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.