Monday, June 23, 2014

Mom's turn at the ENT

Last week I ventured in to see Dr. Blotter about myself.  It started shortly after Brooke had her prick test done.  I was talking to Travis on the phone one night and he had googled "What can I eat if I have a milk allergy."  Being a smart alec, I told him he should have googled "What can I eat if I have a corn allergy?" because that was what she reacted to the most.  So, being who he is, he did it.  He found this article:   It's a blog post that describes one woman's journey to learn she had a corn allergy.  Growing up she was diagnosed with multiple different medical issues.  Later in life she found out she had a corn allergy.  Once she eliminated corn, all her problems went away.  Travis told me he thought it sounded like me and that I should go get allergy tested.  I think it sounds like my dad too.  So, hence the reason I went to visit our beloved Dr. Blotter.

Anyway, I explained all of this to Dr. Blotter.  As he listened I could tell he didn't think I was completely insane.  He actually jokingly made the comment, "Ah, the matriarch of the family.  I've had my suspicions for years!"  After I finished telling him all of this he looks in my ears, throat, etc.  He was surprised to see I still have my tonsils.  He mentioned that they were large and "grainy looking."  He proceeded to tell me that the bacteria that causes strep can have rheumatilogical consequences (like rheumatic fever) that can actually present as arthritis like symptoms.  He said he doesn't want to just go in and take out my tonsils because I'm an adult and it's a rough recovery for an adult.  His theory is that he would give me a prescription that would kill any strep like bacteria to see if it improved my arthritis symptoms at all.  Since I"m allergic to penicillin, I got Bactrim (aka Septra).  I was suppose to take this prescription twice a day for ten days.  Before I left the dr.'s office I went over to the allergy clinic to schedule my prick test.  They couldn't get me in until July 9th so that's what I took.  In discussing all the allergy testing options with Dr. Blotter he told me that if I want to really be certain of allergies I need to have RAST testing done as well.  RAST testing is just blood work that tests for elevated levels of particular allergens.  Once I got the call from the dr.'s office telling my my insurance would cover all the allergy testing I went and got the blood work done.  That RAST testing, came back completely negative.  That means there were no elevated levels of any of the allergens that were tested for (all the food allergies and a few of the tree/grass/pollen ones).  I'm still scheduled for my prick test on July 9th.

I began taking the Septra on June 16th.  Since I didn't take any until that evening, I only got one dose that day.  It was Tuesday that I started my twice a day doses.  I noticed Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning that I was having pain in my feet and hands.  I was getting pain across the bottom of my toes and on the balls of my feet.  Behind my knees it felt like when I would extend my legs that a tendon was being pulled down into my calf.  My hands were horrendous.  My left thumb on the top - not necessarily in the joint but at the joint points.  Also the left pointer finger.  When either of those fingers moved pain would shoot down into my wrist.  But it wasn't into the center of my wrist, it was the inside and outside of my wrist.  On my right hand it was my ring and pinkie fingers.  If I tried to open my fingers to lay my hand flat it felt as though a string was attached to the tips of my fingers and it was trying to rip the muscle below all of my fingers up and off.  Each day got progressively worse and worse.  By Sunday it had hit my knees.  Not my entire knees though.  Just the inside of both my knees.  It's also been affecting my shoulders and my right shoulder blade area.  I've been telling Travis since about Wednesday that I either needed a lead pill or a mega dose of narcotics.  I've been trying not to take Aleve because that's one of the drugs you have to give up five days prior to your prick test.  I can take Tylenol though.  Tylenol arthritis hasn't touched it.  I had my mom drive me to Walmart on Sunday and I got some extra strength Tylenol.  It has helped a smidge more than the Tylenol arthritis, but that's about it.

I have quite literally spent the entire last week mostly in bed and sleeping.  This is highly uncharacteristic of me.  I can't even sit and watch tv without something to do with my hands.  I've been trying to get my "spring" cleaning finished and Relay stuff wrapped up.  This has put a serious kink in my day to day operations.  I have not been able to life B (or much of anything else) because when I do it feels as though my thumbs are going to be ripped completely off my hand.  What's worse is that after I lay down and fall asleep I'll sleep for like 4+ hrs at a time.  When I wake up I don't even move before I have a "Dear Lord how have I been sleeping!" sort of response.  Trying to move any muscles at all nearly puts me in tears.  My feet feel as though they did when I was pregnant with Caleb (stuffed sausages that are going to split open if I put any pressure on them).  It's all I can do to actually sit up.  Standing up and getting dressed has been rather painful and almost impossible.  Stairs?  Um, no - just no.  I probably should not have legally been driving today either.

On Sunday I was talking to my mom and she told me to call the dr. on call and see what they said.  I called and talked to Dr. Wood (not my regular ENT - obviously - and not my preferred choice but beggars can't be choosers at this point.  I told him what was going on and why I was on the medicine.  He asked if I had a rash.  I told him no rash.  He said that as long as I don't have a rash I"m good because the rash is what they are the most concerned with.  He did say that it sounded like it was likely a reaction to the Septra and to go ahead and quit taking it and follow up with Dr. Blotter on Monday.

On Sunday night I was literally in tears from the pain.  I finally decided to get into a hot bath because that's what helps the most when my arthritis is kicking my butt.  I had sent my mom a text a bit earlier saying "I want my mommy!!!!".  I told Sam that if grandma called or texted me back to let her know I was hurting bad.  Lucky for me my mom did text back and Sam did respond.  Mom got there in time to help pull my poor self out of the bath tub - otherwise I would have been stranded!  Lucky for me my mom stayed and helped get my kids in bed.  I went to bed and tossed and turned most of the night.

I called Dr. Blotter's office at about 11 am today.  I had to leave a message for the nurse on the nurses's line because they were on the line with someone else.  We finished dance lessons, did allergy shots, dropped Sam at a friends house, had some lunch and then B and I laid down to watch Alice in Wonderland at about 2.  I woke up at 4:15 to Dr. Blotter's nurse finally calling me back.  She told me she didn't dare not have me come in because it sounded like I was having a weird reaction to the medicine.  She told me to just come in right then and she'd get me in to see the PA, Lindsey (who we also really like).  So, I picked Sam up from her friend's house, dropped Sam off at dance and went to the ENT.  The boys walked over to grandma Kris and grandpa Scott's house and I took B in with me.

After talking to Lindsey she told me that she felt like it was a very rare allergic reaction to the Septra and that I should for sure never take a Sulfa based medicine again.  You don't need to tell me twice!  She said she wanted to blast me with steroids to get me feeling better and then when I"m feeling much better to try a different antibiotic to try the whole strep bacteria killing theory again.  I got a shot of Dexamethazone while I was in the office and she gave me enough of that same steroid to go for about ten days.  After that I will be on a double z pack to try and kill any strep bacteria.  So, here it is about 6 hrs post steroid shot and I have regained a painless use of my hands!  Wahoo!  My knees, hips and feet are another story entirely but I"m hoping that will come tomorrow or the next day.

A funny side note - when I walked back into the room following the nurse (it's once who works over in the allergy clinic too so we know her well) she told Brooke, "Why is your mom being such a trouble maker?"  B looked at her and without missing a beat she says, "Cuz."  I smiled and told her, "Don't you know by now?  It's what we do."  She laughed and said, "Yea, I know!"