When you are sick on top of sick

May 06, 2016

Chronic Illness

This past couple of weeks I have been sick. Not the usual 'I have a chronic illness' type of sick, but unwell on top of that unwell. You could say I had a case of 'normal' people sickness.

It starts with your body doing something strange that isn't on your typical list of symptoms. For me it was lower right sided abdominal pain, in a place, and with an intensity I had never experienced before. Your brain instantly starts weighing up whether you are imagining it, what could have caused it, whether it is an extension of another symptom, whether you ate the wrong thing the day before, whether you could have overdone it...
This mental battle continues...maybe it's not as bad as I think? Maybe it will disappear by itself? Dr Google provides no help...all his advice say it's a medical emergency, and you should go immediately to the hospital. But what if it is just my body? 

A few hours later...
The pain continues. The pain is bad. Hmmm...maybe I should do something about this? This isn't quite normal, even for the stuffed up body of mine.

Being sick on top of sick is a challenge. Experiencing it this past few weeks, led me to some new observations I thought I'd share...

1. It might take everyone else around you awhile to get on board. You know your body, you know when something isn't right. When something is out of sorts. It might not be obvious to any medical recording devices...but you know when your temperature has spiked, even if it doesn't come up as anything. You have become an expert at reading your body. You doubt all the time whether you are sick enough...but you know when things are not right...and sometimes it is a challenge to get others around you to realise that something different or wrong might be going on with your body. 

2. Nobody realises how big a deal it is for you to end up at the hospital...you are desperate.
You have had to be convinced by those around you, and by medical specialists to end up there. You spend the whole time questioning whether you are using up resources that could be put to use for others who are worse off than you, you question whether the pain is really that bad, and you forget that many people would end up in hospital for things you deal with on a daily basis. And with a strong dislike of doctors and medical professionals who just don't get it, you are freaked out you are going to have to prove how ill you are, or otherwise you feel like you are being written off. 

3. Your pain is not taken seriously. You don't look like you are in pain as bad as you are rating it. But you are use to functioning with major pain. If you didn't function and get on with life in pain, life would not happen.

Medical Professional: "Rate your pain between 0-10." 
You: "Currently an 8" 
Medical Professional: "Really? That's high! Are you sure? You don't look in that much pain?"
(Not always verbalised...sometimes the look says it all!"
You: "I live with pain at a 5 most days. I have regularly taught kindergarten with a full blown migraine...I can do pain!"

Nurse: "We don't like to release people with pain higher than a 3."
You: "That would be nice, I haven't been below a 5 in years!"

4. You have better access to helpful drugs at home.
Hospital Nurse: "Let me give you something for that pain. How about some paracetamol or ibuprofen?"
Me: "Ummm...how about some chocolate? That might be more effective."
Make It, Bake It, Fake It

5. Often, you never get an answer. You will never find out, despite all best methods, all tests, all the poking, prodding, praying and Dr Googling. This sickness upon sickness will pass, without a clue to what caused it, what treatment actually helped it, or what it was at all!

And that is where I stand this week...still in pain, still without a diagnosis, one CT scan, two hospital visits, three doctor appointments, multiple blood, urine and ultrasounds later, and a plethora of medical opinions. We still don't know. The medical mystery that I am! And so, you wait, and trust, and work at being thankful that you have a God who carries you, has a plan for you, and knows you and your currently rather defunct body intimately. To whom you are not a medical mystery!!

Make It, Bake It, Fake It

And for those who were wondering...yes, my appendix is still there...well, apparently so, they have only caught a glimpse of it on the CT. 

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  1. I have to share this. I hate hospital so much that I have to be fearful of death to go there. For me, childbirth without drugs wasn't a problem mainly because I knew it was temporary. Gall stones are worse as you can't breathe. And meningitis is the worst for me as you can't even move for the pain. I didn't call an ambulance as I felt too ill to cope with hospital! That's where I get to now. Ironic!



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