Saturday, July 12, 2014

Emergency Room Visit

It has been a long time since I've posted anything, but mostly because I have been feeling sick for a long time now. Crohn's symptoms started in April. I debated on naming this blog entry, "Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired,"

So in April, after experiencing some Crohn's symptoms I went to my strict healing diet. Things didn't seem to get better and my fatigue grew worse. I tried a juice diet and my fatigue seemed to get even worse. Therefore, I found myself visiting my gastoenterologist to get back on meds. My first visit was May 9.

They put me back on the same meds that worked the last time I had a flare up over two years ago: budesonide and mesalamine. Budesonide is a steroid and mesalamine is an anti-inflammatory. Both act primarily in the gut. As in the past, they began to work in just a couple of days.

I did something I probably shouldn't have done, but used the time on the meds as a time to eat some of my favorite foods: lasagna, nachos with lots of cheese including queso, shrimp and ice-cream. But after eating these foods, I returned to my healing diet so that I can get back off of the meds as quickly as possible.

Early June I was having soreness in my throat, and began to lose my voice. I visited my primary care physician, Dr. Teague, and she diagnosed me with laryngitis and pharyngitis. I seem to always gets sick with something when I'm on these meds, so I wasn't surprised that here I was again with some other illness. Dr. Teague prescribed me  hycodan, which was a cough syrup with codeine.

June 17 I returned to my primary care physicians and saw the PA because I couldn't get in to see the doctor. At this, not only do I have no voice, but my throat hurts so much that I stopped drinking and eating much because it was hard to swallow, I was fatigued and getting fevers put to 102 degrees, almost every day. The PA indicated that it was possible that I had an infection and she prescribed hydorcodone-acetaminophen  for pain and azithromycin 6-Pak for the infection.

On June 21, I woke up and could hardly breathe. My throat was so inflamed that air was not passing properly. Every day from the 17th to the 21st, my air passage seemed to get smaller and smaller, but this Saturday morning I was scared. I layer around all morning in hopes that it might get better.

My boyfriend, Rich, was at a seminar, and I didn't want to bother him and I was supposed to meet my friends Maria and Todd to help them look for a home. But I texted Maria and cancelled, as I was giving it a little bit more time before I took myself to urgent care. Unfortunately, things seemed to get worse. I was weasing so bad that I knew I wasn't getting enough air. Maria convinced me that she should drive me to urgent care, and in hindsight I am very happy she did.

I'm not used to having anyone help me with anything. I've been so self sufficient for so long that it feels like I am burdening others when I rely upon them, so I just simply don't ask for help and I handle things on my own. In this case, it was evident that I needed help.

Off we went to the urgent care. The quickly got me to see a doctor due to the difficulty breathing I was having, and the doctor immediately gave me a couple shots: a steroid to reduce the inflammation, and an antibiotic to take immediate action if there was a bacteria infections. He suspected that I might have epiglottitis.  Epiglottitis is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the epiglottis, a small cartilage "lid" that covers your windpipe, swells, blocking the flow of air into your lungs.

Many things can cause the epiglottis to swell, including burns from hot liquids, injury to the throat, and various infections. Ultimately, this is a serious condition.

The doctor at urgent care insisted on me going to the emergency room to further investigate the cause. He wanted me to take an ambulance, but Maria was there so I preferred to go with her.

I arrive at the emergency room, and already the meds that urgent care had given me were beginning to work. I was breathing much better, but still was concerned what would happen when the steroid wore off. I definitely didn't want the swelling to return. 

The doctor order blood work and a CT scan of my throat. The blood work came back showing I was severely anemic with hemoglobin at 8.6. gm/dL. Normal for me is 11.7. I have never been this anemic, even when I was a walking zombie with severe active Crohn's. The doctor indicated that hemoglobin this low, after having normal levels during my May 9 doctors appointment, is usually due to bleeding. 

She even insisted on checking my stool for blood because she wasn't believe it could be just from my diet, or lack of eating since my throat began to hurt, or my Crohn's since I appear to be in remission. But no blood was there. 

The CT scan showed a clear passageway, which I suspected would be the case because I was breathing fine by the time of the CT scan. So, ultimately, the emergency room doctor didn't diagnose the cause, but did find that I was anemic. She put me on prednisone to keep my throat from swelling again, and iron supplements to improve my hemoglobin, and suggested that I go to an ear, nose and throat specialist to help determine the cause of swelling.

On Monday, that is what I did. Stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment