Confessions of a Self-medicating Idiot

Yes – this is one of those posts where I whine about my health. You have been warned.

Last week I went to the ENT on the direct instructions of my brain doctor due to the freaky MRI results stating that the bones in my head were infected. After waiting over an hour in a standing-room-only office, I went to the front desk to inquire as to when, if ever, they thought I may be seen. After checking with the nurses station, the receptionist – while refusing to make eye contact – grimly apologized and said that it could be up to a few more hours. Huh.

I glanced at the clock, and then at my agenda for the day. I have a day job. One where they expect me to add value, at least on occasion. Today was one of those occasions. I could NOT hang out in that doctor's office all day and not get screamed at by my boss or my employees – it was just not going to fly. I had deadlines and meetings, and they were all back-to-back and started in an hour and fifteen minutes. I was 45 minutes away from the office. I had half an hour to get the hell out of there.

So – I asked to reschedule my appointment. She glanced at the computer and moved through day after day of full schedules. Then she informed me that there was an opening on Wednesday, February 20th at 1:15pm. *blink* *blink* I handed her the MRI report stating something close to the fact that my brain may be infected and that I have something like 15 minutes to live (ok – I exaggerate - a tiny bit). She looked at it as if it were written in Swahili and handed it back. “So, does the 20th work for you?”

The 20th, in fact, did NOT work for me. I actually have to pick up Cassie at 2:20 on Wednesdays. The one day that did not work for me was Wednesday afternoon. The next time they had opened? Wednesday, February 27th at 2:15. No lie. They had NO OTHER TIME SLOT UNTIL MARCH. And – they would not offer to look any further than that. She said that I could call later and talk to a nurse to see what else could be done. I thanked her (for what, I have no idea) and turned to go. She stopped me, handed me the MRI report, which I said she could keep and give to the doctor – and which she clearly didn’t want to do. I took the report and left.

I then called the brain doctor back and told them the situation. They told me that I could not wait until March to be seen, and gave me a referral to another doctor that could hopefully see me more quickly. I looked the guy up online – and well, I don’t think we would have gotten along all that well. He is interested in the whole mind/body voodoo healing thing – and I am just…not. I really only want to see a medical doctor to fix...medical things. Not mind things. You know? And if he is interested in "spirit" things (as this one is) I am WAY OUT. So – I passed on all that and moved on to someone more interested in just getting rid of infection in bones. My appointment is ... wait for it ... February 18th. Not exactly tomorrow – but beats March. Sort of.

So - prepared to wait it out, I woke up a few days ago with a splitting headache, drenched in sweat (oooh, sexy), high fever, with a big old swollen lump behind my ear (which was continuing to drain crap that smelled like wet dog. Yes, I know – I had you at sweat). I faxed the MRI report to the new doctor, begging for a phone call, hinting at an earlier appointment. No such return call or earlier appointment has happened. Bummer. Being a whiny bitch, Todd and I discussed our options. I hung out moaning a lot and trying to figure out how to get better without actually doing anything about it. Not many ideas surfaced. My options ended up looking like this:

  1. Go to my regular doctor – she would not have touched my ear with a 10 foot pole. She would have made me go to an ENT. I have already been on 10 days of amoxicillin and 10 days of ciprofloxacin. There really wasn’t anything else she could have pulled out of her arsenal.
  2. Go to an urgent care center – they would have sent me home with antibiotics the same as above and told me to follow up with an ENT. Back to square one.
  3. Go to the emergency room – they would have either done the same thing as option 2, or most likely admitted me and re-run the MRI, hooked me up to IV antibiotics, and eventually had me seen by an ENT. I would prefer to be seen by an ENT and given options before being forced into a treatment path that might not make sense.
  4. Do nothing and hope for the best.

I decided on option 4. That is until the next morning when I couldn’t stand the pain anymore. This is when I abandoned all logic, went into the bathroom, pulled out my drug stash and decided to self medicate. I looked through what I had and thought about what might actually help. I decided on a high dose of prednisone (reduce swelling!) and some old antibiotics (start attacking infection!) that I had. 7 hours later I was a new freaking person. Today – I was out of bed early, showered, and at work at a decent hour. My ear hurts. My head hurts. But dude…I feel human. I feel like I might make it until the 18th.

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone out there afraid of doctors – but I don’t regret my self-treatment option one bit. I did research prednisone overdose and after not finding a single case documented, went ahead and took 100mg, which is the same dose they gave me when I had the rash on my face last year. It completely got rid of the swelling behind my ear and I feel SO MUCH BETTER. I can lean down and tie my shoes without crying. I actually made dinner last night. And gave the boys a bath. And put them to bed. I functioned for the first time in days like I was normal, instead of walking around like a zombie trying to work and function but barely doing anything extra at all.

Now – I have to make it through a ½ marathon on Saturday. Oh – I am laughing so hard as I type this that I think tears are forming in the corners of my eyes… that is so damn funny. Wonder if I will be crying 10 miles into it? Wonder if I will make it 10 miles. Ah - and then there is the marathon I want to run in October. Perhaps I can NOT train for that one too. Oh the humor. It is killing me.