Another Trip to the ER
At the moment of this writing, I am not feeling well at all. After having a few good days last week, that’s all I’ve been granted.
Since keeping a food diary, I’ve noticeably grown super sensitive to foods that never particularly bothered me before or that now affect me on a whole new level. Some gluten-free crackers contained corn; the allergic reaction was quick and strong, and the symptoms lasted most of the day. A curry chicken dinner contained milk; the reaction took about a half hour to begin, and the symptoms lasted a couple of hours. So far, something that contained egg has been the worst allergic reaction, giving me the start of anaphylaxis symptoms that take several hours to subside. It is utterly miserable and scary.
After a small round of antibiotics, I believe the E. coli infection has gone away. This significantly reduced most of the GI issues, so now I can feel exactly where the other pain radiates. My previous doctor failed to follow up with my initial complaint about the twisted back/ribs problem, even though it was discussed and even recommended on another doctor’s report. Other medical professionals have suggested a pinched nerve. More recently, I was able to show one of my physicians how my ribs stick out on one side, and she immediately said it looked like a hernia.
Now that the infection seems to be gone, the pain has become increasingly worse and has spread significantly since I contracted E. coli (June or July). I can’t figure out if my body is having muscle spasms or there are multiple injuries from lifting, or even a possible injury from my 2019 surgery. The pain has shifted to different locations in my low back, and that kind of worries me. It’s limited my mobility more so, and I’ve had a difficult time sleeping and getting comfortable.
Sometimes the pain begins in my mid back on the left side, like a squeezing and twisting sensation, sometimes a stabbing pain, and then it runs up under my arm, around my shoulder and chest, up my neck, down my arm and all down my left side. (This is the same kind of pain I had when I ended up in the ER in 2016 while I was teaching. During the two days I was hospitalized, they did a series of cardiac testing and found nothing.)
Yesterday, I met with my new primary care physician. When I woke up in the morning, I wasn’t feeling well, even before eating anything, and that worried me, because I was attributing these issues with food allergies. My entire left side hurt again, causing dizziness and weakness, so that I was unable to hold a coffee cup. She said my twisted rib could be a twisted spine, and immediately sent me to the ER by ambulance for an MRI to make sure I didn’t have a stroke.
Unfortunately, I chose the closest hospital instead of the better one, and I will never do that again!!! It’s the difference between walking into a dollar store and Dillard’s. The entrance had a heavy, dark vibe. And then there was a penny tails up on the floor once I got into a room. I took this as a bad sign and knew I should have gone to the other hospital.
When I finally saw the doctor, I didn’t even know who he was, because he never bothered to introduce himself. “What is it you’re here for?” Terrible bedside manner, zero compassion, unfriendly, acted like he had better things to do than cater to my needs.
When I am confronted with this type of person, I have difficulty explaining myself. It reminds me of when my father used to accuse me of lying about something, and I couldn’t form my words, which made it seem like I was lying when I wasn’t. Not to mention, when I’m in pain, I generally get brain fog and/or confusion.
All while I’m sitting up in a stretcher, I explained to him what was happening and answered his questions. He bitched that my VA doctors should have handled this, not waited a year. I told him that’s not my fault, it’s been hard to get appointments because they are backed up from covid. He didn’t like that answer, telling me otherwise, as if I had any control. Then he actually said the ER is for life-threatening emergencies, not for things the VA should be taking care of. (I suppose my doctor thinking I may have had a stroke isn’t an emergency to him. Fucking prick.) Treating me like I’m interrupting his day, the same way that ratched bitch doctor treated me during a similar episode.
Then I got pissed. “I DID tell my VA doctor about this months ago, and she did nothing! My new doctor sent me here!”
Fuck him for making me feel worse!!
When I explained to him that I just got over E. coli after having it for months, he asked me, “Where did you have it?” I looked at him like wtf, where do you think I had it? It’s E. coli!! I was only mentioning it, because I didn’t know if it had anything to do with why I was there.
And then this prick said to me, “So? Why are you telling me this?”
That’s when I shut down. First of all, I’m worried about my health; I feel like shit and have for several months. And this motherfucker wants to take his frustrations out on me, which is causing more stress? Fuck him! I wish I had the strength to get up and Uber to the better hospital, but I was still experiencing dizziness. He already left the room, but I told myself if he comes back with that attitude, he’s getting it right back, because I’m fucking fed up with all of this, and I’m full of enough rage to tell him off, loud and clear for everyone to hear.
When the nurse came back in the room, I flat out asked her if the doctor is always a dick. She kind of laughed and said, “He’s brash,” and if he doesn’t feel like if it’s a real emergency, he gets pissy, because there are people coming in without real emergencies. I told her then it’s time for him to retire or find another line of work, because he doesn’t need to talk to people that way, especially when my own doctor sent me there, for fuck sakes!!!
I never saw the doctor again, as he didn’t even come to tell me the results of the MRI. When the nurse came back to say I was free to go, that everything was normal, I was like huh? I asked, “No spinal injury, no blood clots, no hernias?”
“Nope! Everything was normal, they didn’t come in to talk to you?”
Instead, radiologist came by to tell me everything was normal on the MRI. So I pulled up my shirt and showed her my rib sticking out, and I said, “How is this normal?”
She said, “Oh, that’s just a rib sticking out. That’s normal.”
“That’s NOT normal. This is where my pain is,” and I pointed to the entire rib cage area that I’ve been complaining about for six months. “If the MRI doesn’t show anything, then what else could it be?”
She shrugged her shoulders. “You might have to see a neurologist.”
They couldn’t make it more obvious I was just another person with “no real emergency” taking up a bed, and they wanted me out. I was in the hospital for a total of five hours, and during that time, lying down and resting eased my symptoms. I no longer felt dizzy, and some of the pain had subsided. I still have weakness in the left side (never goes away completely); it gets worse when I have an “episode.”
My car was a couple blocks away, I didn’t have the Uber app on my phone, it was rush hour, and I wasn’t about to spend another minute in the hell hole. I was so aggravated about everything and decided to take a chance walking back to my car, crossing 4 lane roads. My adrenaline is what got me there. If I passed out while on the way back, then I’d ask the ambulance to take me to the better hospital. By the time I got to my car, the pain started again, but I managed to drive myself home.
When I read the final report, I noticed it only mentioned brain scan and spine. No mention of organs, which I was unaware. I thought the MRI was for everything internal as well, and that’s what I think is the missing piece of the puzzle. So while they were sitting there telling me everything is fine when I specifically asked about hernias, etc., they flat out lied to me to get me out of there. Late this afternoon, I learned the hospital never sent yesterday’s results to my doctor, which is why I never heard from her today.
What does worry me, however, is my brother having lung cancer that went undetected in CT scans and x-rays. Until he had an MRI three years later, it went undiscovered, so he ended up undergoing more treatment than if it was found when he initially complained about his symptoms. This is what I’m worried about. Not necessarily cancer, but any issue that is going to permanently damage me in some way or make my life more miserable than it already is.
During this writing, the immunologist called to inform me my lab results came back good. We discussed food allergies more, and he said what I’m describing is not a food allergy; it’s something else. Unless my mouth gets itchy, it’s not a food allergy. (I do have corn and dairy allergies for sure). I had the worst reaction with eggs, but no itching. Is my body unable to process protein? Right now everything is still looking like a GI issue, but I’m not sure I can wait another two months for the endoscopy. This is becoming unbearable.
So now what?