So then I get the call for the follow-up with the ENT.
After I’m in the exam room he entered and, with little in the way of preamble, stated “You need to have sinus surgery”.
“Oh yes, you have sinusitis, this will take care of it. You should only have a 20% out of pocket, the surgery is around $6000″.
“$1200?! Does that include everything?” I asked “Anesthesia? Room? Vestal virgins?” “No,” he replied “those will be billed separately”
I then remembered something from my childhood, looked at him and said, “Hey, before we do anything else, how about taking a culture and see if the antibiotic you gave me is right for whatever’s in there?”.
Back in the last century, before they prescribed anything they took a culture. Before anyone cut on me in the 21st century I thought I deserved one.
You’d think I just pulled out my dick and said “Blow me”.
“Oh. Uh. Yes, I suppose we could do that”. Imagine my left eyebrow arching up as I gave this guy my most withering look.
Ten minutes later the deed is done, my wallet again $40 lighter, and they said they’d call me with the results in a few days.
A week went by before I got the call about the results.
“Mr. Hill,” said the office medical minion “we will be calling in two Rx’s, you must take them exactly as ordered. Your culture revealed you have an antibiotic resistant organism and…”.
Whaaaat? Antibiotic resis… “I’m sorry,” I interjected “what do you mean “antibiotic resistant organism”? Which one?”
What followed was a five minute game of verbal Chicken. She tried stonewalling me, refused to give me a name for the bug; however I badgered her enough she finally said a single word:
OMFG! Antibiotic resistant staph? In my HEAD?!? I HAD FUCKING MRSA IN MY HEAD?!?!
I barely paid attention as she told me I’d be taking two antibiotics, one oral, one nasal, that the nasal had to be compounded, it wasn’t a “stock” item. The oral was Clindamycin, the nasal Gentamicin.
I flew to the closest compounding pharmacy, shelled out a co-pay and $30+ for my two, new, wonder drugs, all the time wondering if, no, when, my nose would start rotting off.
The first three days passed uneventfully enough, though the taste of the Gentamicin spray was enough to gag a maggot. On the morning of the fourth day I noticed something odd, my feet hurt. So did my knees. Later in the day my hands felt achy. Weird. Took some Advil®, muddled through the rest of the day and went to bed.
I woke up the next morning and HOLY SHIT, my legs and hands felt like someone’d partied with a ball-peen hammer on them. I tried to get out of bed to hit the john and wound up taking geisha steps all the way there it hurt so much to walk.
I hobbled my way to my computer and googled both drugs and soon was perusing terms like “Rare but serious side effects” and “Musculoskeletal: Polyarthritis”, “Arthralgia (Joint Pain)”, “Paraesthesia”, “Pain”, not to mention other really scary shit like “Ototoxicity”, “Renal Failure Acute (Kidney Failure)”, and “Pulmonary Oedema (Fluid In Lung)”. Holy guacomole, this stuff could be killing me. Phone. PHONE! WHERE’S MY FRIKKIN…?!?
It being the weekend I connected on the third ring to the doctor’s answering service, where a bored voice inquired “How can I help you?”.
“Make it so I don’t hurt would be a good start” I thought, but I bit my tongue, described my symptoms and asked they be passed on to the ENT.
Fifteen minutes hadn’t elapsed before my phone rang and a very stressed sounding voice told me to immediately discontinue using the antibiotics and if my symptoms didn’t abate to go to the emergency room. Right. No problem there. Lemme go hook down another three Advil® and wait and see what happens.
/sigh x3 [I said it was a saga. I wasn't kidding. Stay tuned.]