Life Postponed

Family and close friends know that I have not been feeling well for several months now.  Actually, it has been about six months since I have started suffering from digestive problems that have become more severe as time passes.

When Dave and I returned from our Oregon trip in late September, I knew I had a bladder infection.   I waited about a week before going to the doctor because we got home right around my birthday.  I wanted to visit with a friend from out of town. The next day my older daughter treated me to a birthday brunch. The following day my other daughter and my granddaughter treated me to High Tea at the Brown Palace Hotel.  Then it really WAS my birthday, so Dave and I celebrated on THE day. By that time, the infection was severe and I ended up on a 14-day course of Cipro.  The medication worked, even though at times it felt like a case of the treatment being worse than the ailment!

When I received the word that I was okay, I began my exercise regimen at the fitness center and was feeling good.   Three weeks into my workout schedule, I noticed sharp pains in my right side.  Indigestion had not gone away once the bladder infection was cured, so I now suffered from severe nausea, the sharp pains in my side and back and terrible heartburn.

All of these symptoms cropped up as the holiday season began.   Their severity varied, so I adjusted my diet and decided to ride out the holiday season.  If I had something seriously wrong with me, I wanted to postpone knowing about it until after Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and my older daughter’s early January birthday.  Holidays are such a hustle and bustle under normal conditions, why complicate things?

I proclaim today, the 21st of January, that delaying is not a good idea.  When I finally got in to see my physician, the medical offices were as crowded as the post office before Christmas.  Everyone in my part of town had postponed medical appointments like I did.  Added to that, many new enrollees in my medical plan arrived for checkups, prescriptions or blood tests.  A few days later I was in radiology for a CAT scan.  It was crowded there as well.

The results of my test showed gall bladder problems, a blockage in the duct between my gall bladder and pancreas, a thickening of the gall bladder wall, inflammation and fluids where they shouldn’t be.  Okay, I already suspected gall bladder trouble, so I wasn’t surprised.  Let’s take care of it!

Anatomy of the biliary tree, liver and gall bl...

A "sausage" view of the innards I'm writing about...I never was curious about it until now! Image via Wikipedia

My Doc sent a referral to Gastroenterology and I called to make an appointment.  The first available appointment is February 21st!  When the scheduling nurse told me that, I said, “You are kidding!  What if this gets worse before then?”  Her reply was, “Go to the emergency room if the pain increases or if you begin vomiting.  You can always call about cancellations between now and your appointment.”  I waited for her to say, “Good luck!”  She didn’t.

I have called every weekday since.  I set my iPhone alarm to ring its most annoying sound, reminding me to speed dial Gastroenterology.  I know my medical id number by heart.  Pretty soon the staff will know my voice and my request.  They are unfailingly polite and friendly.  I feel rather ghoulish calling so much, waiting for a time to open up.  If one does, is it because someone else went to the emergency room—or died?

What has this taught me?   Don’t postpone medical problems.  Everyone else does, so you will be with the pack rather than ahead of it.   Now I find myself putting my life on hold as I wait for surgery and to finally feel better.


13 thoughts on “Life Postponed

  1. Mary, I’m so so sorry to hear that you have been in such pain and distress. Yes, postponing is a normal thing for most people, but it definitely can create problems that ultimately can mushroom in size. Please keep me informed about any changes in your surgery date and I will be praying for you.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear you’re feeling so awful. But don’t be so hard on yourself. Medical offices are busy ALL of the time. Whether you’d dealt with things immediately or not, I suspect there would never be a time when the clinics and offices were slower than they seem to be now.

    I hope that you’ll be able to get in before February 21st. Feel better!

  3. As soon as you said “sharp pains in my right side,” I thought, “Gallbladder!” As you and I have discussed over on my blog, I empathize. But to be honest, though I wish you hadn’t delayed BOTH the treatment of the UTI (ow ow ow ow ow!) and the treatment of the gallbladder, I am relieved to learn that it’s “just” that. Once you have that thing popped out you should be shiny new! In the meantime, I hope the pain stays at a minimum and you can function and hang on. That’s a long time to suffer.

    • Thank you for your comment! I may not make it to the appointment date. It is becoming worse, so I’m cleaning and organizing around here with the idea that if I feel like this tomorrow, we’re heading to the emergency room!

  4. I hope you are feeling much better now. I’ve had similar experiences and, for the most part, have found it more expedient to do some research and, when possible, treat myself. It really is incredible how long they expect you to wait before seeing someone. All best wishes for the future.

    • Thank you for becoming one of my blog followers. I am following yours as well. I love your nature and wildlife pictures. They are amazing! As far as my health, I am very activist. I called the gastroenterology department everyday until I got an earlier appointment. Now I have a colonoscopy next week and an MRI the following week. Everything is happening before the original consult appointment of Feb. 21. I even advocated for a female gastroenterologist. Since I think my condition may require surgery, I had to be very firm about getting attention–after postponing it so long! Mary

  5. Good for you!! It seems like that’s the only way to get things done these days. I hope all goes well. Thanks for the kind words re the blog. We all need a bit of encouragement now and then and it’s nice to know that someone is actually looking at the stuff we put on here.

    • Don’t I know about encouragement. I found the best way to attract followers is to be a follower. I’m so glad we follow each other!

  6. Pingback: A Surgery Surprise | Listen to the sun rise…

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