Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Back amongst the living

I have survived the worst of it now I figure.  Of course, knowing me, now that I've said that I'll end up hospitalized with Dengue or The Plague. Here's a condensed rendition of the events of the past two-plus weeks of Melissa health news.

I'd been sick for about six or seven weeks with nondescript digestive issues. I eventually went to the doctor and was told I had a bacterial infection in my intestines.  Pills and patience was the prescription and I seems to be on the mend.

I went to Singapore (blog to follow about that) for 6 days.  I arrived Friday and really enjoyed myself until Monday afternoon.  Prior to Monday I did have a few little digestive "hiccups" which I attributed to too much curry or the change from Indonesian food.  By Monday afternoon I was in a fair amount of pain and I limped back to my hostel.  I didn't sleep more than an hour Monday night as I was in agony.  I believe that I have a high pain tolerance.  I may whine but I'll trek on through most things.  This pain absolutely felled me.  It felt like I was being stabbed on either side of my belly button.  It was sharp and radiated back to my spine. By the wee hours of Tuesday morning I'd set a deadline: If I didn't feel at least marginally better by 7 am I would go to the hospital. I gave in at 6:15 and caught a cab. 

When I got to Singapore General Hospital I was nearly in tears.  I couldn't breath deeply or stand up straight.  I was flashing back to my father's bouts with pancreatitis which were the only times in his life I'd seen him in tears.  I thought it must be that, or my appendix, or something else equally serious for me to be in that much pain.  I was sent to registration, then triage, and then to the waiting room.  I probably was there only twenty minutes or so before I was seen but if felt like two days.  Once I was called, a tiny nurse, no more than a third my size, insisted on taking my arm to assist me as I was hunching over and moving the speed of an injured snail.

The doctor was a tall, big boned Asian looking man who's face I never saw from behind his mask.  He asked a few perfunctory questions, listed to my heart, felt my abdomen and drew blood.  I'd submitted for a urinalysis upon entry. The put an IV in my hand and ran what would eventually be two liters. Then off to x-ray.  The tech there helped be undress, and by this I mean she physically man-handled me to undress me as I was more of less incapable. I took out my bellybutton ring and lost it at some point before I left.  The two x-rays were torture as it hurt to stretch out and lie flat.

Back to the observation room until the labs were back.  I did nod off there for a couple hours.  Id been there about three hours when the nurse woke me to say it was a bladder infection.  I was a bit dazed and not able to understand how that was but didn't ask many questions.  The IV was removed, and I was sent "home". All in all the trip was much more affordable than I feared.  The visit which in The States would have run into the hundreds easily, cost me 95.55 SGD ($78, or 52 Euros). That included all the diagnostics and prescriptions.

It was then Tuesday and I was determined not to miss out on the last of my holiday so out I went to meet Alysson for lunch.  I continued to feel really bad until I threw up in the restaurant toilet and it was about that time I started to seriously doubt it was a bladder infection. I took the medications for two days without much change or relief.

I arrived back to Jakarta Wednesday night and pledged to go to the doctor again on Thursday.  Returning to the doctor (Dr. Melissa) that I'd seen before, I still had some of the bacteria around from before but now also had a massive yeast infection in my intestines.  WHAT?  I thought that was a lady parts problem.  Apparently not, one can get a yeast infection in the kidneys, stomach, mouth and throat additionally. It's been a long, sloooooow road to feeling (mostly) well again.  That road contained four medications (one an anti-fungal which sounds revolting), two weeks without carbohydrates and sugars, and several backsliding moments of increased pain. Today is my last day in carb banishment but I've just found out it needs to be another three weeks sugar free. SIGH! I do feel much better aside from the nasty cough I picked up yesterday morning so I'll carry on sugar free.  My friend Julia swears I've lost some weight, if I haven't I'll be pissed.  At least I can answer the call of the Bintang beer that's been whispering my name for over a week.

Everyone seems surprised that Singapore totally muffed the diagnosis and Jakarta got it right.  I think the docs here are more accustomed to dealing with dodgy stomachs but who knows.  Until I really real 100% I'll be taking any good juju or positive thoughts you can send my way.


  1. Sorry to hear that :(

    I hope you start to feel better soon, and for a long long time! x


  2. Awefull awefulll news! Keep fighting girl and I keep my fingers crossed that new diagnose is right and meds are working and you´ll be mended soon!!


  3. Thank you for the concern mis amigas!!