25 December 2006

Part III: Gallbladder Disease

It was at this point that most people I think would tend to quit. Andy and I had tried our best to secure diagnosis and treatment for some disorder that was affecting me, and yet, our efforts were thwarted at each turn. With a heavy heart I turned toward my family and advice from home to help recover from whatever dastardly disease was attacking my insides.

Hope was restored after speaking to a doctor in the States. He recommended a series of blood tests and x-rays that would help determine the extent of my difficulties and hopefully guide some sort of treatment plan while still allowing me to remain in Grenada and study for my various exams.

So, after completing my Neuroscience midterm after only 1 hour (those of you who have never taken neuroscience should scoff lightly at this remark – with 80 questions all requiring some serious second and third order logic and mental capacity, it was no small feat) I proceeded again to the on-campus clinic.

Armed with notes from my doctor and more information, I got to see a different doctor than the one who originally prescribed antibiotics for my virus. After reviewing what I told him, this doctor decided that the gastroenterologist at home was mistaken, and instead of the tests my doctor wanted preformed, I would instead be receiving an ultrasound of my gallbladder in order to rule out gallbladder disease.

Normally, I wouldn’t mind such a simple deviation from the plan, but the fact that he completely ignored everything I had said and just made his own plan, I was a little upset. Additionally, getting an ultrasound required getting an appointment somewhere in the city, taking the bus, getting copies of the exam, bringing them back the next day and hoping the doctor would read them and find the problem.

The last straw had been reached and broken. After consulting several students and family members and doctors, it was decided I would fly to Miami to see a real doctor and be treated in a real hospital. I booked the tickets, got my walking papers from the university saying I would be missing a few days and left the next morning.

My mom met me in Miami and we went to the nearest recommended hospital where we were met by a GI specialist recommended by my doctor from Milwaukee. He admitted me to the hospital and ordered a series of tests designed to test my mental stamina. Well, actually, I had to drink the contrast for an abdominal CT, which was horrible, and then prepare myself for an upper-endoscopy the next morning, all while knowing I had not moved my bowels in ten days. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling well at this point.

The CT went well and the contrast worked miracles on my slow-moving intestines, increasing their secretion and moving fluid very quickly from one end to the other. This adequately prepared me for the new experience in the morning. The endoscopy was pleasant; I don’t remember a thing.

But, as a result of my slow moving bowels and the lack of information from the blood tests and a negative scope and cat-scan, I was given a wonderful medication called magnesium citrate. This works to essentially remove everything from your insides. I can say that after two doses, I was lucky to have insides left!

Unfortunately, after all this work, the doctors in Miami did not understand the fact that I did not live in Miami and needed to get back to school at some point. After arriving on a Wednesday and having my round of exams, they wanted me to leave the hospital on Saturday and come back on Monday for another procedure. I explained that I didn’t exactly have that luxury; they just suggested I spend Sunday in the hospital and have the exam on Monday anyway.

My mother and I had hit another last straw. We decided to head to Milwaukee to be treated by doctors who knew me and would be willing to help. Sadly, this was on the same day that I was still working out the magnesium citrate, and it was still working. It was an airplane ride that I am not interested in remembering!

After returning to Milwaukee, I saw my GI specialist and he recommended that I have what would come to be my most fun procedure yet: a colonoscopy. The truth is that I have absolutely no memory of the procedure (but the pictures from inside my bowels are pretty sweet), but I have a complete and horrible memory of taking the Fleet’s phospho-soda the night before and preparing my body for the procedure. The Fleet’s works about ten times better than the magnesium citrate and it works a lot faster. I was in some pure agony about twelve hours; then I got my versed on the table and was out. My next memory is of my dad asking if I thought I could walk to the car.

After all these tests and all these doctors, no one had found anything. It was suggested I head back to school with some new medications and tough it out until the end of the semester. Since there were only two months left, I thought that it shouldn’t be too hard and that I would be able to handle the regimen of medication and get through it.

What a foolish thought.


Anonymous mo said...

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Anonymous Leonard Okoth said...

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