Monday, August 15, 2011


In more ways than one.  I want to be careful how I tell this story.  To tell it without so easily slipping into judgement of people who I honestly can't say I KNOW for sure were acting a certain way JUST because they happened to know I had a disease that most doctors in my state don't believe can be found here.

I had a fairly terrible week.  Thursday I woke up and after Flagyl felt awful.  Friday was no different except I woke up with an achy pain in my left flank (below your ribs but above your hip).  Felt like I had definitely done something.  But I couldn't remember what.

Saturday morning the pain was much worse and I had a very low-grade fever.  I also was extremely nauseated. I went ahead and got my lymph-massage that morning and as the day went on the pain got so much worse that I couldn't walk without being stooped over.  Now I've had kidney stones and this didn't feel like those other times but it DID feel like the pain was coming from my kidney.  I tried heat and I tried ice and NOTHING helped.  So I waited and waited and talked to my husband and thought of all the reasons I SHOULDN'T go to the ER and finally my husband said, "Call the on-call doctor at the clinic" (the LLMD clinic).  So I did.  I hate to bother doctors on their days off but I didn't know what else to do.  If this was just a herx or something then I could avoid the ER.

The doctor on call just happened to be the one I usually see and I was told that it sounded much like a kidney infection and that it wasn't something to wait on. I should go to the ER just to be safe.  So I did.  My mother-in-law is here and was able to watch the girls so Matt could come with me.

The pain was even worse when we got to the ER.  We didn't wait too long and got admitted.  The first nurse came in and took down medical history (I always hold my breath after I tell them I am being treated for Lyme disease).  That didn't seem to bother her.  Now here are the facts (without judgement....hopefully):

-Nurse asked what meds I was on.  I handed her a paper I carry in my purse that shows all the regular meds I'm on and antibiotics and told her currently I wasn't on the antibiotics.  The meds took up a whole page typed.  She took it.  Looked at it.  Didn't say anything.  Started to type then suddenly left without saying a word and took the paper with her.

-After about 20 minutes the doctor came in with the quiet nurse who didn't make eye contact.  He seemed friendly enough.  He physically examined me including the "kidney tap" on both sides of my back.  When he tapped my left side I nearly leapt off the bed. He asked what "level" of pain I was in and I said "level 8".  After, he awkwardly asked if I had any medical conditions and I told him I was being treated for Lyme but wasn't currently on abx.  He didn't comment and then said, "Well, I think you have a kidney infection. Every indication points to that. So I'll send a nurse in to take your blood". And with that he was gone.

-Next came in a totally different nurse and she was really friendly nurse.  She said she was there to take my blood.  She chatted it up with us and smiled the whole time. She left with the blood.

-Then came in another nurse who was also really friendly.  She said she was there to take blood.  I told her I already had blood drawn.  So she said that she would start a line to push fluids and also administer pain meds.

-She found a vein, put in the I.V line and I thought it felt "sting-ey" but didn't think it was too out of the ordinary.  Then she pushed morphine and zofran into it.  It burned and hurt pretty bad.  She turned to get another pain med called torredol.  As she was preparing that I asked her if it was supposed to feel painful crawling up my arm.  She said, "Oh I think it feels like a spider crawling up...." and she started to push the torredol before I could tell her it did NOT feel like a spider.  The torredol caused me to arch in pain and cry out.  It felt like she shot fire up my arm.  She looked down and saw that my vein had blown earlier and now it was ballooning up like a huge 3 inch lump.  She panicked and took the line out immediately.  The pain subsided and she wrapped it TIGHT and then she went out to get more supplies to start another line.  As she left I was in tears. I'm not a wimp when it comes to pain and I don't normally cry unless it is REALLY bad pain.

-She came back in and felt bad I had been crying. I told her it wasn't her fault and I fully believed that she could use another vein to pump I.V fluids in.  She chose another vein and this time I felt the sting right away so I told her and she looked and sure enough, another vein blown.  Now my veins do not blow usually.  She apologized profusely and was so kind but said they had a 2 limit policy so now someone else would have to come in.

-The next guy came and used my other arm and got it in fine.  I told him I couldn't feel any effects of the meds she had pushed before and that I was in as much pain and before.  He said the dose probably wasn't effective since the vein blew and he would check with the doctor.  He left.

-Twenty minutes later he came back very smug.  He said they couldn't give me more meds.  I could they know how much I got?  And hey- I wasn't there for narcotics. I was there to make sure my kidney wasn't infected.  He said he'd see if he could bring anything else for pain.  He left.

-Twenty minutes later the doctor opened the door just enough to stick his head in and say, "Your blood work is fine.  You don't have a kidney infection.  You can go."  As he retracted his head, I said, "Um, okay.  Good, so no kidney infection so what is wrong?"  He said, "I don't know." and tried to leave again.  I said, "So, NOTHING is causing my pain?  It's just NOTHING?"  He said, "Um....yeah. It might just be a virus." and with that he popped out and we never saw him again.  A VIRUS?  That is ridiculous.  Even my husband thought that was crazy.  Kidney pain?  We were thankful the blood work was fine but we both thought that a normal doctor would at least say, "Oh, so maybe your pain is muscular and we could try a muscle relaxer" instead of sending you away when you're still in level 8 pain.

-Another nurse came in to move us to another room to finish my I.V fluids and then we'd be discharged. We asked him again if he had found out if I could have anything else for the pain.  He said he'd bring me TYLENOL!  He left.

-He came in and offered the Tylenol and I kindly told him that I didn't need to take it because I had tried earlier in the day and it hadn't done anything.  He left quickly.

-Finally another nurse came in and Matt told her that I really wasn't looking for narcotics but could she please ask the doctor if maybe they could consider it was a muscle pull and maybe prescribe a muscle relaxer?  She didn't look amused but left and said she would talk to the doctor.

-When my fluids were finally gone she came back and gave us our discharge papers.  We asked what the doctor had said about our question.  She said, "Hmmmm, let me go look at your chart."  Again she left and when she came back she didn't look me in the eye but said, "Well, we OFFERED you Tylenol and they SAID you wouldn't take it."  So I told her that I had tried tylenol and it hadn't worked and that's why I said no thank you.

-She gave us our discharge papers and left.

I got up and hobbled out of there, still with no pain meds and wishing I at least knew what was causing the pain but OH-SO-THANKFUL that it wasn't a kidney infection.  After all, this is my "off" week and I didn't want more abx and more herxing.

It was just so frustrating though.  I claimed they were prejudiced from the moment they heard Lyme and saw my abx list.  But there were no confrontations or words to that end.  So I'll never know.  But I do know it wasn't a great experience with the doctor or nurses.  I've been to the ER many times before I was diagnosed with Lyme and they always did try to figure out what was causing my pain.  I even went once when it ended up BEING a muscle thing and they gave me pain meds and a muscle relaxer.

Anyhow.  We'll never know what it is I guess.  I asked friends to pray that night that I would be able to sleep.  And I did.  And I woke up and there was only a remnant of the pain left.  It had "mysteriously" gone away.  My husband's theory (and I'm likely to go with it) is that it was a kidney stone because of where the pain was and since I've had them 4 or 5 times (I've lost count).  But really we won't know.

I don't like THAT.  I don't LIKE not knowing.  It's frustrating but something that God continually works on me for.  I need to be content that God did take care of me despite the aloof doctors and despite not knowing what was medically wrong.

I felt hurt that I was treated that way by the doctors and have been trying oh-so-hard not to blame it on the assumption that they were prejudice about my Lyme disease.  I don't know that they were.  My husband keeps encouraging me that way.  (But, fyi, he totally sees how I could feel that way, so it wasn't just me. :)

And funny enough, that night as I went up to bed, I took the (very) tight band off of that blown vein, and by the time I had walked up the stairs and hit the bathroom I could feel the effects of morphine.  I nearly passed out.  lol.  I crawled to my bed because I told my husband that if I stood up I'd throw up.  I settled into bed and the morphine made my sleep very productive and made the pain all but a blip.  I don't know if the band was just holding all that morphine she pushed in or what but for some reason I didn't feel it until nearly 5 hours later.

That's my weekend story.  What's yours?


  1. Oh, my weekend story would put you to sleep compared to this. I'm sorry that the trip to the ER was so frustrating and discouraging for you. I can see why you would feel that they had prejudged you. I hope that the pain is gone for good and does not come back. By the way, you looked fantastic yesterday! You're in my daily prayers. Stay strong!!!

  2. Wow what a horrible experience. This makes me so mad that they judge us and dont treat us like normal people. I hope you dont have to go through this again!

  3. I'm so sorry, Heather. It's sad that the medical community doesn't believe this to be a real disease. I know ER doctors can be rash anyway, and if they believe that the person they are treating is making up their symptoms, they are even less inclined to help the person out. When we took Samantha to the ER for her stitches, there was a mom there with her daughter who had had a headache. The headache was gone, but the mom brought her daughter to the ER. Um....okay. I know that they must see dozens of patients a day that shouldn't really be there and are wasting their time. From the sounds of it, it seems like they thought the same of you. If this happens again, I'll pray that there will be a caring nurse there that will advocate for you if the doctor doesn't believe you. I think it only takes one.

  4. Wow, doctors who talk from the threshold of the door are so hurtful. Just that gestures says, "You are not important." Just when you NEED to be important to them so you can get help! I'm so glad you know you are the apple of God's eye. It's the only truth you can rest in.