All I Know Is I Know Very Little

Healthy lungs

Healthy lungs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does that make sense?  Oh, who cares, right? I haven’t made a lot of sense for several weeks now…

I saw the pulmonary specialist yesterday (yes, I showed up at the right time and on the right date…how about that?).  I still don’t have very many answers although the answers I do have sound pretty good.  I know that I don’t have cancer.  I know that I don’t have COPD.  I know I don’t have emphysema.  That’s what I know.

What I don’t know is what’s wrong.   Why I can’t breathe.  Why I can’t move without having a prolonged coughing fit.  Why I’m still so sick after such a long time.

They performed some tests…something to measure lung capacity, another to measure lung function, something else that I’m not really sure what it was supposed to test…anyhow…for now the doctor is terming what I have as an acute long-term upper airway infection.  (Is that another term for “we don’t really know”???).

His prescription to treat that was multi-faceted…one inhaler to administer steroids, another inhaler to open the airway,  a different antibiotic, an old-fashioned antihistamine (he said he’s had better luck using these rather than the more modern ones to treat conditions like I have), and something to relax the muscles in my chest and back.  Fortunately, he had samples to give me for both inhalers and the antihistimines…enough to get through a month…which is when he wants to see me again.

He told me to keep kind of a journal detailing how the different meds affect me, when I get to feeling better (or worse), what I’m doing when I have one of those coughing fits, if I have a fever (how high, how long it lasts), and so on…That kind of tells me this is still a mystery to him and that he’s looking for clues as to what’s really wrong and what we can do about it.  But he did spend a lot of time with me, asking questions,  making notes, explaining things, and talking about what we can do if all of this doesn’t help.

My next appointment with him is in the first week of April.  He did say that if this “cocktail” doesn’t work, he’ll want to do a CAT scan of my lungs as well as some other tests.  In the meantime, guess what!!  I’m off work…and before I publish this post, I’ve got to call my boss and let him know…whew!  I know he won’t be happy about it, but I don’t know what else I can do.  I can’t imagine that they want me in the store scaring the customers with that constant barking cough (and really, I’m not able to do anything that involves any kind of physical activity and that’s what most of my job consists of).  Now I don’t want anyone to think that Chris is a bad guy because you honestly could never find a nicer boss anywhere.  He’s said, on multiple occasions, that I just need to get better.  But I also know having a manager out for a prolonged period of time makes it rough on everyone else…and I do feel guilty about that.  I know, I know…it’s not like I got sick on purpose, but you know what I mean.  I care about the people I work with (most of them…haha…you know who you are) and hate that I’ve not been able to be there to do my job.  Hopefully, what we’re doing now will do the trick and I’ll be able to return to work after my next appointment…keep your fingers crossed for me, would you?

Dazed and confused…adventures in medicine

Old hospital

Old hospital (Photo credit: urbanlegend)

Seems to be my permanent state right now…confusion.  I lose track of what I’m saying when I’m trying to talk to someone (who knows what my writing is like…I reread it multiple times and am still not absolutely certain that I’m making sense, so…if you can’t figure out what I’m talking about, now I have an excuse), I can’t remember what I’m supposed to be doing (thank goodness for lists…just write it down when I think about it), and the date?  Oh my!  The date, even with the date displayed prominently on my computer and  calendars all over the place, I still can’t keep the days straight.

And today exemplified that.  I had a doctor’s appointment with a pulmonologist today.  I’ve had the paper my doctor’s office gave me, with the info, on my fridge since my last appointment so I wouldn’t forget it.  I woke up feeling pretty awful, wishing I didn’t have to go see a doctor today, but knowing that I did.  So I eventually got ready and left in plenty of time to arrive early enough to find my way to the office.  You know how it is when you go into these big buildings and don’t know your way around, right?  So I knew I was going to have to stop and ask for directions and then find my way to pulmonology.  No big deal.

I stopped at the desk right inside the entrance and asked the lady there where I could find this particular doctor.  She looked at my paper (the one they gave me last week at my doctor’s office) and told me I was in the wrong building, would have to go out and drive over to the next drive and go in that building.  Well, okay.  I walked back out to my car feeling more than a little confused.  The next building over is where my doctor’s practice is.  I was pretty sure (even in my confused state) that the specialist I was supposed to see wasn’t in the same building as my doctor.

So I called my doctor’s office and spoke with one of the receptionists.  She laughed about it and said that lady must have been confused…there is a Doctor Trueblood in their practice, but she is definitely not a pulmonologist.  So I told her where I was and she said I was in the right place, that she didn’t know exactly where the pulmonology department was but she was pretty sure it was upstairs.

Alright, I walk back into the building, stop and ask the same lady where the pulmonology department  is.  She tells me to take the elevator upstairs and then she points down the hall and says I need to go all the way to the end of that hall.  I find the elevator, go upstairs and start in the direction pointed out for me.  Then I stop and look at the department listings and arrows.  Hmm…if I do what the lady downstairs says I’m headed in a different direction than if I follow these little arrows.  How about we try the arrows?

That just might be the only good decision I’ve made all day.  I walked right to where I needed to go and stopped at the desk to let them know I was there for my appointment.  The very nice lady there looked it up on the computer then looked at me.  She said, “Well, unfortunately your appointment’s for tomorrow.”  And she apologized…like it was her fault that I’m a dork.  And to compound how goofy I must have seemed, I asked her what today’s date was.  She told me it’s the 7th…hmm…the little paper in my hand tells me my appointment is scheduled for the 8th…what do you know?  She’s right and I’m crazy.  So I thanked her and told her I’d see her tomorrow.

I guess a couple of good things came out of this…now I know where I need to go tomorrow…and the lady at the pulmonology department desk will have a funny story to tell her co-workers and family…

I’m telling you, all of these drugs I’ve been on have to be messing with my mind…or am I confused about that?