“I’m impressed by how well you know your body.”
“It’s not your fault you have gluten intolerance or hypothyroid. It’s just what you’ve had to deal with and it seems like you’ve been doing a great job.”
I’m not used to hearing things like this, especially from a doctor. Who was this amazing stranger?
24 hours ago life was good. I’d had a fantastic day with first one friend, then another. I’d spent a lot of it outside on one of the rare August days that’s cool enough for me to be outside. I was happy and content and tired in a good way. It was an absolutely perfect day. Until the reaction.
I’d been putting off trying Metformin for ages. I was worried that it wouldn’t sit well with me. I know a lot of women have problems with it. But I was also running out of options. I can’t take estrogen because of the side effects, and ditto for progesterone. My naturopath wants to try some homeopathic treatments. My only options were the homeopathy, Metformin, or literally scraping my uterine lining. I’d prefer to avoid that last one. So after dinner, I swallowed 1 pill. And almost immediately it hit me.
Diarrhea, nausea, and a racing heart all waxed and waned for what seems like years. After several hours of symptoms I texted my aunt my symptoms and asked her to get my uncle’s opinion. He’s a non-practicing doctor. The last time I had a bad reaction to a medication he told me to wait it out. When I blacked out in their living room he took my blood pressure and had me rest. He’s never told me to go to a doctor. This time, he told me to call my doctor. So I knew I should do it.
It takes a lot for me to call my doctor. I’m sure many of you can relate. I’m used to things going wrong with my body, so I don’t panic. And the diarrhea wasn’t so bad. It was certainly less bad than my reaction to eating gluten. But the racing heart had me worried. My resting pulse is around 75. I kept checking my pulse using a phone app. It was 82, 89, 95, 94, 88, 83, 99, 101, 109…. I didn’t like that my pulse had gotten better, then worse again, and so had the diarrhea and nausea. I almost never call a doctor after hours; the last time was probably 10 years ago when I was coughing up green phlegm. But this time it seemed like the right move, so when my uncle told me to call, I did.
My endocrinologist (who prescribed the Metformin) doesn’t have after hours, so I called my primary care physician’s office. Just 5 minutes after I left the message I got a call back from the doctor on call. This was 10:30 on a Saturday night, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. This guy was amazing! He spent 25 minutes on the phone with me. I stated my symptoms, the timing, and what I’d been doing (orange juice in case it was a blood sugar problem (because Metformin can do that), sucking on ice to stay cool and hydrated, etc.) I was a bit defensive and insecure as I stated just a few of my current diagnoses. I was apologetic for calling. I couldn’t help but brace myself for the doubt that usually follows, so I was shocked when, instead of doubt, I received support!
Thankfully, he didn’t feel I needed to go to the hospital unless things got worse. He agreed with me that, because of my immune system problems, it was best to keep me away from the hospital as much as possible. That was a relief. The shock was the way he treated me. Instead of assuming I was exaggerating, he took me seriously. He said more than once that it was good I called. He told me how impressed he was with the way I was responding to his questions and monitoring my situation. He couldn’t have been any more perfect.
My current doctor is supposed to be the best, but I haven’t been thrilled with him. Now I’m thinking about switching. I might be much better off with whoever belongs to the voice I heard over the phone last night who was calm, reassuring, supportive, and clearly knows his medicine, too. I don’t have to decide now, but I’m definitely going to give this some thought.
As for my own saga, another 1/2 hour or hour after I got off the phone and had texted an update to my aunt and uncle, my symptoms eased enough that I was able to doze off. When I woke up, I felt much better. I dozed again, and this time when I woke up I felt ok. I moved from the couch to my bed, and slept a deep sleep until morning. I’m spending the day resting, just like the doctor ordered. It’s another gorgeous day outside and a friend invited me to a barbecue, but I don’t mind missing it. I’m just happy to be feeling ok (though tired.) Today has been all about computer solitaire, movies, tv, and crochet. But tomorrow might just be about researching that doctor.