Thursday, October 08, 2009

Night at the ER

I got another "wow" from yet another health professional. I LOVE that.

Last night, I drove myself to the ER with excruciating abdominal pain and vomiting that had occurred almost every half hour over a 4 hour time frame. That wouldn't be all that impressive, I suppose, except that I'd been vomiting for 3 days. The ER doc, who I have since heard is a good and competent doctor, did a thorough exam of my abdomen. When he got to my overlarge kidneys, he got a confused look on his face, so I filled him in.

"That's a cyst. From my kidneys."

He looked even more confused, and felt the outline of my entire kidney, starting at my back, and palpating forward. He nodded, and said, "Wow. I'm impressed."

Seriously, I love that. I'm not sure why--I guess I just like to think that if my kidneys are failing, at least I can be impressive while I do it.

I told him that he should do an ultrasound, just to look at them, because kidneys like this don't just come in every day. I informed him that he was missing a GOLDEN opportunity. He hesitated, and then just laughed it off and left. I like to think he considered it. I am, if nothing else, a kickin' medical learning experience.

Instead, he ordered an X-ray, had the nurse put in an IV to rehydrate me, and ordered anti-nausea meds. As the nurse emptied the syringe into my IV, I asked her what she was giving me.

"Zofran", she answered.

Nice.

They give that stuff to chemo patients.

But I understand why it's so expensive ($100 a pill?). That stuff ROCKS. I shudder to think what our hospital bill is going to be, but I gotta tell you, it might just be worth every penny.

As it turns out, my kidneys are not failing, at least not at the moment. The ER doc thinks it was a just a nasty stomach virus that flattened me but good. He sent me home with more Zofran (score!) and told me to contact my primary care physician or come back if the vomiting doesn't subside. But he said that with the Zofran, that wasn't likely.

Have I mentioned that stuff ROCKS?

So it's been a long and puke filled week, and I'm a little pooped out (no pun intended). But I'm grateful it didn't turn out to be something more serious, and that it was nothing to do with my kidneys. I'm having an ultrasound tomorrow just to be sure (something about my condition makes my PCP want to cover all his bases. My husband told him that he had a headache, and the doctor shrugged and said "So, you have a headache." I told him that I had a headache, and he told me to call his office for an MRI.) I have never been so happy to see an IV in my life. And I have no bruising from that IV, which has to be a first, which means my nurse pretty much rocked too.


My ER visit has done nothing to ease my fears about health care in this country, and I still think there is a lot that is seriously screwed up about the way we do things in this country. But I do just want to say one thing:

Thank heavens for patented chemo drugs.

4 comments:

Becky said...

hmmm...wish the zofran rocked for me too, unfortuanately it didn't. I was on it round the clock and still puked my guts out. (pregnancy) I know it does work, just not for me. Glad you are feeling better. Glad it's not your kidneys. Glad for patented drugs too.

RobMonroe said...

Oh no - I'm sorry to hear about your ordeal, but glad you've found good drugs! :o)

My first diagnosis GP almost skipped down the hall when he told me that I probably had FSGS. I was his first "real" (non-sprain/headache) diagnosis and he nailed it. Ugh.

Melanie said...

Yup, Zofran totally rocks. It made all the difference with my chemo, and as far as I'm concerned, was worth every penny of profit for the patent holder!

Here's hoping you don't need it again--but if you do (or if anyone else reading this does), don't let the cost scare you away. Generics have been available since late 2006.

Seeker said...

Glad the Zofran worked for you. Didn't touch my 10 month old's nausea when she was on chemo. But it's amazing to find a drug that knocks out nausea. Congrats. Though I'm sorry you had to find one.