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06 March 2011

Hurray for Drugs!

Rob has always called me a pill pusher. I just don't believe in suffering or loss of function if it can be avoided so easily by taking something. Centuries ago, there was little effective treatment available for ANYTHING, and so suffering was inevitable. Now it's just plain silly if you can find something that works for what ails you. (NOTICE: I realize there are folks out there, many of whom are dear friends, who suffer without remedy. I am referring only to situations where something that works for your problem exists, without unbearable side effect)
But there is one bunch of drugs I regularly try to steer myself clear of. Antibiotics. I have a long history of erupting into waves of hives and full blown anaphylaxis in response to 3 classes of them so far. The last go-round lasted 2 weeks (WHILE taking stupid amounts of Prednisone). I had hives in my ear canals, on my eyelids, on every square inch of skin I owned. And by all that was merciful, I really wished I owned less. So I generally just try not to get sick (really the best policy, anyways). So when I developed the usual signs of a mild bladder infection last week, I hit the cranberries, and remembered my EBM classes (Evidence Based Medicine). I recalled that many bladder infections pass without treatment, or respond well to cranberry supplements. This grumbled along without improvement or worsening until Thursday night. Then the vomiting, and fevers started. Like an idiot, I took an anti-vomiting med and waited for the night to pass.

bladder infection + fever +vomiting = pyelonephritis.

This means the infection has climbed the ureters and started munching on the kidneys, which don't take kindly to the insult.
So half delerious, I call work saying I won't be in that evening for shift. The other receptionist said, "Do you want to come in for an appointment?" " I don't think I can walk that far", I slur back,"Can you get Dr. X to call me?" (the clinic is less than a km away) The doctor phones back and gives me the options: come in for supervised initiation of Antibiotics (Ciprofloxacin, the expensive one, since I react to all the cheapies), or she will send me to hospital for IV antibiotics (Gentamicin, which is a big and nasty brute of a drug). I begged her not to send me to hospital. I called for a cab, pulled some proper clothes on, and crawled into the clinic. I proved I could keep the pill down for a half hour, and proved I was not septic yet (infection has entered the bloodstream, a medical emergency). I fevered and chilled some more, and experienced extreme fatigue for the rest of the weekend. But guess what?! I DIDN'T DIE. Before 1930, there was no effective antibiotics available. Period. 100 years ago, I could have been dead from this. And in only 3 days, I am ready to go back and work. WOW. I am so grateful we live when and where we do. HURRAY FOR DRUGS!

1 comment:

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