Monday, April 20

A Cautionary Tale

This story is about the mother of my daughter's friend.

In early January, she began to experience abdominal pain while carrying a light fever. She went to one of those quickie medical centers, and was told that she had a bladder infection. They gave her antibiotics and sent her home with instructions about downing fluids, etc. Bear in mind that all my information is second-hand, and I may not have it exactly right - but close enough.

Twice more she went back to those quickie centers, and twice more they gave her antibiotics and the same diagnosis - bladder infection.

Fast forward to early this week, when she lay in bed unable to move without severe pain. Her husband gave an ultimatum; she was going to the hospital whether she liked it or not. The ER docs took x-rays and did other tests, and the final diagnosis was a ruptured colon precipitated by rampant diverticulitis and of course, the infection was severe. They told her if she had not come to the hospital when she did, she'd have died by Saturday. She went into surgery that night and after 5+ hours and the loss of 10-12" of her colon, she will live. The surgery necessitated the installation of a colostomy bag, which she will have to have for at least 4 months. I think it may be reversed later on.

All this could have been avoided - or at least modified - if she had gone to her regular doctor for an examination when the first wave of pain and fever hit her. I am hoping that someone is saved a similar fate by reading this.

We really must get into the habit of taking good care of ourselves. This woman has very good health insurance and money or the saving of it is not an issue with her. So why didn't she make an appointment with her usual doctor and get a proper diagnosis? Who knows. I hope that anyone who reads this will take my advice: get good care - and don't settle for a cursory exam by someone who may not have all the facts.

24 comments:

Kay Dennison said...

Good for her hubby for making her go to the ER!

I wish I had a doctor who took good care of me. I'm really getting annoyed with the clowns I deal with.

Sky said...

good advice!

Anonymous said...

My hisband went to a his family Dr. and could not be seen by his regular Dr. but saw another Dr. He told him he had Irritable Bowel Syndrome and to keep going ot the gym. I got him to go a quickie crnter and they reffered him to a gastro-entrologist. He also had diverticulitis and lost eighteen inches of his colon and had to have a colostomy for six months. I begged him to go to the quickie center just to get anitbiotics whick probably saved his life. He almost died and we had excellent health insurance. Quickie isn't alway bad. It all depends on the medical professional you see. He did get re-hooked up six months later, but now horrendous hernias from all of the surgery and has even had hernia surgery and it hasn't worked either.

bobbie said...

In this country, of all places in the world, it is so hard to get a decent diagnosis. Today's doctors do have huge case loads and NO medical history to speak of They don't know their patients as the old time family doctor making house calls did. Even in ER it's tough unless it's really obvious what is wrong.

Mar said...

What a story, kenju! I am not familiar with those "quickie centers", but it seems the comments on your post will also be interesting to read!

Grannymar said...

Pain is a warning sign and we should pay heed to it. There are times when we must go through and put up with it e.g. childbirth or when a broken bone is being reset. Otherwise it is telling us that something needs attention and we should seek the appropriate help.

I know people who put up with agonizing toothache for weeks on end rather than go to the dentist because he will hurt them!!!

While I am on my hobbyhorse, if you are facing hip, knee or indeed any major surgery, get your teeth checked first. Any hidden infection in teeth/mouth will fast forward MRSA to the area of surgery. Nobody needs or wants that.

Arkansas Patti said...

What a sad story that could have been totally different. So glad she got help in time. Good hubby. Haven't personally been to a "walk in" but stories like that convince me they are no better than first aid stations.
Most of us have reached the stage that we finally realize that good health and family are all we have. Money can't buy either but care can keep them both.

PI said...

This rings a bell. I have just had a telephone chat with my doctor with a view to being referred and she wanted to make an appointment for an internal first. I said I'd rather not and she said they would not be impressed if she referred me without doing an internal first. So internal it is. I had one about 18 months ago and am not a fan!

Tabor said...

I do not understand why people will endure so much pain even after taking the prescribed medicine. If it doesn't start working in 24 hours go back to the doctor.

Granny Annie said...

What a story. I am so pleased your friend's story has a happy ending.

Those clinics are called Urgent Care facilities (UCF's) in our area. Medical professionals treat you like peons by refusing to get you to your primary care physician and insisting you go to the UCFs. Near death stories do not even phase them when they learn how wrong they were.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

With our insurance, it's cheaper to go to the ER than to visit the quickie places 2 or 3 times. I am a super advocate for my own health and that of my children. I will not stop until we get answers.

robin andrea said...

Definitely a cautionary tale. We often do put off taking our aches and pains seriously. When pain and fever persists like that, it must be attended to. It really can be the difference between life and death. Our medical system is really a mess.

NellJean said...

Is it possible that she first called her usual physician and was told "the first opening we have is (ten days, 2 weeks, insert any number)." Therefore she tried the UC where you walk in and somebody sees you after a brief wait, not a week.

If one time there didn't 'fix' her, going back was not the best plan.

Laura VSea said...

This is a very good warning to heed! I also had a similar experience with a walk-in center that is operated by our local hospital. They have a few branches around town, where you can go in if you break your arm or sprain your leg or have the flu, anything that is not major.

My daughter had a persistent sore throat and had been sick all week, so, since my hub's job had changed insurance companies and we hadn't found a new family dr. yet under the plan, I decided to check out the hospital's' walk in center near our house.

Ended up with a Dr. from India who barely spoke english, and a bill for $169! They tested her for strep, it wasn't strep, sent her home with instructions to rest, drink fluids, etc.

Never again!

Anonymous said...

Interesting......
I had non bacterial kidney infection for 8 months... All the antibiotics did no good at all and just shot my immune system along wilh allergys etc., I think I passed a kidney stone anyhow...
I suffered diverticulitis for nrly 30 yrs it was only helped by a veg fibre called colon ease... as bread fibre and physilliun made me worse...I was taken into hospital as I couldn't walk due to spasms in my hip and bowel... They couldn't get the camera up for some reason... But I now have IBS which is even worse also a gall stone and hiatus hernia and when I was discharged I went to the osteopath who diagnosed tetze chrondroiton as the pain is almost like a heart attack I thought was the hiatus hernia....
So now I take Goats yoghurt with acidopholis for gastritis also flax seed oil for the IBS & Gall stone as Buscopan gave me red eye..
I occ take colofac but due to everything being shot can never take an antibiotic AGAIN.....
tHE MAIN THING AS A cHRISTIAN TO
CONQUER IS FEAR.....
here in the uk we have lost most of our family Drs that knew us....
I don't know why some of them are Drs at all... Also am now allergic to anesthetic due to the dentist giving me so much which is another story...as have trigem nuralgia and Fibro also a small amout of osteo....
Apparently the water infection was
intercystial cystitis there is no cure but can be in remmission...
So I take Quercitin and drink 2 litres of a low nitrate bottled water....
I have had to forgive the Dr and dentist which was not easy at the end of the day they treat but only the Lord can heal......
I do not find the constant cycle of pain at all easy as any virus activates much of it....
But PTL one day we will be without pain and sickness...
I was very active up until 2 yrs ago
other than various allergys and water problems... I also had a slight liver virus in hospital and take milk thistle for that my liver count is now fine...
But I do get constant night sweats when some of these things reacurre
Blessings to you and yours
and REMEMBER His name is also LOVE>>>>

Anonymous said...

The above was sent by me SUNNY for some reason wouldn't allow me to sign in!
But my site is:
www.xanga.com/freye
Thanks for coming onto my site a good while ago...
Blessings
Freye (sunny)

Anonymous said...

Sunny said:
Another thought that came to me:
for 19 yrs my husband worked in animal feeds... They just pump so many antibiotics into the feeds...
In fact you only need to go to a garden centre here to see all the poisons on the shelves....
Also many of the banned colourings that are banned in Scandinavia are still allowed here in the uk...
I feel the drug companies are paying our health system so it is all very sinister really...
It is in part a sign of the last days... as Adam & Eve were asked to be custodians of this earth...
much has been polluted for money and greed...
If any of you care to view my site there is a Prayer by dear Billy Graham much of it is so true and applicable here in the uk too...
Blessings
Sunny www.xanga.com/freye
We do have one clinic here in the uk called The Breakspeare clinic so many folks can hardly live due to allergys pain etc.,
Considering the increase in asthma and allergys here our Dr's have less training in allergys than they did years agao CRAZY>>>>>

Joy Des Jardins said...

Lesson learned Judy....and a very scary one. Thanks.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I am familiar with Diverticulitus because my father had that many many MANY years ago....! It can be a very dangerous thing, if unchecked.

I think people choose to go to the smaller FASTER "clinic" type places because you can often get to see a doctor faster. And frankly, the level of "care" may not have been any different had she gone to her regular doctor. Thank God her husband insisted she go to the ER when she did....A least there, they have the equiptment to do certain tests they don't have in many doctors offices.

Bob-kat said...

I'm glad it was caught in time and she will be fine. As you know, we have a different set up in the UK but even then mistakes like this can happen. At my surgery, it is hard to get to see the same doctor each time which I hate. They don't know me, they don't know my history and I often have to go over the same things again and again. I always try to see the same one or two if possible but it doesn't always work out that way.

rosemary said...

In our little hamlet we have a hospital, not a "Medical Center" and a bunch of Urgent Care places. A dear friend went to UC with back pain, was diagnosed with a strain, given a script. The pain continued and he was over and over again given pain meds and relaxants and a year later he died of lung cancer. It is easy to just bip into an UC rather than have to deal with the waiting, delays of a waiting room or an ER...but you pay the price eventually.

sage said...

Yes, good health is valuable and when you're not getting better, it's best to have it checked out.

Maria said...

Interestingly enough, our Urgent Care has successfully treated bladder infections for me when it was impossible to get an early appointment with my physician. They even made follow-up calld to see if the anti-biotics were working and to inquire as to how I was feeling.

I use Urgent Care only when I cannot see my doctor. For that reason, I am pleased that we have this service in our small town.

I know that if I have pain or a serious problem, I will need to be assertive and proactive. I only hope that my family will do it for me if I am not able to do so for myself.

Ugh all of this is scary, but important and thank you for bringing the story to your blog.

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

Waaay too scary, Judy. I am not fond of the urgent care clinics, but technically, they are supposed to refer her for follow-up with her primary care doc. I take it none of that happened. I'm glad her husband insisted that she go to the ER.