Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Fool for a Patient

This is a combination stupid patient story/stupid doctor story.

It’s a good thing I don’t believe in divine retribution for selfishness, because if I did, I’d never take a personal day again. Yesterday I woke up with, in addition to a lingering (though lower) fever and progressive rash, an unbelievably bad headache. TrophyHusband wrangled HellBoy while I lay in bed with a washcloth on my eyes and an icepack on my head. I finally somehow got myself up and into work, where I had to see patients in the morning. I got through each visit trying to move as little as possible (“You say you’ve got a gigantic wound on your foot with things crawling out of it? OK, I believe you — no need to take a look!”) Finally one of my partners noticed that my rash was creeping up my neck and down to my feet and that I looked like I was about to die. She took the rest of my patients for me and sent me home. I took my migraine med, but it didn't work, and I pondered whether to go to the ER just to get SOMETHING to make the pain stop. When I lay still, it felt like there were big shards of plate glass sticking into the top of my head; when I moved, it felt like someone was whacking the shards with a broomstick.

When TH got home and found me taking nap #4 on the living room floor, he said, "Um, you have meningitis, you dope." (He didn't really call me a dope, but it was in his tone.) And I was like, oh, right — fever, rash, blinding headache, and I CAN'T BEND MY NECK, duh.

It seemed pretty clear from the history that this was a viral meningitis, not bacterial, so I didn't want to go wait at the ER for a spinal tap to be told the same thing, but he did consult with an ID colleague to double-check that he didn’t need to hogtie me and drag me there. Then I doped myself up with every pain-reducing, nausea-relieving, and consciousness-altering (legal) medicine in the house and fell into a blessed sleep. Today the pain is MUCH better, and I can stand to look at a computer screen without shrieking "The light! The light! Make it stop!" But I still can’t look left without a stabbing pain in my eyeballs. Too bad I’m not a Republican.

19 comments:

Mignon said...

I think I got a headache just reading about your headache... then that Republican comment made it all go away. Harhar

Glad you're on the mend; that all sounded completely awful.

Sherry said...

Get better soon. Everything you said sounds like the posters that were all over our University warning of meningitis!

B.E.C.K. said...

I'm glad you're so much improved in one day, and I hope the rest of your recovery goes as quickly!

Jackie said...

when I was younger, I was in the hospital with Virial Spinal Meningitis, and they kept me there for 10 days. I'm just curious how you can "fix" the problem at home, without specific meds?


oh wait, I'm jsut thinking, maybe I had bacterial.... ya that must be it....

Vanda said...

Healing thoughts from across the pond.

Hope your recovery is quick.

Menita said...

And she can still laugh. Wow.
I hope you feel better soon (trite, but true).
This sucks.

may said...

get better...

Orange said...

A woman who resets her own broken nose at home can certainly manage a case of viral meningitis at home. You're like a sturdy pioneer woman crossed with Xena the Warrior Princess crossed with a savvy clinician (married to an equally savvy doctor). If I have to be stranded on an island, Survivor style, I'm totally taking you with me. (Bring the good drugs.)

bihari said...

And since you survived to today and wrote this post, I guess the rash WASN'T neisseria-induced petechiae?

Also...if I hadn't known you were a doctor from your blog title, I'd know now, because who else gets up and goes to work while deathly ill, then waits politely for a colleague to notice she's dying so she can go home?

Geez. Doctors.

terri c said...

YIKES!!! Get better soon.. please note I am speaking in a whisper so the noise does not aggravate the headache... viral meningitis does not sound like fun.

Melissa P. said...

Hope you get better soon!
Take care of yourself~

Kungfukitten said...

You poor thing. I hate migraines (and meningitis). It's almost impossible to explain them to someone who had never had one. I usually use the metaphor of having your head repeatedly slammed in a car door while a rabid doberman chews the flesh off your head and an axe murderer keeps whacking at your forehead. Feel better soon.

KristieD said...

migraines are hell. i wouldnt wish them on any one ever. and people who dont have them dont usually understand.

hope everything else clears up and you are all better quickly!

kdoctor said...

Whoa thats terrible!
I hope you get better soon!

Anonymous said...

Eek - hope you feel much better soon. Take it it's not too contagious??

Fiona

Feral Mom said...

All you need is the healing light of Christ. When was the last time you attended church, sinner?
Feel better soon.

amusing said...

Gee, a public service announcement. It's not unusual for my migraines to last for days, but now I will now that if there's a rash, etc. it's more than the standard headache....

Thanks!

DoctorMama said...

Fully recovered now, though on call for the weekend, which is its own special headache.

It does seem absurd that I tried to go to work. One excuse is that I didn't have migraine medicine at home, and knew I could get some at work ... but mostly it's just the feeling that if I'm not in fact dead, I should be at work.

P.S. Migrating to Blogger beta -- expect glitches.

terri c said...

Glad to hear that you are better. Maybe some day you'll want to talk to someone (ha, ha) about that feeling that if you're not dead, you should be at work... believe me I understand that one however! Take care...