Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Weekend Turned Week Hellish Nightmare

***For anyone I referred to this entry cuz I want a quick and effective way to explain why I was hospitalized can choose to skip certain parts of this entry and begin reading when the asterisks ******* begin.

All of my weekend plans consistently fell apart. It's as though this tragic event was inevitable and the universe was trying to keep me unoccupied for when it occurs. Initially I believed a Vegas trip was going to happen this weekend. But my friend didn't see my response until Friday evening or technically midnight of Saturday when he complained I can't believe I'm waiting for you to be let into someone's place when I should be in Vegas but everyone cancelled at the last minute. He proceeds to share that he tried to recruit others, but it was too last minute. When I reveal to him that I said I wanted to go, he frantically checks his text messages. Ironically the two of us were available to hang out cuz we didn't go to Vegas when we wanted to go all along.... =_____= Although it was certainly a good thing I wasn't there this weekend, I must admit considering the turn of events.

I was also invited to a huge party quite a ways away from the city, accessible enough but provides an adequate amount of distance from modern society to escape into nature, a community that lives as closely to a conventionally society free organization. They were having a huge gathering with food (mostly vegetarians and vegan menus as many of them abhor animal protein), music (since that area seems to draw some of the most musically talented souls), artists, travelers, gardeners, and so many other types of interesting people as well as other indulgences such as hot tubs, nearby hiking trails, and even hot springs!!! How I would've loved to have gone, but again it was best considering the circumstance it didn't happen.... Sigh.

Then I was invited to another gathering, which frankly carried less appeal but it would've been easiest to get to and I hadn't seen a few of them in quite some time. If it were any other day, I would've been more open to going. I'm just not sure if I was up to the task when I knew I'd rather be somewhere else, not that I wouldn't have enjoyed myself. As if it matters now... They're great people, but they're more friends of friends I get along well with. The reason they wanted me there was cuz it was going to be a huge celebration. One of the guy's girlfriend got pregnant and they'll be moving out of the country at the end of the month. That's quite newsworthy. It's unfortunate I wasn't there to share in the joy. But I had my own life changing experience set in motion for me that I had to answer to...

I contemplated whether I wanted to indulge my entire medical diagnosis on a public forum and decided to because I plan on writing detailed reviews identifying negligent practitioners who played a role in such a preventable outcome on my other blogs linked to this one, so full disclosure would be required.


I was with a guy I had an allergic reaction to, an experience I never had before i.e., vaginal discharge. I went to see the gynecologist, Dr. Frances Teng, MD who practices in Pasadena, CA. As many doctors do, I was given a series of antibiotics that never seemed to work. It also took quite some time to notice the correlation of the cause - sexual interaction. Note, I've always been diligent about getting tested for AIDS/HIV, syphillis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and other common STDs. And again since the reaction took some time to form and because I was experiencing other stress in my life such as getting illegally but intrusively evicted from my apartment complex by my landlord while her husband was stalking me, my job being in jeopardy, and being a victim in a car accident only for the asshole to flee and continually harass me even after the incident, it was plausible to believe my gynecologist's assessment that it was a reaction to stress. But the symptoms never seemed to subside and persisted despite my diligent use of the antibiotics.

Eventually I stopped wasting my time and money on a treatment that was clearly not working since I'm not trying to develop antibiotic resistant cells which I'm sure by now I have already developed. What's worse is the doctor had the audacity to tell me that the discharge must be excess and no longer be a sign of an existing infection or perhaps when I wash myself, I'm flushing water in there and it's causing an irritation. =______= I've always been hygienic especially down there, and no I don't douche because I'm educated enough to know that contrary to popular belief, it can do more harm than good by killing off good bacteria. If you do an adequate job cleaning yourself, you don't have to flush your system of beneficial bacteria to be odor free.

Also I've been having fevers when I menstruate which is a classic symptom of an infection. However, I was told repeatedly that no infection has been detected and I was perceived as being agoraphobic. What's the point of being alarming when everyone thinks I'm crying wolf and nothing is treated? So I proceeded with my life and somehow a year has passed by me. Time is so elusive and has a way of passing us by incredibly quickly!

I wouldn't be surprised and expect anyone reading this to wonder why in the Hell I would let a year go by. But honestly what else am I supposed to do? I've been to several clinics and three different gynecologists. It's not like I didn't put in the effort. I was just running out of resources. I was also sharing this very private matter with a few trusted friends, too. Unfortunately my incident is far too common, but it's not information people understandably publicize. It's this unawareness that leads to hospitalization of something that should be preventable!

I'm no longer involved with the guy I had a reaction to and there's still even some question about whether it was him I was allergic to because of my symptoms. He has no STD's and has been involved with other women since me, and no one else seems to have this reaction. I feel so special... =_____= My symptoms have subsided temporarily and then resurfaced.

In fact, the two days before I became hospitalized which was on Sunday, I did have some heavy discharge I've never experienced before. But long before that, I developed a sharp and persistent pain on my left lower pelvic/abdomen area and my back left area which eventually spread to my right side, but the pain wasn't as intense, although sometimes it would be. Overall, my left side was far more excruciating in pain. It's amazing what the body adapts to. Since I have such a low tolerance for pain, I can't just whine about every sensation. It distorts my perception. I assumed I was being overly dramatic and ignored it until I eventually adapted to it. It certainly wasn't my preferred choice, but what else was I supposed to do? I took all the measures I possibly could by consulting medical practitioners that specialize in this field only to be assured nothing is wrong. I refused to breakdown about it as life passed me by.

How frightening is it that my body was trying to communicate with me that something is wrong only to go ignored by experts trained in this field? The pain was so paralyzing and debilitating that it woke me up from my sleep and I fell off the bed, unable to move. My entire lower stomach area was completely clenched, and I could do or feel nothing but be delirious from the torment. I knew action had to be taken, but I also intuitively and adamantly knew the answer wasn't to go to the Emergency Room because they wouldn't be equipped to handle this situation. They'd go based on statistics and waste their time testing me for food and other stomach related ailments, but I knew, I just knew it had something to do with the vaginal discharge I've been having.

This is an unpleasant thing to read, I know, but it's nothing compared to going through it. And I strongly urge anyone who's still reading this to continue since you've read so much already, and you my experience is unfortunately a common outcome for many sufferers. You might as well armor yourself with this knowledge, so if you ever come across anyone who goes through what I went through, you'll be able to offer some sort of insight. My friend advised me to not go to the ER as I had suspected but to go to an urgent care clinic which another friend had recommended me to. I went to Pacific Alliance Medical Center in Chinatown Los Angeles, CA.

I promise you it's one of the best kept secrets. Because it's a smaller institution, the staff isn't overwhelmed and are able to assist the patients being admitted. They're also caring and demonstrate human compassion, qualities I believed no longer existed in emergency situations and had accepted long ago. I arrived in noticeable pain, hunched over and unable to stand straight, so they rushed someone to get a wheelchair for me which made a world of difference.

I was given a cat scan rather quickly and they noticed a lot of cloudiness around my appendix, so the physician on site deduced it was either a ruptured appendix or an appendicitis. As with many physicians who go purely based on statistics, he was in all honestly rather narrow-minded. He was polite but ignored a huge chunk of valuable information I provided. I said I had pelvic pain and he pressed into the left pelvic area and listened to me as I described my vaginal discharge and said but that's completely unrelated. (You'll read how that's untrue before the end of this piece). I emphasized pain on my left side, and he kept bringing the attention back to my right side! He persisted if I had pain on my right side, and I agreed. But I said I also have pain on my left side. Then he asks if I have more pain on the right side, as though he's trying to fit my symptoms to match his diagnosis. It doesn't work that way!

Okay, so this hidden gem has flaws, but give me one medical facility in the United States that isn't laced with faults. He insisted I go into surgery, even though we had no idea which of the two it could be - a ruptured appendix or an appendicitis. Appendix related pain begins from the upper body and travels lower. I was exhibiting the exact opposite pain direction. So after some insistence, I was told I can have an enema which is when fluid is inserted into the rectum to get a clearer idea of what's going on around the appendix. The liquid would offer a color contrast, and it was through this painful, MISERABLE but valuable experiment that a ruptured appendix was ruled out. Then I was given a consultation with the surgeon who I immensely respect. I believe his name is Dr. Alfredo Jose.

Dr. Jose was immediately doubtful that I required surgery for appendix, which was such a relief for me cuz it's frightening how common it is for the appendix is removed even when there's no justification for one. And by that I mean they can't prove there's anything wrong with the appendix. I understand time is of the essence, but perhaps if less time and priority was spent on action i.e., surgery and more time developed the analytical and intuitive mind, unnecessary and uncostly procedures would be greatly eliminated and everyone's focus will go into treating what's actually going on with patients, rather than distracting tasks! Dr. Jose requested a pelvic sonogram, and it was discovered that I have an inflamed left ovary caused by either a ruptured cyst or an absess. The cause is still unknown. I also had an inflamed appendix. This led to a diagnosis of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is a curable disease where inflammation occurs on the pelvic and spread to other organs. And this is why it was such a bitch to diagnose me! It's primary causes are an ectopic pregnancy or two common STDs, gonorrhea or chlamydia of which I have none. Although I did have an ectopic pregnancy scare. An ectopic pregnancy is when a pregnancy occurs outside of the uterus and inside of the fallopian tube. Because of its location, you can be tested negative for pregnancy when you are in fact pregnant, and a fetus can't survive in the fallopian tube. So it dies and ruptures inside of a woman causing unbearable pain. Now moving on to the STD.

You'll have to forgive me while I go on a rant but a valuable one, I promise! Did you know in 10% of STD positive cases, it'll show up negative if you're on antibiotics??? WTF!!!! You know how many people are on antibiotics? And exactly how much antibiotics in the system masks the STD? What about residual antibiotics? Cuz it does stay in the system for a while. Not to mention chicken uses antibiotics. And what about accutane and other acne treating medications? It's startling to think of how many people could be walking around with STD's and have no idea cuz this fact isn't being shared! Too many people are negligent about being tested as it is and rely on condoms as a safe source of protection. Now I find out that even tests aren't reliable, and this information is kept secret! How outraged I feel! In my personal case, I'm diligent about being tested, so I know I wasn't on antibiotics but still! Either way you look at it, it's a lose lose situation. I don't have STD's or an ectopic pregnancy, and my symptoms go ignored. Had I have had an STD, it could have been masked by my diet? Am I over exaggerating? Who knows! Since there's so much discretion about antibiotics masking STD's! It's just 10%, but what alarms me is the fact that this detail goes unexpressed!

The only thing they really knew for sure was that issues on my left ovary and appendix. I was given a culture test to see if it could be any other type of bacteria, but the tests came back negative. The doctor basically said we have no idea what she has, so treat her for everything under the sun including bacteria infections that won't show up on test results. ***Oh and I'm sorry I failed to mention that the first thing that was checked was my white blood cell count which was highly elevated at 18%. A normal person's white blood cell count is 5-10%. So there was undeniably an infection going on. But what that infection was went unidentified.

All this time I've been going to the doctor, and they never checked my white blood cell count. Had they have done that, they would've known something was the matter, that it wasn't merely excess water. Last time I checked, water was clear... -_____- At least now I know what should be examined, although I'm hoping future incidences such as these don't occur again. I'm not sure if gynecologists are even equipped to examine white blood cell counts. So if you know anyone who's suffering unidentifiable excruciating pain that's sharp, persistent, and long-term, please go to the closest Urgent Care and request your white blood cell count to be inspected.

I was put on seven different heavy antibiotics, demerol, a pain reducing medication, and an anti-nausea medicine, zofrane. All of these were through an IV. I could still feel everything with demerol, so then they switched me to morphine. If any of you know me, you know I'm tiny. But guess what? They gave it to me one evening and I was up on the phone with a friend until 6 am. He said we could talk for as long as I wanted until I fell asleep. We actually got off the phone cuz he had to go to work. My mom was surprised by how lucid I was. If I didn't move, I didn't feel much pain. But if I readjusted myself even slightly on the bed, all that pain came rushing back to me and was such a shock to my system.

To make matters worse, I began developing an allergic reaction to one of the medications, but we still aren't sure which one. My right hand developed bug bite looking things, but I kept my mouth shut cuz it could've been actual bug bites. However over time, my right hand began to swell. So they switched my anti-nausea medication to reglin. (Not sure if I have the correct spelling there). It could've been demerol, but I was already off of it. I went longer than I would've liked without anti-nausea medication cuz they were waiting for the pharmacy to supply it only to discover that the manufacturer hasn't made the IV version yet. During this time, I also had a really low blood pressure of 70/40. A normal person's blood pressure is 120/80, so they took me off of the morphine. Therefore I could feel all the pain and the nausea. In fact, I threw up which also became problematic because they decided to give me my anti-nausea medication in large tablet form except I was throwing everything up. Oh and the IV on top of my left hand was incredibly sore and the fluid wasn't pushing through the way it should've. So then they swapped it to my right side and the same thing happened.

It forced me to eat food, rather than receive it intravenously. Also when my blood pressure dropped, they replaced my saline solution with supplements that would increase my blood pressure. It was accelerated into my body, two bags quickly which really hurt and was very cold. I was already feeling chilly cuz I had a fever. I had one, it broke, had one again, this occurred three times during my four day stay. My white blood cell dropped to 13% which was a good sign that the infection was reducing and then my fever spikes, reflecting that my body is fighting an infection.... Great, just effing great.

Anyways I was told I could leave if I can keep my food down which was necessary since IV's were no longer working, and they weren't letting me leave without elevated potassium levels. Pfft! I felt horrible but finally I've been released, so I can share my story! :) But my life is never that simple, is it?

My job was a temp assignment, so they ended my assignment early since I was hospitalized... So I've been hospitalized and therefore terminated for it. Now I'm left with a HUGE bill to pay and no income. Great, just great.

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