Wednesday, August 27, 2014
I had my sixth visit to the doctor's office this morning. Both my ENT and my primary care doctor are trying to sort through my treatment to come up with an idea as to what my health issue could be.
I saw the ENT yesterday. He fed a scope through my nose and down my throat to look at the back of my tongue, my throat and my larynx. Although I have some small amount of fluid build up around my larynx, and thus the raspy voice, it isn't enough for me to have the nasty cough that I have. At least I got a semi clean report with that! My ENT sent a note to my primary yesterday, indicating that although I have many allergy issues, he thinks that I have a pulmonary issue that needs to be looked at by a specialist. He scared me with all of his discussion about second hand smoke and the hazards of being around a smoker. I left his office very anxious. Both of my parents were long time smokers so the lecture about the dangers of letting me be around smokers hit a bit too close to home. My father had throat cancer and I am sure that stays somewhere in the back of my mind.
Today, I saw the nurse practitioner at my primary care doctor's office. She examined me very carefully, took copious notes and said she wasn't comfortable with any diagnosis unless she had the doctor's input. This was due to the fact that it is a difficult case (I never do anything half way) and she really wanted to make sure that all the bases are covered so I can get better. She left the room and I could hear her out in an adjoining room, having a lengthy discussion with the doctor. The upshot of that visit is that I have been really sick with a tough strain of bacteria that keeps wanting to multiply even though I am on my third round of antibiotics. This is complicated by the fact that I am apparently more allergic to the allergens that I was tested for than showed up on the tests. How allergic, is anybody's guess. The weird thing is that I have had this raging infection and I haven't even run a fever other than several short spikes. Much of the worst of the infection has toned down greatly but the length of my illness has created an overload on my body, which is having some nasty side effects. The worst of the side effects is the huge amount of inflammation in my sinuses, larynx and lungs due to the chronic coughing and infection. I have currently been sick for over 32 days. My primary recommended that I finish my current antibiotic, he added a strong course of steroids and ordered a CT scan on my lungs. This was just in case there are some additional abnormalities that we need to be be concerned about. The preliminary diagnosis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes and upper lung. Apparently, that is open to change depending upon what the tests say.
I have another appointment next week with the primary doctor and not the nurse practitioner. He wants to actually monitor my situation himself so he can stay on top of it. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that! I will continue to curtail all outdoor activity and be very careful about adding any intensity so my movements. All activity needs to be in filtered air, at a slow pace. Housework is okay as long as it is followed by a shower and rest. For dusty jobs, I will wear a mask and head cover. I am pumping fluids, aiming for 70-90 or more ounces per day since every medication requires a 8-10 ounce glass of water. I am using my nebulizer machine every 5-6 hours as needed around the clock. What I would give for some deep, restful sleep!
My ENT/allergist has designed a new protocol for me to follow when I start back with my allergy shots. I now have to carry an Eppi pen with me and take four precautionary medications before every shot I receive. I appreciate his efforts to keep me safe as I battle my ongoing issues.
I know that I haven't been as active recently, so please bear with me as I struggle back to health. Hopefully, nothing scary will show up on my lung scan and with time things will right themselves soon. Thanks everyone for all of your kind thoughts and support.