Sunday, November 08, 2009

flu, strep or just a bad cold?

I don't like having what I have.

I'm not sure if it's the pig flu or strep or what, but I'm exhausted; my ankle swelling will not go down no matter what I do; I have a dry and scratchy throat; I'm coughing up lovely green-yellow small chunks of gak; and I could sleep till 2011 if I didn't have to go to the bathroom so much.

It started earlier this week with a scratchy throat. It was Monday, I remember, because hubby and I had obtained tickets to Celtic Thunder and I decided we were going barring anything short of a nuclear accident. It was followed by dryness to the point of painful swallowing. I didn't have a fever and my lymph glands weren't swollen, so I thought it was probably Mr. Pig in the flesh coming for a visit.

Now I've got the throat thing, the cough, the hocking up icky stuff, and - as usual with any irritation to my head or neck or any combination thereof, the tinnitus is nice and loud just in case I forget it's there while I'm focusing on how rotten I feel. I have a negative value of energy at this point. Yesterday I dozed off eating chicken noodle soup and spilled some on my lap. Today I spilled a small amount of diet soda on the thankfully sealed keyboard - yep, dozed off again. It seems that I can never get enough sleep. This isn't how I envisioned my life would be when I hit 49, but here we are.

I cancelled 3 appointments this week so I'll have to make them up. One will be Monday with the primary doc and since hubby has it now as well, and he has his regular diabetic checkup, we'll just hit her up all at once. I was supposed to see my surgeon today and once hubby got me awake enough to dial the phone and understand what I was doing, I called and rescheduled that one as well.

This is year 5 with my obnoxious visitor. Had you asked me in the beginning of 2004 I'd have told you that by 2010 we'd have the house paid off and own it outright so hubby could retire and spend some time working for himself instead of having to go punch a clock. We'd have my hospital insurance and I'd be enjoying the job I had just started 3 1/2 months before this hit me like a ton of bricks, knocking me out of the workforce and to the fringes of society as well.

I've learned a lot about the medical profession after spending 4+ years on this side of the fence. I had, like probably most medical professionals, a tainted view of how we treated patients. I found out really quickly that if you don't physically possess a disorder that shows that your body should be in pain, you will be looked on as a drug addict and/or drug seeker, as someone who is a whiner and wants to escape reality, and as a slacker who wants to live off the government. Even people who knew you when you were well won't believe you are in the pain you say you're in. I was ashamed to have been a nurse for so long when I was on the receiving end of some of the most rude, degrading, downright hateful treatment I've had in my adult life. I've been refused treatment and labeled as a drug-seeker by the hospital closest to our home. I had a headache doctor drop me because I had a period of time, before the pain was under control, where riding for an hour to his office to wait and spend half an hour there before the hour's ride back was just flat too much...he said I missed too many appointments. I also had to reschedule a lumbar puncture due to the pain he obviously had no intention of even desiring to understand, and the hospital got upset too. Now this is a hospital that was started by a nun who wanted all people to receive compassionate care. I dare say she'd have been a bit upset at how I was treated. When I was put on narcotics for pain control and had to have the obligatory psychiatrist's management and diagnoses, and my neurologist found out I had an anxiety disorder, he was all of a sudden convinced that my whole problem was because of the anxiety and he basically wrote me off. This was the same doctor whose wife I cared for while she was dying. The family liked how I cared for her, and he had seemed to be a caring doctor till he saw those words; it was like the lights had gone out in his brain after that.

It amazes me how those of us with invisible diagnoses are treated, not only by the general public, but by the medical profession. Honestly, they should be ashamed of themselves. We are taught that pain is subjective, and that if a patient says they are in pain, they are in pain. Not so. If the care provider thinks the patient is a nut, or a drug seeker, or both, they treat you like a liar, a drug addict, a piece of garbage to be swept out the door with the rest of the trash. It's a poor reflection on the American health care system. It's appalling.

It seems I'm on a rant. At least it's making me feel better.

I've gained back most of the weight I lost with my gastric bypass surgery. Part of it is enforced lack of activity. Exercise causes pain because of the constant motion. The sound of the video, turned up loud enough to hear, causes pain. The glare from the TV hurts. The other thing is that the medications I'm on can cause edema and increased appetite. I promised myself when I had the surgery that I'd not gain the weight back.

I lied.

I'm disappointed in myself even though I know it's not all my fault. I know I'm a stress-eater and the ten years we've been married has had relatively few stress-free months. Accidents, storm issues, a tornado, an estranged daughter and family, the breakup of my son's marriage, job losses and gains, a son and a son-in-law now diagnosed with seizure disorder, a grandson who had just turned 2 and had meningitis, possible encephalitis, and we weren't sure if he was going to make a granddaughter born to my still-married son and his girlfriend while the children from his marriage live with his estranged wife's two sets of parents...

Still, I should be able to relax and slow down on the eating. The fact of the matter is, I can't. It is a well-entrenched coping mechanism I've learned and learned well in my almost 50 years on this planet.

Eh, I'm done for now. Time to go put my feet up and read the captioning on the TV for a while.

1 comment:

WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

Hoping you get to feeling better! sounds like you need antibiotics!

I have had the same experience with modern heatlhcare. In my opinion, writing off difficult patients is very commonly done nowadays, and they often use somatic disorders to disguise their lack of caring and/or diagnostic skills. I think neuros are the worst, but probably becuase I have seen more incompentent neuros than other specialists!

Because I work around healthcare I know how easily you get labeled a drug seeker "frequent flyer" as they say. It is an attitude I know that comes from people who are just seeking drugs, but they need to have a way to differentiate legitimate illness from drug seeking behavior!