Tuesday, February 9, 2016

On The Road To Recovery

I've been sick since December 31, 2015, New Year's Eve day. I didn't go to the doctor until the 14th of January. I thought I just had a chest cold or something minor like that. It wasn't. I was really sick. We guessed Walking Pneumonia. He prescribed a 10-day regimen of Prednisone and another medicine for bacterial infection. 

I didn't really grasp how sick I was until today as I'm starting to feel slightly human again. Almost 6 weeks of coughing, wheezing, congestion, fever and complete exhaustion. I need to dust, vacuum, mop and clean my whole house, and polish all the stainless steel in my kitchen. But it still seems like a daunting task. Maybe tomorrow. 

The true positive of this last 6 weeks has been the unexpected and unintended side effect of the Prednisone regimen. It has helped my colitis tremendously. The side effect of that side effect is anger and doubts about my gastro doc.  Let me explain. 

I started having diarrhea back in October 2014. When it didn't go away, I mentioned it to my GP doc, who quickly referred me to the gastro doc. During the initial consultation with the gastro doc I was scheduled for a colonoscopy in March 2015. Diagnosis: non-specific colitis caused by a reaction to ibuprofen. Treatment: stop taking ibuprofen and a prescription for a steroid that he warned that insurance companies don't like to pay for. It's no wonder. For the 2 month treatment the cost is $1,500. Then there are the serious side effects to the drug that have sent several patients to the hospital. 

I went back for a follow up and asked what risks there were if I chose not to take the drug. None, he said, then recommended taking Imodium to curb the diarrhea and they would schedule me for another colonoscopy in 5 years.  I left his office feeling disappointed. I continued spending time in the bathroom 8 to 10 times a day, even with the Imodium. 

Fast forward, a year and a half later to the office visit with my GP doc who prescribed the Prednisone regimen, during which he also inquired as to how my colitis was doing. I told him I hadn't taken ibuprofen for 11 months, since my visit with the gastro guy. Did it help, he asked. No, I said. Then it isn't that, he said. Simple as that. 

I took the 10 day regimen of Prednisone at a cost of $4.50 and my colitis got better. A lot better, as in almost normal. This is where my anger and doubt kicked in. I suffered for 11 months with horrible diarrhea. Nothing about my life was normal during that time. I could never be far away from a bathroom because of the urgency. I lived in fear of incontenence and subsequent embarrassment. And all it took was $4.50 and 10 days of a commonly used steroid with fewer risks or side effects of the $1,500 drug the gastro doc wanted to prescribe. 

Needless to say, I will be changing gastro docs. 

On another subject, do not even get me started on the political campaign clown show taking place right now. It's disgusting and scary at the same time. Watching and listening to the GOP candidates is like watching and listening to a bunch of sixth grade bullies high on sugar on the school playground playing "I know you are but what am I," and their class mates gathering around and goading them on. There's not a grown up in the bunch.

Welcome to America. 

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