My Known Allergies… Doctors

In Columns

I speak from unfortunate experience. I recently got really ill and was hospitalized for treatment relating to my diabetes. During my stay they could not figure out why my glucose levels (blood sugar) would not level out; the highs and lows were erratic on the medications they gave me and in normal circumstances should have worked. The doctors and specialists assigned to my case would soon find out, when it comes to my health, I have never been normal. Without going into my medical history, I have had 20 + surgeries ranging from minor to major since I was born to the age of 46. With applications of anesthetics, I eventually developed another allergy to add to an already long list of allergies. Like the surgeries, they too range from minor to major.

So like all new doctors I have had to deal with over a lifetime, they take a medical history from me to the best of my ability, look back over my medical records for the last 5 years, figuring they did not have to go back further, come back to me acting like my past doctors were idiots and start treating me like I am some hypochondriac and order a battery of tests. I tell them I have been through all the extra tests they ordered many times before and If they go further back in my history they will find the same results as all the other times and just because I turned 50 does not make me senile which was how they made me feel.

Treating me like I do not know my own body, they took me off all the medications that have helped me have a half decent normal life outside my house, ordered the tests, which also included allergy testing, which I so was not looking forward to because not only the hives but the risk of the anaphylactic shock and treatment make me violently sick for days. I warned them to put me in a sterile room because if anyone with perfume, certain deodorants, and even soaps treat me, I will get sick, once again thinking I am a certifiable hypochondriac I was told to trust they knew what they were doing and I would be fine. Three days into clearing my body of all medications and being off my antidepressants, my short ill-temper rears its ugly head and not only do I hate myself but I was angry with any and all medical personnel for not treating my diabetes that brought me into the hospital in the first place. By the 4th day, I developed hives the size of quarters and each time the shift nurse came in it got worse, only to find out she used fabric softener when washing her uniform that contained a chemical I react to. One of the many minor allergies I warned them about.

It didn’t take them long to put me back on my antidepressants and the sweet level-headed patient returned, and once again I liked myself. Yet they ran the tests as ordered. Just as I stated about my history, nothing changed, I have the same allergies, the same lungs, brain etc I have been dealing with in a lifetime of tests. No apologies from anyone for treating me like an idiot, just the same old excuse I have always heard “It’s best we be thorough.” Good thing I have fantastic coverage then. (thinking in my head “or I would be suing your ass!”) Back to square one on why I was in there in the first place, nothing changed.

In the end and wasting my time, It was cutbacks that became my problem. They switched to generic medications and found I needed the real deal to be treated. The one slight change of a base element in the drug was all it took to bring me down. The real bummer was when I found out that they changed the drug on me because of a $10 difference pissing me off more than the doctors did. If I was asked If I wanted to pay the $10 extra I would have. With a history like mine, you learn fast not to mess with what works. Next time that slight change could be the difference between life or death.

K. Waters
Writer, Blogger, Mother
[email protected]

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