August 6, 2016
I wouldn’t say this is one of the happiest moments I feel, or that I feel courage, but I thought long and hard overnight about another dilemma happening to me, that can’t be changed. Don’t get me wrong, I am still frightened and acutely aware of every physical move I make, but I have to let go of this fear that has taken hold of my soul.
Let me back up a bit: In June, I saw my pulmonologist to dissect WHY I had been violently coughing for almost a year. We both agreed it was due to a medication I was taking and I would stop that pill immediately. I was to see him again for a follow up in three weeks. The next visit I had with him, I had just been told the day before that my Achilles tendon had re-torn and I was strapped in the heavy, black, boot that I have grown to hate. He saw the boot and asked what happened. I told him the ugly history and he told Dennis and I a story about a patient he has. A woman who has a lung disease was not doing well and was hospitalized for a month. She was in an induced coma and on life support. He said he was seeing her one day and she woke up, after being taken off the ventilator. He said as soon as the tubing was removed from her throat, she was screaming and screaming. He asked her what was wrong and she pointed down towards her ankles and mumbled about pain. After checking her out, it was discovered that this poor woman had her Achilles tendons detached from BOTH legs. She also had detachment of tendons on other parts of her body. He said she had been on antibiotics and that they are a KNOWN reason for tendons ripping apart. What he was getting at, was that I should NOT take antibiotics. He rattled off a list of them and I recognized a few because I have taken them over the years. I left his office thinking that I would start praying that I didn’t contract any bacterial infection because I didn’t need to add the antibiotic debacle to my life.
Now, one would perceive that I have a negative attitude towards the way my body has turned on me over the last few years. Yes, I admit, I have had moments, believe me, and with very good reason. But I truly wake up each morning, take deep breaths through my nose and say a prayer. Even on my crapiest days, I do this. But sometimes being Sally Sunshine – can be a stretch. When you keep getting knocked down, it wears on you. “Train your mind to see the good in every situation.” (I can, and have- to a point.) “One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.” (Yes, after my morning prayer I always say “today will be better.” Every day.) “Think positive and good things will happen.” (Ok, this is where I get flustered and a bit peeved. I DO think positively. But until you have walked in my shoes (and boot), and have overcome one challenge, only to be faced with yet another, you might think I am THE Debbie Downer because of my fb posts. It’s really not like that.)
So, three days after I saw my pulmonary specialist, I developed a fever. It ran for 3 days before I finally called my doctor. I had no sore throat, no cold, nothing visible. I burned day and night and if not burning up, I had chills. When I got in to see the doctor, and me suggesting it could be a urinary tract infection (UTI) or an ear infection, he gave me a urine test. After a few moments he said the test was negative “But he wanted to send it out to the lab for a culture or two.” He put me on Cipro (antibiotic) and to take it for 3 days, “just in case it was a UTI.” Needless to say, my brain was on high alert, thinking back to what my pulmonary guy was saying “YOU SHOULD NOT BE TAKING ANY ANTIBIOTICS.”
I get notifications from my Lab whenever test results come back, and sure enough, my urine cultures proved to be correct in that I had a really bad infection. There were quite a few highly abnormal things going on, but I figured with me taking the antibiotics, it would clear it up? (And I was also concerned that three days might not kill whatever it was I had.) I took the meds and the fever went away within a day and half. That was thirteen days ago. Several days ago, I started feeling pretty bad in the urinary department. I had trouble walking and had pain where my kidneys are located, on my back. I was in the restroom every 15 minutes and decided that the infection I had wasn’t gone. I sent the doctor who I saw, a note through the patient portal yesterday, and told him that I was concerned that my UTI had turned into a bladder infection and traveled up into my kidneys because of the pain I have now. I reminded him I was on Cipro for three days and that it obviously didn’t put a dent into the bacteria that was milling about my urinary tract. He sent in a prescription to my pharmacy for CIPRO but upped the does to 500 mg for 10 days. When I picked up the drug and read the usual direction/instruction paper stapled to the bag, I noticed another piece of paper filled with information:
Now if this doesn’t scare the bejesus out of a person who HAS ruptured their Achilles tendon, or who now has a RE-TEAR of the same Achilles tendon, or HAS RA… you’re either lying or unhinged. As Dennis tells me all the time about things that I deal with concerning my health: You’re between a rock and hard place. I have to take the antibiotics because of this infection. And what is SO ironic and pathetic all at once: I had a scheduled appointment with my urologist that was made last summer, for Thursday August 4. Several months ago their office called to change the appointment from the 2nd to the 4th. I see him regularly for the mass (his words) that I have on my right kidney… it’s grown some over the last few years and it is misshaped and he keeps an eye on it. In fact, I had my ultrasound of my kidneys a week ago and was anxious to see him this past Thursday for the results. ON Tuesday the 2nd, as luck would have it, I got a call from their office saying I missed my appointment that morning. “No, it’s for the 4th… Someone from your office called months ago and changed it.” ( I have both dates on my calendar at home and the 2nd was crossed off.) She informed me that THAT couldn’t be right, because the doctor was leaving for vacation on the 4th and won’t be back until the end of August. Kind of had a deja vu slap-in-the-face again moment: My surgeon who did my Achilles repair slaps the boot on me July 13, doesn’t take an MRI because “I’m leaving for vacation…come back in six weeks and I’ll see what to do then”. She’s on a beach somewhere out of the country for a few weeks and I am stuck here in the blazing Vegas heat feeling like my leg has been inserted into a volcano with lava spewing forth. Sounds reasonable.
Back to my main reason for this post. I stressed and fretted ALL Day yesterday over the antibiotics and tendon rips, tears and ruptures. I am still finagling my mind away from the depression I have been experiencing and rightly so, with my current tendon issues, and with that having to take a backseat right now (I DO finally see an orthopedic surgeon Tuesday… about time), but all I kept thinking about was the WARNING papers from the pharmacy and my pulmonary doctor’s warning. And his poor patient laying in a hospital bed having nothing more than just to breath on her part and her tendons snapped like twigs across her body. All I thought of was “Great… I re-tore my Achilles tendon again and I didn’t do anything other than walk around the damn house or to the stores. I’m screwed. But dwelling on it throughout the night didn’t help much. I woke up this morning, said my prayer and told myself “Today will be better.” If this medication is going to induce the possibility of tendon rips, so be it. The paper also said the tears and ruptures could occur up to three months AFTER the meds have stopped. That’s a LONG time to be petrified of my body’s working mechanisms.
I’m not saying I won’t be having a negative thought or two about this mess (it’s human nature to be scared when something like this is hanging over my head) or that I am not scared to death of what could possibly happen without warning, but there is nothing I can do. Or anyone else. Playing Words with Friends, and Farm Heroes, and reading is keeping my thoughts occupied, and I am TRULY visualizing my happy place and thinking good, positive thoughts, as best as I can manage to squeeze them in.
It is what it is.