For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Doctors, dentists, tests, more doctors and more tests.

Well, another week has flown right by. Hard to believe that the first month of 2009 is almost over!

It's not like we've been inordinately busy, exactly. I haven't been working at all lately. Aside from getting tired of phoning the office for shifts and never getting through, I'd be pretty useless right now with my arm. I did finally get to a doctor about it. I've got lateral epicondylitis - otherwise known as tennis or golfer's elbow. Since it didn't get any better after leaving it on its own for 2 months, the doctor sent me for physiotherapy. I've had all of one session so far. I ended up cancelling my second one since I wasn't feeling well that day, but I've got another session this Thursday booked. That'll be a busy day. I've got a dental appointment that morning to double check on a tooth I had pulled - it split it in half on New Year's night - and my husband has a follow up appointment for his knee not long after my physio appointment. My arm has actually been feeling a lot better since I got my tooth pulled. Turns out acetominophen is useless for tennis elbow, but ibuprofen, which I was told to take after getting the tooth pulled... that's gooooodddd stuff! It even works better for Dh's back.

Dh is having sooo much fun these days. _insert heavy sarcasm_ It's bad enough he's got his fatigue and back injury bothering him, but his knee is giving him grief again, too. Another old injury. He ended up missing a couple of days work because of the pain. That and it kept giving out on him. I was actually able to get him in to see our regular doctor on short notice, thanks to a cancellation, and we were able to take him for Xrays immediately after. Dh even got to see the Xrays before they got sent off, which was really cool. The dr. doesn't expect to find anything in the Xrays, but he needs to get those done first before sending Dh for an MRI. He also gave Dh a prescription for anti-inflammatories. They're doing a great job for his knee - but they *really* upset his insides. He's still on a couple of other prescriptions from the dr. at the walk-in clinic, though he dropped some of them. One of them had some pretty wicked side effects. They were supposed to lower his blood sugars, but instead screamed them way up. Only afterwards did we find out that this med. is named in a multi-province class action suit in relation to congenital heart failure and kidney failure, causing permanent damage and deaths. Lovely. On the plus side, this was the most expensive of the drugs, so dropping it makes things easier on the pocket book. We need to update our regular doctor about the prescriptions the walk-in dr. put Dh on, but this was the first time Dh got to see him in at least a year.

I've got another follow up appointment with the respiratory specialist this week. Oh, there's another story. I saw him before Christmas to go over my test results. It was even late enough in the day that Dh was able to join me. Now, the last time I saw him, he was quick to blame some test results showing I had low lung volume on my being fat, so I was curious to see if he'd even notice that my methacholine challange results were well within normal ranges. He didn't.

I was really surprised to find out nothing showed up in the bronchoscopy. They even did a biopsy and tested me for fungal infections, bacterial infections, and specifically for TB. Not only did they all come back normal, but I didn't even have any signs of irritation in my bronchial tubes. With all my coughing, I thought there would at least be some scarring or something. Nope. Everything looks perfectly healthy. Which is good, but it was the one test I really thought would show *something.*

My CT scan also came back normal for my lungs, but the folks that went over the images mentioned that they could see fat on my liver. The specialist told me it would have nothing to do with my chronic cough, but he passed it on so I (and my regular doctor) would be aware of it. Of course, he blamed it on my size. *sigh*

When I got home I did some research. Fatty Liver Disease, which can only be diagnosed through a biopsy, is associated with alcholol abuse, starvation, obesity, drug abuse and the side effects of some drugs. Fat on the liver, which is not Fatty Liver Disease, is one of those things that no one really knows the cause of, or even if it's harmful. It gets discovered by accident when people undergo MRIs or CT scans for other things - like I did. Blaming it on my size was just another supposition on his part.

When I saw my regular doctor about my arm, I used the opportunity to talk to him about the chronic cough and the various test results. I also brought up with him the issue the respiratory specialist seems to have with fat people. I said I wasn't quite sure how to deal with it, and that my main concern was that, if this guy is so quick to jump to conclusions about stuff unrelated to my cough, what else might he jump to conclusions about? My doctor was quite startled to hear that the specialist blamed the fat on my liver on my size. I barely finished mentioning it when he started saying that was rediculous. He wasn't impressed about the lung volume assumptions, either. In the end, though, I just wanted him to be aware of the situation. It's not much of an issue for me, but if he's got a patient with, say, and eating disorder, he'll know that this is not a doctor to recommend them to. These sorts of comments would be instant triggers. As we talked about it, I wondered if I should bring it up with the specialist, but my doctor told me not to bother. It wouldn't do any good. :-P Since it's unrelated to why I'm seeing the specialist, I'll just let it slide for now.

Meanwhile, I was sent for more blood tests by the specialist - this time to test for allergies. I've had allergy tests before, but they were the prick tests, not blood tests. I'll find out the results of that on tuesday. The results from the sleep test, meanwhile, weren't much good, since it was so short. I did snore (which means I actually slept more than I thought I did that night), and my blood oxygen levels did drop. When I mentioned that I'd slept horribly that night, the specialist said he wanted me to go for an overnight test. It has nothing to do with my cough, but he wants to play it safe. I'm ok with that. We don't take sleep apnea lightly. I do wonder, however, how an overnight test in a lab is going to be any better. If I slept so poorly during the test at home, it's going to be a lot worse in a strange bed with all those wires glued to me! Mind you, he says there's at least a 6 month waiting list right now, so it's not like I'll be getting it done any time soon.

Well, it's past 1 am right now. Which means it's the first day of Chinese New Year.

Gung Hey Fat Choy!



  1. Wow, lots of medical stuff! I am so glad your lung testing all came back well. It doesn't fix your cough though. I am having some numbers for my liver coming back too high and they think it might be a fatty liver also. I would be interested in what medication Dh was on for blood sugar. Mine are still not under control. I worry all the meds might be affecting my liver, but the doctor and pharmist both said it was unlikly.

    I hope once all the tests are done, you guys get a medical break for awhile :)

  2. The stuff he reacted to is under the name Avandia. The stuff that works is Metformin.


    I'm seeing the respiratory specialist in a couple of hours. The only test to go over is the allergy one. I find myself wondering what he'll find to blame on my size this time... which is really wrong. :-P


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