Part Three ~ Referrals/More Doctor Visits

As the days went on, my digestive system was a complete mess. If I didn't know it before - I knew it then. Those antibiotics did a number on me. As they usually do, but this time, something was off, something was horribly different.

I received a phone call from Internal Medicine as a result of the ER consult. They talked to me on the phone and came to the conclusion they didn't need to see me, but I needed to get in with a gynecologist, and the urologist.

All of my ER visits were on the Navy base. We're under the retiree insurance so if we can't be seen on base for whatever reason we have to get a referral from our primary care doc. We've always used Patient First as a primary care doc because their schedule, the lab, x-ray, and pharmacy options all in one space was too appealing. Until they weren't.

I went to PF to get my referral for the urologist since the gynecologist thing was supposedly in the works. I'd been calling the insurance company dealing with that for weeks. I got approved for the urologist referral but as it works, I had to wait 24 hours or so for it to hit the system until I could call the hotline to activate it. And I'm never sure who I'll get. Sometimes I request a specific doctor to get a referral for someone else. But I didn't know of any urologists so I was going with whoever I got. I wanted answers as to why my UTI w/out symptoms was a thing and to make sure it never came back.

So things were falling in place. Sort of.

My bowel movements increased, I was going 12-24 times per day! And it was forceful. I almost threw up every time. And that was from the force of it, not the odor. The odor, it was horrid. That alone was enough to make me nauseous. I can only describe it as rotting fish. I'd break out in a sweat, I'd shake, and cry. Every. Time. That was during the night too, it would wake me from a deep sleep. I googled my symptoms (I know, I know), and the only thing I found that it could be was C-diff, a serious intestinal infection.

Needless to say, at this point I had no appetite, but regardless of whether I ate, I still went to the bathroom. I began to lose weight.

A referral for urology came through and I called to make an appointment, but the doctor was no longer in our network due to the switch in insurance carriers. So I called my primary care doc, they issued a new referral for a new doctor. I had to wait another 24 hours to activate it.

December 20th, was not feeling well at all. Went to the ER and they said it was acute pharyngitis. And while I was there I told them about my stomach issues and how my bottom was incredibly sore from all the bowel movements. I also asked them about the the chance of me having C-diff. So not only did I have to show them my throat but also my bottom, and that's when I had my first digital rectal exam (finger exam). Sounds worse than it is. They said they didn't find anything but maybe I had an internal hemorrhoid. When I asked them, (the doc and the intern) about the C-diff situation - if I could have it, they looked at each other and low-key laughed. The doc told the intern to explain it to me. They said that I didn't fit the criteria for it due to the fact that I didn't have a fever. That I should get a Gastroenterologist to check me out. I called my doc and asked for a referral to Gastro. You know how that goes. Days of waiting.

Only two days later, December 22nd, I ended up bringing my daughter to the ER. She had flu-like symptoms. I can't remember what her diagnosis was at the end of the visit, but while we were there, of course I was running to the bathroom frequently with my issues. On one such trip, there was nothing but bloody mucous. I almost passed out from the sight. It was scary. I told the nurse on duty and she suggested I check myself in to be seen.

After another digital exam, and explaining to them EVERYTHING I'd been through, they diagnosed me with an acute anal fissure (a tear), and an external hemorrhoid and was told to get in to see a gastroenterologist asap. I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of my exam and I took a pic of what came out of me (I know gross, but I wanted them to take me seriously, no one up until then seemed to). They looked concerned after seeing it, and were throwing around words like colitis, Crohn's, and IBS. I was diagnosed with IBS-mixed in 2000, but this was nothing like that, I knew that wasn't it, or anything else they were suggesting. I asked about C-diff and they said I didn't meet the criteria for that. They suggested I see Gastro. I told them I was working on getting a referral. They told me to keep working on it.

Remember my husband was ten hours away from me in Ohio through all of this working 12-16 hour days/7 days per week (seriously), the kids were busy with school and work. Rich came home when he could but he had to take vacation days to do it, and could only be gone for 3 days at a time. I felt like I was losing my mind. And in all of this, only two friends were in touch with me regularly since Rich had left. I felt like I had no one. It was a very lonely, painful, scary time for me. I didn't reach out to anyone, and honestly to this day I don't know why, I can't explain it. be continued.


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