Tandra's been puking unexplainably for about five weeks. We started out by going to her doctor. He did some blood work to look for evidence of an ulcer or infection, and found none. He did a normal stomach x-ray, and found nothing. He prescribed her some anti-nausea medication and told her if it gets too bad, to go to the emergency room.
The medication he prescribed made her stomach hurt, and she couldn't take it. One day I was awoken at about 7:00 by a loud thud. It was Tandra's head hitting the wall as she passed out from exhaustion on the bathroom floor, from puking so much. We took her to the emergency room. They gave her a shot of anti-nausea meds, a couple bags of fluids to get her rehydrated, and orders to go see her family doctor.
She told her doctor the anti-nausea meds weren't working, so he prescribed her some strong stuff that chemo patients use. It worked, but our co-pay of $30 was enough to buy us six pills. SIX. $5 a pill, AT THE COPAY PRICE. At 3 pills a day, that was just impossible. He prescribed her another medication, the generic version, and said "if it gets bad, go to the emergency room." Well, the ER had been useless last time, so the next time she was feeling really bad, we went to immediate care. That experience was nearly identical to the ER experience - completely useless at finding a cause. That doctor did, however, order and schedule Tandra for a barium stomach x-ray. Unfortunately, she couldn't make it through the twelve-hour fasting period due to her very sensitive stomach, and we had to cancel that.
All this puking means that she has to be very picky about what she puts in her stomach. Lots of things come right back up. Some of those things include her medications for bipolar, depression, and anxiety (we call them her crazy meds). So in addition to feeling terrible, she's been a nervous wreck. We don't know what's been causing her nausea, but she thinks it may be one of her crazy meds. I suggested that she start taking one of her older ones for a while, just to keep her somewhat sane until we got the nausea taken care of and she could see a psychiatrist (hopefully not an overmedicating quack like her last one) and get set up with some new medication. Well, her doctor wouldn't refill it without seeing her. So she scheduled an appointment with him. She was on the way, running a couple minutes late. She called them on the way to assure them she would be there; they told her it would be no problem. She had to pull over twice on the way there to puke. This made her 18 minutes late. 15 minutes is their cutoff. THEY TURNED HER AWAY. They told her to reschedule. When she protested, her doctor said "if it's that bad, why don't you check yourself in to the psych unit at St Joseph hospital."
What a fucking prick. So, he's not her doctor any more. F that guy.
On May 30th, before all this started, we spent the day in the ER because Tandra was having hellacious abdominal pain and was bleeding really really heavily. After 9 hours of ER glee, we found out that she has ovarian cysts. They cause her intense, constant pain. It slowly gets worse every day.
As if all that weren't enough, she gets really short of breath any time she does the least amount of exertion. She can hardly get out of bed because she gets dizzy and pukes, but when she does, she gets winded. Just walking to the bathroom. This could potentially be a symptom of a pulmonary or cardiac problem. We're not sure. This has been building over the course of a few months, but it's gotten really bad really quick over the last month or so. Of course, it might just be that she never does anything any more, since she can't get out of bed. Interesting that in spite of doing no exercise whatsoever, she's lost about 25 pounds through all this.
So about the time her doctor became a giant asshole, I got fed up with getting the runaround and not finding out what the hell is going on, so I scheduled her a friggin slew of appointments. A gastroenterologist (next Wednesday), a new general doctor (tomorrow), a cardiologist (tomorrow), a social worker/counselor (last week and again next week), a psychiatrist (couldn't get one until August 8th), OB/GYN (next Thursday), and one of my mom's alternative medicine doctors. All those appointments except the psychiatrist fall between tomorrow (Friday) and Wednesday the 26th. In the space of the next 5 business days, she has 5 doctors appointments. Hopefully by next week we'll have an idea what's going on here, and possibly some ideas on how to get her nausea cured, so we can go after everything else.
We've considered all kinds of things. Pulmonary disease, heart disease, diabetes, emphysema, crohn's disease... there's just no way to know until the doctors do their thing.
It's bad enough that she's unable to care for the kids during the day - we've had to arrange for day care for them. This adds an hour of driving to my day. From the time I leave for work to the time I get home is generally about eleven hours now. That doesn't leave a lot of time or energy for anything else.
People at my work and people like my sister and parents ask me how she's doing - I usually have to answer them by saying "about the same, no different. constant abdominal pain, vomiting, and periodic anxiety attacks."
Last night she was so frustrated and angry about having been sick for so long that she said "I don't care if I don't feel good - I'm going out to see my friends." And she did, and I think she had a decent time. I'm glad she did; she needed it. This whole thing has got her pretty depressed and frustrated. I don't blame her.
Anyway, that's the deal at home. The two older kids are here for the summer, but they're going back to Kansas City a little early - next weekend. I know it must be hard for them and for Tandra that Tandra is in bed most of the time, can't talk, can't handle a lot of noise or energy or chaos around. She hasn't seen nearly as much of them as I know she wanted to this summer. Hopefully we can make that up when she's feeling better.
We have taken them to the drive-in about four times - that's one of the few things Tandra can manage to do. So that's been fun.
Okay, this post is way too long.