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Friday, April 20, 2012

Antibiotics and Dr. Saturday and Ultrasounds, Oh My!


This week I’ve continued on the antibiotics… 14 antibiotic pills per day! That’s hard to swallow in more ways than one. ;) The antibiotics are very powerful and have been wrecking havoc on my poor tummy. I have been needing up to 8 Lomotil (antidiarrheal) pills per day just to prevent bad dehydration and to allow me to absorb my meds. The usual things to slow me down, like yogurt, rice and other white carbs, aren’t helping. I added in bananas and applesauce, and it worked great - allowed me to actually stop taking Lomotil – but only for 2 days. For the last few days, despite both the foods and the meds, everything is going straight through me. I am trying very hard to stay on top of my fluids. I will be so glad when I finish the course on Monday night! Ostomates/J pouchers: any tips or tricks that I’m not thinking of?

This week has been really tough as far as POTS symptoms are concerned – I’ve felt especially yucky each morning. I feel so weak and shaky and my heart has been racing. I’m drinking at least 3 liters daily and eating lots of salt, but I simply cannot stay hydrated because of the antibiotics. I know that the dehydration makes my symptoms worse. Ironically, the neurologist asked me to try to lay off the antidiarrhea med, because IT can elevate the heart rate! So my choices are: don’t take Lomotil and get really dehydrated, making my POTS worse, or take the Lomotil to try to stay hydrated and make my POTS worse. On the days when I was off Lomotil, I still had pretty bad POTS symptoms, though, so I think it’s probably best to take it!

My fevers finally stopped and my pain started to go down on Monday, which is great! I am still having the drainage, though, so we know the abscess is still present. I saw Dr. Saturday on Wednesday, and he was stumped. We can’t see the abscess on MRI and he couldn’t see where the drainage was coming from when I was in the OR. I’m feeling better than I was, which is good, but he would like to be able to identify (and fix) the source of this issue!

He wanted to talk to my Urogyn, but he was running behind and wanted to go see another patient. So he asked me if I would call, posing as his office staff and get her on the line so they could confer. Never been asked by a doctor to do THAT before, but I understood his reasoning: if a patient calls a doctor’s office, there is NO WAY they will actually get to speak with the doctor.

So I called, and didn’t have to lie at all. One of the options on the automated menu was: “If you are calling from a physician’s office, please press 1.” Well, I WAS calling while sitting in his office… so I pressed 1, and then told the nurse that Dr. Saturday wanted to speak with the Urogyn regarding a mutual patient. I just didn’t mention that the mutual patient was… myself. Unfortunately, she wasn’t seeing patients that day, but they gave me her academic office number and they paged her.

She called me back after she talked to Dr. Saturday. She said that if an abscess is going to respond to antibiotics, it should do so after two weeks. I’ve been on multiple, high-powered antibiotics for nearly a month without resolution of the drainage. She recommended an ultrasound of my pelvis to see if they could find the abscess. The ultrasound is not as good a test as an MRI, but it would show if the infection is in my uterus. If so, they could probably drain it with a very small surgical procedure that wouldn’t even involve an incision. She said she really hopes this would be the case, since no one is anxious to take me back to the OR for a big surgery after all I’ve been through. I couldn’t agree more.

The nurse called me last night around 6. “Hi, the doctor asked me to call you and give you the number for the imaging location. Did you call to schedule your ultrasound yet?” This seemed a bit nonsensical to me: the doctor asked her to call and give me the number. This meant that I didn’t have the number. So… how could I possibly have called and scheduled the test? Anyways, I’m sure she was just tired – it was 6:00 and she was still at work! No fun! I called first thing today to schedule it, and they got me in today.

I always forget how “interesting” it is when I get ultrasounds. First, the tech does the test. Then they say, “Um, let me get my supervisor to come take a look.” Then the supervisor comes in and repeats the scan. Then says, “Let me go talk to the radiologist.” I end up telling my life story quite a few times and have a lot of ultrasound goo everywhere by the time everyone is done scanning me!

They thought they saw an abscess in my pelvis at first, but it turned out to be nothing (confirmed by the supervisor and the radiologist). The radiologist walked me out and said she was sorry; this test didn’t really help at all with finding the abscess, and she wasn’t really sure what other test to suggest. We’ll see what the Urogyn thinks when I see her on Monday! My hope and prayer is that the abscess and drainage will completely resolve and that I won’t need any more antibiotics or tests or surgeries… EVER. ;) But no matter what ends up happening, I hope and pray that I reflect the attitude of Christ – one that is willing to say, “Not my will, but Yours.” 

Hannah ;)

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