Thursday, January 7, 2010

In Search of Patience

Sorry I've been MIA again lately, but I have had too much on my plate (like everyone else this time of year)!

First it was a likely case of bronchitis that laid me low for most of December and is only now fading. Then yesterday, I woke up with a new, weird pain in the lower left quadrant of my abdomen.

I told myself at first that it would go away quickly. But it was severe enough that I could barely stand upright. I dragged myself to my acupuncture appointment hoping that since this was an acute pain, it would help. My acupuncturist did her best but although I had a weird sensation when she did Reiki, it didn't help the pain at all.

Then I put in calls to my PCP and my OB to see what they thought it might be and whether I needed to be seen. And then, of course, I waited and waited and waited for someone to call me back. 

Eventually, my OB's nurse said I needed to head to the ER to be checked. Of course, by then it was 6 p.m. so no one could see me in the office. So off to the ER we went.

I sent Scott and Ellie home around 7:15 p.m. because it was clear that I wasn't going to be done anytime soon. No reason to have them both sleep deprived and going to work/school today in bad shape. 

It was a good choice, because I didn't even get into a room until 9 p.m. (although I peed in a cup for them earlier, so at least they had my urinalysis back by the time I saw a doctor). 

I apparently had concentrated on getting a bag of stuff to keep Ellie busy in the ER waiting room and managed to forget to bring anything for me, like a book or my laptop. 

I didn't make it into an ultrasound room until midnight. 

The good news is they think they might know what caused me so much pain with such a sudden onset. The ultrasound tech found uncontained fluid in my pelvic region, so they are assuming it was most likely an ovarian cyst that ruptured. 

But it also could be diverticulitis, according to the ER doc. 

If the pain goes away within 48 hours of onset, it's most likely an ovarian cyst. If not, I'm supposed to return to the ER and get a CT scan done.

Of course, since I like to be a challenging patient, they told me I don't really fit the profile for either of those problems. 

I guess painful ovarian cyst ruptures most often happen to young women in their teens or early 20s. Since I've never had one happen before, it's unusual to have a first occurrence in my 40s, or so I was told by both the ultrasound tech and the ER doc. It can happen, but it's unusual.

On the other hand, I'm quite young for diverticulitis, which is most common in the over-60 set. It can happen to younger people of any age, but it's unusual, they said.

So now I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping it was a cyst because it's the easiest, simplest diagnosis, and best of all requires no additional treatment.  I can take my pain meds if I need them (but I turned down an injection of pain medicine in the ER and also offers of a prescription for meds), but otherwise it should go away within a pretty quick time period.

Meanwhile, I found it funny in an ironic kind of way that I think I've set a new personal record for speed in meeting my annual health insurance deductible. 


Happy new year, everyone! 


Lisa Emrich said...

Ugh, this sounds like no fun. My younger brother was diagnosed with diverticulitis this past fall at the age at 36. He was certainly SICK and in PAIN!! Seems to be doing much better now after making some changes.

Diverticulitis - not just for the gray hair set.

Aviva said...

Hi Lisa -- I'm so sorry your brother went through that! I hope it was a one-time thing for him! Now that I've done some reading about diverticulitis, I'm pretty sure the ER doc was right in saying it was not a likely Dx for me. Interestingly, on Wikipedia, I found a stat: only 5 percent of people under 40 get diverticulitis. Of course, I'm 42, but I still thought it was interesting. Of course, I can't remember what the stat was for the gray hair set ...