Monday, September 08, 2008

TB, Blood Clots, and ER, oh My!

So, yesterday was interesting. I woke up and started my normal coughing "thing" when I realized that there was an "iron" taste in my mouth. I opened my mouth to have a look-see and realized that there was blood in what I coughed up. I continued to cough, and it continued to come with bright red blood.

My first thought was to just go in sometime this week to see my doctor. Obviously I knew I needed to go in, but didn't think it was a super big deal. Then I called my mom, who made me promise to call my doctor right then. The doctor more monkeys jumpin' on the bed! Okay, not really. She said to go to the emergency room.

History: I started getting a cough sometime in July. Then I went to Ghana and felt a lot worse--blamed that on the pollution and traffic. Came home and cough continued. I just thought it was allergies--and maybe it is??? It's not like an all day horrible cough. It's more like 3-4 "episodes" a day, but mostly a clearing the throat thing.

So at first I didn't think it was such a big deal when I coughed up the blood. Then I googled and looked at other related symptoms. Night I've had those a few times lately. Shortness of breath....yeah....but I just thought it was anxiety to do with the kidney transplant stuff. Dizziness and heart palpitations...check...but again, I just thought it was anxiety. And maybe it was!

So I drove myself and Eric to the emergency room. During check in I happened to mention I had been to Africa recently. Tip: Don't do that! That immediately buys you a one-way ticket to maskville! The three hours we waited to be called back I got all kinds of looks from people wondering what kind of horrible sickness I could give them!

It was obvious quickly that they were thinking I had TB. And honestly, I was wondering. I had several of the symptoms. After a few hours I had Eric go home to take care of the kids and puppy. It was about then that they moved me into a "reverse" isolation room. Yeah...not fun. Gotta pee? Here's your bucket! They won't let you leave the room and everybody coming in looks like they work for HASMAT (no idea if I spelled that right). That's when I got hooked up with IV, heart monitor, pulse-ox, and blood pressure cuff. You know...that way I literally couldn't get up if I wanted to!

They turned on a 10 inch TV that was stuck on TV guide channel and had a habit of rolling constantly. But hey--it was something. I had to change into a hospital gown and the guy told me to "get comfortable" because I would be there for "a while." Yea!

They took two huge vials of blood, a chest x-ray, and eventually they took me for a lung CT. I asked the guy why they were giving the lung CT and he said, "Oh. They think you have a PE." [As in, Pulmonary Embolism, as in blood clot in my lung.] I told him, "Oh. I thought they were working me up for TB." He said, "Yeah, I supposed it could be that too." Fun!

The guy tells me that he's going to inject dye into my IV and it is going to make me feel hot all over, like I am peeing my pants, and I will get a bad taste in my mouth. I WISH that's what it was like! MY reaction to this stuff was a bit more severe than how they describe it. The "pee my pants" thing was there--fine. It was the "Oh my goodness I cannot breath and I am going to vomit RIGHT NOW" feeling that was a bit harder to take. Thankfully that whole experience only lasted about a minute. I found out AFTER that experience that my mom doesn't react well to that dye. Would have been nice to know when they asked if I or my family members had adverse reactions to the dye! I got back to my room and my blood pressure was like 153 over 100. My blood pressure is normally on the low side at around 100 over 50. So I definitely "reacted" to the dye!

More waiting...more waiting...

Finally the docs came in and told me I was all clear! It was not TB and it was not a blood clot! Thank you Jesus!!! You think about a lot of things laying there by yourself, and it had certainly been on my mind that both of those things would exclude me from being Eric's kidney donor.

They told me that it was "probably bronchitis". That's a little weird, since I've had bronchitis before and don't feel anything like THAT. They said if not bronchitis, then I probably just popped a blood vessel coughing so hard. That's a little weird too, since this cough is not a hard type of cough. They prescribed a z-pak and said it should stop in a few days. I hope they are right.

There is a nagging feeling that I have been misdiagnosed. It just doesn't seem to "fit." But what do I know? Well, I know my daddy died of a lung disease at 44, and originally got sick when he was not much older than I am now. I know that lung cancer is prominent in my family history. And I know I'm still coughing up blood. =-( BUT I also know it's not TB and it's not a blood clot--so that's good! For now I'll take the antibiotics and hope that whatever it is, I am healed from it.



Heather A. 8:03 PM  

Girl, you had a BAD BAD day, but you crack me up with your descriptions! I'm really worried about you though, so keep us posted. And I'm praying that it really is something that can be mended witha zpac, that your family doesn't come down with anything, and that the transplant isn't affected by this. Love, prayers and hugs,

Heather A

Ericka 5:41 AM  

Anita, listen to that nagging feeling. It's our momma's instinct. I know it's totally not convenient to go see a Dr. but please do.
We need you!!!!!!
Go, go call NOW!

Nicole - Raising Animals 9:47 AM  

Oh Anita! How scary! I'm glad that you're ok....let us know how that z-pack helps!

Tuna Jones 11:41 AM  

In today's world you must be your own advocate. Go to another dr. and spell out your family history. Dig deeper. It never hurts.

mary grace 12:23 PM  

Praying for you right now! Listen to that feeling and become the squeaky wheel in your dr.'s life!

Tracy 5:57 PM  

You don't know me, but I've been blog-stalking for a while. Your symptoms sound a lot like what I went through last year. I was eventually diagnosed with Pertussis, after many, many, many exams and tests. Maybe you could ask your doctor to test for it.

Good luck to you!

mabmd 7:28 PM  

I am SO glad that you don't have TB (!) but as a physician, I gotta tell ya, I'm agreeing with heather and tracy: Praying you get better with the Z-pak, but if you don't please, please make sure you get checked for Pertussis. There are a lot of people not immunizing these days and I know for a fact that there were several caases of Pertussis in Nashville recently! Here in PA, we're offering Pertussis re-immunization to all our post partum patients. TAKE CARE of yourself; will be lifting you in prayer.

Momto13 9:16 AM  

Be very careful of the IVP dye. I have NO other known allergies and had a severe allergic reaction to that dye when I was younger. (couldn't breathe)

I am going on to read the next post. Something just isn't adding up with the dx.

Praying for you my friend!