Friday, March 12, 2010

I am tired of walk-in clinics!

Last month I got sick. On a Friday night I started to get chills and body aches. By Saturday evening, I had a fever of 103.3. Sunday night, it was 102.6. So Monday morning, Sean took me to the local walk-in clinic. I was told that I had the flu (which I had already surmised), and that I could alternate Tylenol and Advil every three hours. Other than that, I had to ride it out.

The next couple of days, my fever was a bit lower (the 100 to 101 range), but I was still feeling bad enough that I was couch-bound. Then, Thursday night, my fever went back up to 102.3 (by this point, I had developed a really nasty cough). Friday morning (this is a week after I first felt sick), I got a nose bleed, after which I felt lightheaded and threw up a little. I called Sean and told him about it, and he came home from work to take me back in to the doctor. This time I made an appointment at MY doctor's office, only my doctor was booked, so I asked for another doc that I like there, Dr. Carolyn Sherman. She listened to my lungs and told me that I now had PNEUMONIA. Honestly, I was so GLAD to hear that it wasn't a virus. Now, I could take antibiotics and feel better! The doctor told me that to come back in if I wasn't feeling better in 72 hours. Well, at 48 hours, my fever spiked back up to 102.4. But the next morning, I felt a lot better...and it was all uphill from there.

Today, I still have a lingering cough, but I feel totally better. The fever was the worst part, and I'm SO glad it's gone!

Now for my second story...

Christina started coughing about five days ago. It was a dry cough, like when you have post-nasal drip, so I thought she was just coming down with a cold. On Wednesday morning, she had a coughing fit that lasted a couple of minutes, but after that, it was just intermittent coughing throughout the day. Then, later that morning, I was following Christina up the stairs in our house, and I noticed that her legs were completely COVERED in hives (thank goodness she goes around in just a diaper when she's at home, or I wouldn't have noticed).

I called my mother-in-law, since I couldn't get ahold of Sean at work (He had the car), and she came over and drove us to the walk-in clinic. The doctor said that yes, she had hives, and that I should give her Benadryl every 4-6 hours until they cleared up. I mentioned her cough, and after listening to her with the stethoscope, he said that her lungs sounded clear, and it was probably just a virus. I racked my brain trying to figure out what has caused her hives (new food, new detergent, new clothes or blankets), but I couldn't come up with anything. The doc actually said that in about 80% of cases, there are no obvious causes of hives.

Well, the next morning (yesterday), Christina and I woke up early to take Sean to the vanpool so we could have the car for the day. In the car, Christina had a coughing fit that lasted all the way from our house to the library where the vanpool meets (that's about 15-20 minutes). The longest break in her coughing during that time was maybe 20 seconds. Sean said I needed to take her back in to the doctor, and I agreed.

I called Christina's pediatrician, but she doesn't work on Thursdays, so I scheduled an afternoon appointment with one of the other pediatricians. Then...she got hives AGAIN (this time on her back AND legs). I decided not to wait for our appointment, and, after giving her some Benadryl, took her to the OTHER local walk-in clinic (since the doc the day before had not seemed particularly concerned, and I definitely WAS). Well, this doc also knew NOTHING. She said that Christina's lungs sounded clear, so it was most likely a virus. And she had no idea what had caused the hives. She offered to give me a prescription for an oral steroid that would keep the hives at bay, but ultimately, she said that I needed to get an appointment with Christina's primary care provider. (Keep in mind that we have a $15 copay for each doctor visit, so we're now out $30, and we have NO ANSWERS). I called the pediatrician's office immediately after that appointment and got Christina an appointment with Dr. Debbie Zaret, her pediatrician, at 8AM this morning. And I'm glad I did, since Christina was awake last night from 1AM to 2AM, coughing.

Sean decided to go into work late this morning so he could come with Christina and I to the appointment. I told Dr. Zaret about the coughing and the hives, and after answering all of the same questions I had answered the previous two days (Any new food? New clothes? New detergent?), she asked a new one - had Sean or I been sick recently? I told her about my flu/pneumonia, but that I had been better for a couple of weeks now. The doctor listened to Christina's lungs for quite a long time, and she counted how many breaths she took in a minute. I guess she was breathing a little faster than normal (26 breaths per minute, as opposed to her normal 20). The doctor also said that she heard a little raspy-ness in an area of Christina's right lung (She said that a clinic doctor probably wouldn't have heard it).

Dr. Zaret said that Christina's symptoms were one of two things. It could be walking pneumonia - a kind of pneumonia that gives you an annoying cough (and sometimes hives in kids), but otherwise you feel just fine (the incubation period is 10-14 days, so it's totally probable that she got it from me). Or, it could be a particular virus that's going around, which has the exact same symptoms - coughing and hives that last a couple of weeks.

The doctor said that since I had pneumonia recently, and since she heard a raspy spot in Christina's lung, she's 75% sure that Christina has pneumonia as well. So, we got her some antibiotics. If it IS pneumonia, Christina should no longer be contagious after having the antibiotic in her system for 12 hours (which would be 9:30 tonight). Oddly enough, regardless of if it's pneumonia or the virus, Christina should start feeling/sounding better in about 3-4 days. (If we're right about the pneumonia, the antibiotic should get rid of the cough by then. If we're wrong and it's the virus, it should be getting better around that time.) However, the hives may continue, on and off, anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

I'm just so happy to finally have an answer! I think I'm going to try to swear off the walk-in clinic from now on. With Christina's and my recent illnesses, our trips to the walk-in have been completely useless. It really seems better just to wait until our own doctors (or at least a doctor in the same practice) have appointments, since that's the only time we seem to get any real answers! The walk-in clinic has been a complete waste of time and money!

1 comment:

The Momma said...

So sorry to hear of all your challenges with health and these clinics! It really begs the question what are these clinics/doctors really good for??? WHY shouldn't those doctors hear the same thing your PCP heard?