Monday, May 9, 2016
The "Self-Diagnosis Pro" Story
It was an ordinary day. Friday, and I'm eating supper with my wife in room 402 at Lancaster Regional Hospital in Lancaster, PA. We are dining on soup and sandwiches while waiting as the last dose of antibiotics drains from the IV bag into her body. Her ordeal began yesterday when we awoke and she said, while pushing on the upper mid-center part of her stomach, "I think I may have appendicitis." After a trip to our family doctor, we took his advice and headed to the Emergency Room at Lancaster Regional to have tests run to see why she was having acute pain. Wasn't long before a technician wheeled her bed from the ER for a CAT scan. After returning to the ER she was placed on antibiotics until the surgeon on call could make an appearance. Wasn't long before a nurse told Carol that her test showed an inflamed appendix and the surgeon would go over her choices as far as what to do. Wasn't more than half an hour later that a doctor appeared to check with Carol about any problems she might have with anesthesia. After a short conversation he said he was prepared to stay for the surgery which would be in a short time. Dr. Newcomer, the surgeon on call, appeared a half hour later and after introducing himself, told Carol she had acute appendicitis and he was going to give her the options as to what could be done. He told her that her blood test was encouraging and that he believed she could be treated with a strong dose of antibiotics. Wow! We were prepared for surgery and this bespectacled gentleman tells us she actually has a choice to make. He began an extended talk about how surgeons in France, as well as throughout most of Europe, have been successfully treating her condition with antibiotics for years. Here is a man who is the same age as my wife and just a few years younger than me and he's going over a cutting-edge treatment to avoid surgery. Can you imagine that; a surgeon who wants her to avoid surgery if it really isn't necessary!! It was at this point that we told him we were scheduled to leave on a three week vacation in five days and he could see the immense concern on our faces. "Well, if you have the surgery you will need to walk around in the plane to avoid any blood clots," he told Carol. Not what she wanted to hear since she hates to walk around in a plane. He finally came out and recommended that she avoid the surgery and go the antibiotics route. He reasoned that her white blood cell count was rather low and she had come to the hospital within a day of having pain which she thought to be from her appendix. He suggested she continue on the IV doses she had been started on already and he would check in with her tomorrow to find out her final decision. Well, I finally headed home while she was taken to room 402 for the night. The next morning I returned and found her blood test showing even better results. It was at that time that she made the decision to avoid surgery and give the antibiotics a chance to reduce the inflammation in her appendix. The doctor arrived close to noon after operating on several other patients and asked her final decision. He was very pleased at her choice, explaining the reasons for avoiding the surgery once again. He told both of us she was making the correct decision. He then told us that every one of his patients who had chosen the same route had never had another occurrence. He did give us additional prescriptions that can be used after the original prescriptions are finished, just in case the pain returns and we aren't in a location with medical facilites that we feel comfortable visiting. Carol had to finish a few more bags of IV medicine which took us past supper time, so we decided to dine in her room. She is now home and beginning a ten-day regimen of two different medicines. One, known as Ciprofloxacin Hydroc, is used to treat bacterial infections while the other, Metronidazole, is used to treat roscea or adult acne. While taking them she must stay out of the sun and not drink alcohol. Still not sure how the two drugs working together can fight off appendicitis, but I'm not a doctor. It is now Saturday evening and the doctor has just called to see how Carol was doing. After telling him she still had minimal pain, she asked about the sun thing and the alcohol thing. She said we are going to the beach! He told her she would be fine, but make sure she wears sun tan lotion with a STF of at least 27. As far as a drink or two, the directions are not to take your meds with alcohol. Sounds like we are good to go! We're not sure whether she will be a walking time bomb or on the cutting edge of medical technology in the USA. Only time will tell. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.