It’s been a difficult 3 or 4 weeks around here, healthwise.
About a month ago, I was scheduled to have my first root canal. To prepare for the procedure and beat down the infection I’d incurred, my dentist (and good friend) put me on a round of Amoxicillin. Now, I should have immediately started on some probiotics to try to build back up some good bacteria as the antibiotic would be killing all bacteria – good and bad.
But, I didn’t. First mistake.
When I arrived for my root canal and was still in pain, my dentist prescribed another round of antibiotics to continue to fight the infection. This one was stronger and well, they were horse pills. It’s called Clindamycin. I was not eager to take any more antibiotics, knowing my body doesn’t handle them too well…I typically end up with an infection of some kind as a result. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was important to drink a lot of water with each pill.
And I didn’t. Second mistake.
So, because of my depleted immune system, I got sick. And stayed sick. It started with a sore throat, which lasted for about three days without any other symptoms. Then I got a cough, then congestion, then a sneeze, then a runny nose, then a headache, and on and on it went. I could not shake this cold, but it was not a big deal until last Wednesday night, when I noticed a strange symptom as I went to bed for the night. My throat, which was still raw, suddenly felt like there was something stuck deep down in it. Like at the base of my neck, it felt like something was lodged there. But that didn’t make sense, because I hadn’t eaten or drank anything for hours. I fought to relax enough to go to sleep, and when the lump was still present on Thursday morning, I decided to go to my doctor.
At the doctor, I gave urine and blood samples and was told that my condition could be esophagitis or something similar. My doctor noted that my throat problem could also have to do with the fact that I’d been taking large antibiotic pills, and if I hadn’t had enough water with each pill, it was possible that one of them had gotten stuck and begun to erode in my throat. Yikes. Another possibility was that since I’d been sick with throat issues for over a week, all of the post-nasal drip could have severely irritated my throat and left it inflamed and feeling like something was there.
While we waited for the samples to be analyzed by the lab and the results to come in, my doctor gave me two medications to help with the issue. One, an antihistamine, and the second, a medication called Carafate that I’d never heard of or taken before, typically used to treat ulcers.
And so, Thursday night before bed, I took my first dose of Carafate, a mild medication that typically does not have any side effects other than constipation. Most people handle it just fine.
At 2:00 in the morning I woke up with the strangest dream. I was dreaming that I was in the fetal position in my bed, holding my stomach with both hands, moaning in pain. And then I realized that it was not a dream. I was in so much pain that I went into an immediate panic. I could not straighten my legs and my limbs were trembling. My mouth was pasty and incredibly dry. I stumbled to the bathroom wondering what was going on and glanced in the mirror. I was horrified when I opened my mouth to reveal tons of white paste covering my tongue. Then I realized that I was in way too much pain to be standing up.
I raced back to the bed, crying, and told Rich to wake up and call 911. We literally panicked for a full five minutes (which felt like an eternity) before Rich grabbed Alana, my purse, and me, and headed to the car. He called my sister on our way to the emergency room asking if she and Nick could meet us there and bring Alana back to our house so that she could sleep.
A twenty-five minute drive turned fifteen minutes and we were stumbling into the emergency room, hoping for a slow night so I could be seen quickly. Thankfully, at this point in the morning I was seen quickly. Amber and Nick arrived, took Alana, and headed back to out house to let her sleep. The next several hours involved a urine sample, blood work, questioning from the nurse, a brief visit by the doctor and lots of waiting. During all of this waiting, seven people were rushed to the hospital with gunshot wounds. Seven. It was a busy night in the Erlanger E.R. I was told by more than one nurse that I picked a lively evening to visit.
It’s a rather anticlimactic ending to a long winded story, but no diagnosis was to be had. Appendicitis was ruled out. As was surgical abdomen and pregnancy. The nurse told me that 60% of abdominal issues that come in are never diagnosed. I had not taken any pain medication, but thankfully, my pain level had gradually subsided in our hours at the E.R.
By 6:00 in the morning when we were discharged, I was in much less pain and could even walk. I am convinced that I had a severe adverse reaction to a medication that most people have no problems with. Needless to say, I discontinued use, called my doctor, and alerted my pharmacy that I am “allergic” to Carafate. Can an allergy cause debilitating, crazy scary pain in one’s abdomen?
The ironic thing is that on Friday, after spending all night in the E.R.; the lump in my throat (for which I’d taken the medicine in the first place and had only taken one dose at this point), had gone away and thankfully, hasn’t come back.
The most sad part about this story is that my strange issues prevented Rich, Alana and myself from going to Louisiana for Rich’s grandmother’s 89th birthday. We’d planned to be away this weekend along with the whole Smith clan, so we missed the family reunion while we stayed here, rested, and recuperated. But apparently that’s what we needed.
Anyway, that’s my E.R. story. Anyone have something similar happen? I’m astounded at how much pain I was in. By Friday morning I was exhausted and weak, but not in pain anymore.
Stories? Input? Personal experiences???