. But hey, guys - you ARE family.

    And the lighter moment of the day - we're in the unofficial run-up to our next election (date not yet given). Our current government has a HUGE fight on its hands to not lose the election and all the dirty tricks are coming out. The Leader of the Opposition is in the firing line today - he's the one who is tipped to win at the moment. By a landslide. His lead in the polls is embarrassing to the government and a lot of Australians are very happy about this. Unlike you, we have a much harder time changing political leaders, they can stay in power for decades.

    So the government trotted out a story of the Opposition Leader visiting a strip club in New York, back in 2004. 'AND he was drunk. AND he was looking at naked women...' (shocked hushed tones).
    The media have been having a field day. The headline in this morning's paper showed the Opposition Leader's photo and said, "Poll Dancer!"
    Now, in almost any other country, this would be the kiss of death for a political career. But in Australia? The main reaction is, "Hey, wow! he's human after all! His halo is NOT too tight." Or, "He's an Aussie male, in New York... whaddayaexpect him to do?"
    And the most priceless reaction of all, from our pro-environment, anti-war Greens party - "This happened four years ago, that an ordinary Labor politician (not Party Leader at the time) got drunk and went to a strip club. Also four years ago, our stone cold sober Prime Minister sent our troops to Iraq and they're still there."

    The Greens leader managed to answer political muckraking AND get his own party policies out into the open, all in one hit.

    And a quick poll tonight showed that the government has slipped again, despite this latest attempt to smear their opponent. This is proving to be entertaining, indeed.

  2. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Please take care of yourself. You have done more than a lot of people do in a month. REST!!!!!
  3. Janna

    Janna New Member


    I'm exhausted just from reading your thread. I do wonder how you are, so I'm glad you posted the update.

    Antibiotic ~ ask about Zithromax. Try that one yet? Heard of it? Maybe it's not available in Australia, dunno. Anyway, easy child, when he was small, got TONS of ear infections. The Amoxicillian (which is typically what is prescribed here) worked the first few times, then not at all. Zithromax was nice, because unlike Amoxil, it was done in 5 days, not 10.

    Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)'s are awful. I used to get them as well as bladder infections, alot. Painful. I'm so sorry you even have to deal with the ongoing issue.

    Sending positive thoughts to you for better days, my friend.

  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh my! I am so sorry. What a day. And what a long, drawn out, nasty infection. So sorry.
    Take care.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I just checked the info site Janna (thanks for it, though) - zithromax is out. I'm allergic to erythromycin (along with about 20 others).

    The other problem is how the drug is metabolised - for a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) (same thing as bladder infection, but Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) also can describe it when it gets to the kidney) you need an antibiotic which is rapidly excreted through the kidney, so it can flood the kidney, ureters and bladder with antibiotic.

    I just had the District Nurse here for my Wednesday shot. difficult child 3 said he wanted to watch because he felt that seeing needles in use could help him get over his fear of needles, blood draws and injections.
    I warned him that watching meant watching my bare behind - he said he didn't mind if I didn't. So I let him watch - he was intent on it all and listening to the explanation from the sister on just why and how it all happens.

    If this still doesn't resolve (and I've really got no reason to think it will, when I STILL have symptoms) then I guess I'll have to call my specialist again and see what he wants to do next. Meanwhile I keep drinking the fizzy stuff... and buy more swabs. I couldn't find one so we improvised. husband had a bottle of ethanol handy so I had it to use, otherwise I'd have been raiding the gin or the vodka to improvise an alcohol swab.

    Life's interesting in this quiet little seaside village.

  6. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    What about Cipro?

    10 years ago I was getting kidney infections (a couple almost went septic) every month. This went on for 2 years until I finally passed a kidney stone. (I had a IVP didn't show any stones.) They put me on Cipro everytime and it worked and fast. The first infection was the worst because I didn't recognize the symptoms until it was really bad and I ended up in the ER (I thought I had the flu) and they wanted to admit me, but I didn't have insurance then and couldn't afford. Refused to be admitted. By that time I wasn't keeping anything down and they told me if I couldn't keep the pills down I would have to be admitted. I think it was sheer willpower that kept those pills from coming back up.

    I'm so sorry you're going through this.
  7. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Dear Marg,
    I'm so sorry, I know it's frustrating and scary. Years ago, I had a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) while undergoing chemo. I was given the drug Cipro as well, and it was cleared up immediately. I don't know if you can take that one or not. I hope you start to feel better soon. -Alyssa
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Sorry, it's also off my list. It's called Ciproxin over here.

    I've got to remember, I have to ring and make an appointment for an ultrasound. The doctor doesn't think there's a stone but he wants to rule it out. Plus a scan in the last year or so found a cyst somewhere, I really can't remember whether it was kidney or ovary. Or maybe I'm remembering the cyst on difficult child 3's kidney which they said to not worry about.

    My problem is aggravated by the MS-like symptoms I've had for a long time - my bladder won't let go properly. I have to allow a lot of time in the bathroom, I generally have a copy of "War and Peace" or equivalent in there. Not helped by the slightly weird anatomy, which send infection northward too often.

    Allergies - penicillin was the first, back when husband & I first married. Then a few months later, sulfa drugs. Then erythromycin. All within a year.
    Since then, a lot of newer antibiotics are sufficiently closely related to the oldies-but-goodies for me to react to them also, at least after the first few times. Not all reactions are allergic - just most. A lot of the others involve vomiting or diarrhoea, which later turns into urticaria reactions. But when you're taking oral antibiotics, if you can't keep them in your body they won't do any good.
    Now the list includes macrodantin, cephalosporin, triprim, tetrex, ciproxin, noroxin and other non-antibiotics such as all NSAIDS and any medications coloured purple with indigo carmine. And iron supplements.

    is it any wonder I try to grow our own vegetables and herbs? The best defence is to stay healthy - it's just not working well for me right now.

    I should sign off now and head for bed - plus, my derriere hurts like the dickens.

    G'night, all.

  9. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I haven't been around for awhile. Today is my first day back. I have lots of catching up to do!!! I just want you to know that I'm thinking about you and hoping you feel lots better real soon!!!

    Sending cyber hugs. WFEN :flower: