Thursday, March 6, 2008

Can This Month Get Any Better?

So when we got back to American Siberia, I got a little cold (as in germs, not weather, although come to think of it, that would be applicable too). At least, I thought it was a little cold. It started out with a dry cough, which I at first thought was due to something in the air or something in the CA air (it's not uncommon for both Hubby and I to cough for a few days after a CA trip--one of the nice positives about American Siberia: fresh air). But then I got a slight fever. No worries I thought. But then the slight fever turned into a pretty nasty fever, I started vomiting, getting night sweats, aches/pains and congestion. Fantastic, I think. I have the flu! Normally I try to stay away from pills when I'm sick and just let the germs run their course, but I felt so crappy that I took an Advil to make the fever go away. And then another Advil. And another, and another, and another, until five days had passed and the only thing that had gone away was the Advil supply. Okay, time to go to the doctor.

I hate the doctor. I actually went to two last night, and my first experience demonstrates exactly why I avoid going at all costs. I show up for my appointment, after explaining all of my symptoms to the woman making the appointment and the nurse who brought me into the exam room. The doctor's office was packed and the exam rooms were close together, and I could hear the doctor that I was going to see talking to another patient before he came in. This patient sounded like he was complaining of flu-like symptoms as well. The doctor told him that he really didn't have the flu, that all of his symptoms were due to the change in weather and the pressure that can cause on your sinuses. (We actually got above freezing this weekend before the temperature dropped again--so basically the "temperature change" the doctor was referring to was: this weekend was cold. This week is really freakin' cold.) The other patient pointed out that he had a fever, to which the doctor replied that if this patient had the flu, his fever would be 104. (Really? 'Cuz I've had the flu lots and your temperature doesn't always stay at 104.)

Then this doctor comes out of that exam room, and speaks to the nurse about me before coming in. Then I hear something I can't believe: he diagnoses me before he even sees me. He tells the nurse that "I already know what she has. She's got ______________ (insert fancy schmancy medical terminology here which I'll get to later)." Sure enough, he comes in, listens to my lungs, looks in my ears, and spends a lot of time looking in my nose. He asks if I am experiencing fatigue. I say yes, kind of surprised that he asked, because aren't you always tired when you're sick? He tells me that all of my symptoms are due to the congestion that's sitting in my nose. I ask him if nose congestion can cause a fever and all of the other symptoms that I've experienced, even if it was one of the last symptoms to appear. He repeats that my symptoms are due to my nose congestion, and that this will also cause fatigue, which is what I came in for after all, right?

I couldn't believe what I was hearing at this point. I told him, no, I came in because I've had a fever for five days that will not break despite my taking obnoxious amounts of Advil. He told me that Advil won't make the fever go away, that I'd need an antibiotic. I'm not sure if this is accurate. I've taken Advil before when I've been sick, and it has helped the fever go away and kept it away. But then he prescribed the same antibiotic that doctor #2 gave me for a much different diagnosis, so maybe doctor #1 wasn't completely off his rocker. He also prescribed a nose spray which he was very adamant I take right away. As an aside, this is the third time between the two of us (Hubby and I) that we have seen this doctor. The last time I saw him, I went in for an earache. He told me I had post-nasal drip. Hubby saw him because he had a cold. Hubby was also diagnosed with post-nasal drip. Guess what was prescribed for post nasal drip? Nose spray! I think the guy is getting a kick back...

Anyway, he told me I had vasomotor rhinitis, which, when I googled it at home, is basically the medical word for a stuffy nose.

A stuffy nose. A stuffy nose can cause fever, aches and pains, cough, night sweats and vomiting? I think not. Now, I'm not a doctor, but I think I have pretty traditional flu symptoms, which, based on their longevity, could have been many different things. I was not tested for any of them. There was no blood work, no x-rays, nada. Just the extended nose examination after the pre-exam diagnosis. I call Hubby who comes home and I go to the urgent care of a different clinic. I see another nice doctor who takes one look at me, listens to my symptoms, and sends me down for x-rays and blood work.

Yeah, I have pneumonia.

What's really scary about doctor #1 is that he told me that he sees "9 or 10" of these "cases" a day. That's great. How many other people are getting misdiagnosed by this guy?

So now I'm on bed rest until Sunday, and I'm really hoping the antibiotic doctor #2 put me on does the trick, because I'm tired of being sick. And I'm seriously considering filing a complaint against doctor #1.


Carolee said...

What an idiot dr #1 was. My husband will be the 1st to admit there are some lousy drs out there. thank goodness i have my own personal physician who is really smart and cute:)

Jillian said...

Yikes. That is very scary. I wonder how many things go untreated or mistreated in patients and then turn into something else. You know how they always if you can "catch it early" there's a chance to treat it successfully? Well what are the chances of the majority of us being able to do that if doctors aren't taking what their patients are saying seriously?

Thank goodness you got a second opinion. I would definitely find out about reporting doctor #1. Since when can you treat a patient before even seeing them? Ugh.

Amber T. said...

How do people like that get licensed to practice medicine anyway?!

#1 sounds totally incompetent...

I hope you feel better soon!

Kate Turnbow said...

I'm not sure how I stumbled upon your blog...but I'm so glad I found someone else in the tundra who shares my complete awe of all those people who think this weather is normal. We moved to NoDak from MS, and I am officially on winter strike - I'm pulling out the flip flops today!!
Anyway, so sorry about your sickness experience. I haven't read too much else, but sounds like you had a death in the family too, my sympathies.

Laura said...

Gee Whiz! Its no wonder people turn to google so much to get answers to medical questions. It makes me grateful for the minority of truly good doctors.

Mrs. R said...

I know, how can crappy medical care be so expensive? What's wrong with this picture?

Carolee, I don't suppose Jeff would consider making house calls to MN, would he? :)

Colleen said...

I can't believe Dr. #1! I'm so glad you got a second opinion. You should definitely file a complaint about him. Your complaint could be enough to save someone else from your same misdiagnosis woes.