…about a man named Jed, poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed…
Oh, wait, wrong story. I was going to tell you all the gory details of my being sick. My mistake. So for anyone who cares (and I’m sure a few who don’t) here’s my story:
I haven’t been feeling well for quite a while. How long exactly, it’s hard to pinpoint. You know how it is. Life gets in the way of paying attention to our bodies warning signals. I’ve had normal “illnesses” during all this, so I guess I have attributed a lot of my symptoms to that.
The first warning signal that I ignored, for months, was the exhaustion. I’m always tired. I could sleep all the time. I mean it. All. The. Time. That’s not normal. I attributed that to the fact that I could be a little depressed due to our financial situation, but we’re doing okay. Treading water, so to speak, so I don’t really have that excuse.
The second warning signal that I ignored was an upset stomach. Easily self diagnosed, I told myself. After all, I’m a smart woman and can surely figure these little things out without medical attention. I have acid reflux like my Mom I told myself definitively. I can treat that over the counter no problem. Thus started my months long love affair with Prilosec. A fourteen day course and I’m right as rain for a month! Got that handled…I’m so clever.
The third and most important signal that I ignored was intestinal disorders. I won’t go into detail due to the “icky” nature of this subject, but suffice it to say that I never knew on a daily basis what I would be dealing with. Lots of grumbling coming from that area too, I just chalked it up to my acidic tummy making things seem out of whack.
This next part is the most personal part and I can’t leave it out of the story and have you understand what happened.
I started having some trouble in the girly department. Again being the wonderfully intelligent, medically trained (not) woman that I am, I again self diagnosed and decided I had a yeast infection. Go to the pharmacy, buy the over the counter stuff… just to be on the safe side I got the one you use for three days instead of just one as I felt it warranted a little extra treatment due to the severity of the symptoms. It didn’t work. Hmm… Gee… let’s wait a little longer (can anyone say stupid?). After ten days, off I go to the doctor’s office. Big surprise, it’s not a yeast infection. It’s a bacterial infection. So, off I go from the doctors office with a prescription in my hot little hand and everything is right with the world… right?
Wrong. After five days of taking the oral medication, the way I was supposed to, the symptoms really weren’t any better. Call the doctor. Two days later I’m on a different type of medication for it. Twice a day. I got three doses done.
On Good Friday (4/22) I was feeling extra tired, so went to bed to read for a bit before going to sleep. While I was reading, I became aware of the fact that my face was very hot. Also, I was very cold. I know how to fix that (again with the being an idiot thing), grab the dog and an extra blanket to warm up. A few minutes later my daughter came in to give me a kiss goodnight and told me “Mama, you’re on fire!” I took my temperature… 101.8. Not good. My (in this case, good) advice to my self was take two Tylenol and call me in the morning. Unfortunately, morning came a lot sooner than anticipated. By 2:00am, I was up, rejecting the Tylenol I had confidently taken a couple of hours earlier. By 4:00am my temperature had gone up to 102.4 degrees. Call the doctor. She recommends that I go to the emergency room after hearing all of my symptoms.
Well, I’m too smart for that. I know how expensive the emergency room is and with our limited insurance (or even possible lack there of due to a story I won’t go into here) I decide that I am going to wait until the local clinic opens at 9:00am.
By 5:00am, I gave up. My temperature was up to 104 degrees and I was miserable. Off to the emergency room. IV’s for liquids, drugs for nausea, chest x-rays, a cat scan of my belly and twelve hours later, I’m admitted to the hospital.
Well, Mrs. Maresh, you have a bacterial infection (duh…I already knew that); no, it’s a bladder infection; no it’s an unspecified bacterial infection in your intestines; no, colitis. Yes,that’s it, we’re sure it’s ulcerative colitis. Once we get your potassium up, your fever to stop coming back and your white blood cell count down (it was at 25,000 and normal is 10,000) you can go home and follow up with a gastroenterologist.
Tuesday, since I was still doing poorly, they decided to have a look see at what was causing the problem so they could better treat me. A sigmoidoscopy is what is needed they said. They gave me the cutest little tiny orange pills to clear everything out from the top down even though I hadn’t had anything to eat since Friday night. Guess that water and three sips of chicken broth can be oh-so dangerous (snort). Well, they worked wonderfully… except that they didn’t just clear me out from the top down. They cleared me out from the middle down and the middle up all at once, if you get my meaning. Next came the really fun part… not just one, but TWO enema's, now that’s an experience I don’t ever want to repeat. Never. Ever. Never ever. Wheel me into the procedure room, leave me laying there, un-sedated, for 20 minutes with my tush hanging out for all the world to see before the doctor arrives and I get to go, blissfully, to sleep.
Ah, now we know what the real problem is! While scoping me out (ha!) they ended up doing a full colonoscopy and found out that what I really have is Diverticulitis. Thank goodness! MUCH better than Colitis!
So after five full days in the hospital, ten pounds of weight loss (was hoping for more, might as well have gotten something positive out of this situation) and missing Easter with my family…I got to come home. I’ve slept most of the time I have been home. I’m still exhausted. Feeling a bit like I’m 95. I’m still taking three different antibiotics (they had me on four in the hospital, plus potassium) and can barely eat anything… but, I’m home.
If you’ve read through my whole experience…bless you! If you haven’t, that’s okay too. I just felt the need to put it down in print…the frustrated author in me I guess. If you take anything from this at all, take this: Don’t wait to be checked out…you never know what could be wrong and I was lucky…other’s aren’t always so lucky.