Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A medical mystery, solved.

So, all the tummy issues hubby was having...

Doctor error.

No kidding. He's one of the hundreds you hear about. Here's how it all went.

In 10/07, our long-term meds ran out at our mail-in pharmacy, so we went to the doctor for written refills. He wrote hubby's meds, but changed one. I don't know if he meant to or if it was an accident, but he changed hubby's Benicar (for high blood pressure) to Benicar HCT. But he also wrote him a scrip for HCT (lowers BP through its diuretic action) which hubby had been taking for several years. Hence, a double dosage of HCT.

Within weeks hubby was sick and getting sicker. After two months he was too sick to work. They put him through all kinds of blood tests and even a colonoscopy, and although his electrolytes seemed wrong - normal for diarrhea - they couldn't find the reason for his tummy issues, muscle fatigue, joint pain and fever. Diarrhea is a side effect of HCT, magnified by the overdose. Now, class, can you guess what the symptoms of HCT overdose are?

Muscle fatigue, joint pain and fever.


Of course, we didn't associate the meds with the issue because 1) the doctor never told us he was changing the scrip, so we didn't know, and 2) I had been ill with tummy issues myself, so we just thought it was him getting it from me. And the #(*%#(%^@ doctor didn't make the connection because he didn't bother to look at the meds he himself was prescribing!

A month of not being able to work. Hundreds of dollars of tests performed. The inconvenience and discomfort of those tests. A specialist's time taken up doing unnecessary tests. We have since changed doctors and learned a valuable lesson. Here it is, kids, and there will be a test:

YOU are the only one who cares about the state of your health. Get informed. Know what you are taking and why. Know dosages, research side effects and overdoses. Yes, go so far as to find out if your meds will cause vitamin deficiencies or react to vitamins you take. Don't trust your pharmacist to know this information, and don't trust your doctor to tell you.

Oh, by the way, while we were learning this lesson, we discovered another little tidbit. We kept wondering why people kept talking to hubby about managing his diabetes (he isn't diabetic.) Turns out one of the meds the #(*%#(%^@ doctor had him on was for managing blood sugar. Why? We can't figure that one out. His only blood sugar tests were done non-fasting (the only accurate tests are done fasting) and were barely on the high side of normal. Not even borderline. So, hundreds more dollars for drugs to treat a disease he didn't have.

Medicine is a business, boys and girls. Doctors, pharmacists, hospitals - they are in it for the bucks. Not for some lofty humanitarian aspect.

You live in your body. You know it best. Listen to it and learn what you can about taking care of it.

No comments: