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View Full Version : Just out of the hospital (again). Viral meningitis.



Midnight Sun
04-02-2011, 05:43 PM
So I was not posting there for a few days because I was in the hospital...again. Seems like I am always sick. I wasn't going to post about it, but it was such an experience I thought I would tell you all what happened.

It started on a Monday with just a headache and a fever, but the next day it was worse and I stayed home from school. The headache got proressively worse to the point that I could barely function. I was really sensitive to light and the fever and chills just would not stop. My boyfriend seemed to think I just had the flu and was just making a big deal out of nothing, so I drove myself to the doctor on Thursday (which was quite an adventure since I was sensitive to light and in an incredible amount of pain). The doctor took one look at me and sent me to the emergency room. A nurse wheeled me down the street from the student health center to the emergency room. After some IV fluids and IV pain meds I was feeling better and my parents met me at the hospital and took me home. I went home with instructions to return to the emergency room if the pain came back. Almost as soon as I got home the pain returned and Ibuprofen did nothing for it, so back to the emergency room I went (the boyfriend had decided at this point that my illness was legit and actually drove me to the hospital. Thanks for that). They ended up doing a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) and found that I had some kind of viral meningitis and admitted me to the hospital. Apparently, you are supposed to lay perfectly flat on your back for about 4 hours after a spinal tap to prevent a "spinal headache" from the change in pressure due to the loss oc CSF, but instead they put me in a wheelchair. Excruciating pain insued for two more days - MORPHINE did not touch it during a couple of episodes. They tried switching me over to oral pain meds and then kicked me out of the hospital on Saturday because "they were afraid I would catch something else in the hospital". I did not feel ready to leave since I was in incredible pain every time I stood up. I bawled the entire trip to the car from the hospital. I STILL cannot believe that they discharged me when I was in so much pain, but they did.

I spent a couple of days at home on the oral pain meds. At first they helped, but by Monday the pain was too much and my mom had to come and bring me to the ER again. They admitted me again and this time they called in the Infectious Disease doctors to have a look at me (since I am a vet student it is apparent that my affliction is OBVIOUSLY from an animal, right?!?! At least this time they decided to actually try to figure out what was REALLY making me sick. They did a TERRIBLE job at managing my pain and I suffered a LOT on Tuesday. My mom actually had to walk down to the nurse's station and DEMAND to see a docotor since none of them had come to see me at all that entire day. A doctor finally came, realized what kind of pain I was in, and ordered a Fentanyl pain pump (which arrived promptly an hour later). The next day they decided to do ANOTHER spinal tap since they wanted to run more tests but did not have enough CSF from the previous one. This time my pain was controlled and performed a guided tap and made me lay flat for 4 hours. After that I was using the pain pump less and less. It's amazing how you get better when you are treated PROPERLY. I was finally released from the hospital on Friday, so in total I spent six nights in the hospital. I am just now weaning myself off of the oral pain meds and beginning to function like a normal human again. I drove today for the first time in about 2 weeks! YAY!

Unfortunately, I missed nearly ALL of my Radiology rotation, which means that I have to take it over. I am currently on anesthesia rotation. Once this rotation is over the rest of the class will have three weeks to rest, relax and find a job prior to graduation....but not me. I get to spend those three weeks making up my radiology rotation and will finish just 2 days before graduation. :(

AND, to top it all off, I STILL don't know what made me sick! I have never gotten any calls from any of the doctors with any information on my test results. When I called the hospital I was told to call my referring doctor to find the results of my tests. :wtf The hospital ordered the tests and they can't even get my results? That makes sense. So I made an appointment with my referring doctor...he was booked until this coming Monday. So hopefully, pending any further disaster, I will find out my test results a full TWO WEEKS since I got sick. Nice, huh? I know that none of my veterinary patients would put up with this kind of treatment (nor would I ever put a patient through what I had to go through). Simply AWFUL. And the pain with this is EXCRUCIATING (and that is coming from someone who has also had a deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism as well as KIDNEY STONES. I am feeling better now, thank goodness, but it would be nice to know what actually CAUSED all of this!

Sorry for that. Rant over. I really needed to get that off of my chest!

Laura G
04-02-2011, 06:33 PM
Apparently, you are supposed to lay perfectly flat on your back for about 4 hours after a spinal tap to prevent a "spinal headache" from the change in pressure due to the loss oc CSF, but instead they put me in a wheelchair. Excruciating pain insued for two more days - MORPHINE did not touch it during a couple of episodes.

OMG, this happened to me after I had foot surgery years ago! :gaah I didn't know that until later, and no pain meds for me! :grump I was ill for about a week. I'm sorry you had to go through that! :hugg

Melly
04-02-2011, 06:50 PM
I'm just glad you are okay. I know two people---much older than you, which is a risk factor---who have died from this disease. It is a very serious matter, and I am angry that the doctors dicked around with you.

Alliecat
04-02-2011, 07:05 PM
I'm glad you're okay, and thanks for sharing your story, because many people die from not taking these symptoms seriously.

Can't say it loudly enough: HEADACHE, HIGH FEVER, LIGHT SENSITIVITY - GO TO THE ER IMMEDIATELY! Especially if combined with a STIFF NECK. Viral meningitis is bad enough, but untreated bacterial meningitis, which has the same symptoms, will kill you DEAD in a matter of hours. I can't tell you the number of people who have said, "Oh, my roommate had a little fever and a headache and was light sensitive so she took a nap hoping to feel better and then I found her dead." Don't let this be you, or your child, or your roommate.

Also, there is a vaccination for meningitis, and if you are headed to college, talk to your doctor about it, since college is where most people get it.

Sorry for the public service announcement! I'm really glad you're okay and hope you are done with your run of bad health luck.

hippycowgirl
04-02-2011, 07:06 PM
I had a spinal headache for week following a spinal tap. They had me lay down for a half an hour didn't give me anything else. I went back to the ER after it had been three days with no improvement and doctor couldn't believe that only had me lay down for 30 minutes and didn't give me any caffeine. It was the worse week of my life so I feel your pain. :hugg

Eowin
04-02-2011, 07:13 PM
Oh my goodness, Tiffany! I'm glad you're okay - just take care of yourself now, ya hear?!!! :hugg

tyesenpitty
04-03-2011, 12:44 AM
Oh Tiffany....what a terrible ordeal for you! I'm glad your feeling better though. And I'm sorry that you have to go through your rotation. I know the students we have right now at the clinic are excited that after this rotation, they are going to be able to relax before graduation.

Shaheen
04-03-2011, 01:30 AM
I feel for you. I've had that kind of headache before and it is indescribable. It angers me to hear of someone not being cared for properly and not being diagnosed in a timely manner. There is no excuse for the way you were treated. I'm glad you survived and I'm glad you are feeling better. I don't blame you though for wanting to find out what caused it or how you could have possible caught it. They should have gotten back to you. When you read something like this and realize that this kind of fiasco happens all too frequently, it's really scary. The least they could have done was to manage your pain better and they even failed at that. :grump

JulieB
04-03-2011, 08:27 AM
Glad you are ok! That's some scary stuff there.

Landshark
04-03-2011, 09:29 AM
I was in pain just reading about your ordeal! I hope you get answers tomorrow. And so glad you are feeling better.

LaughingStockStables
04-03-2011, 11:14 AM
Oh my goodness! :( :hugg

Nightmare
04-03-2011, 11:22 AM
That's scary, Tiffany, but your "treatment" seems to be the norm rather than the exception. I've been in the medical field for > 20 years and I trust doctors less than ever. It's ridiculous that you have to demand respectful competent treatment on every level and that includes mine, nursing. I am glad you are here to tell your story and I hope you are feeling even better.

onekindacowboy
04-03-2011, 11:29 AM
I know that none of my veterinary patients would put up with this kind of treatment (nor would I ever put a patient through what I had to go through).

YEP and boy would we hear it if we did!!! I think we get alot of piddly little complaints because people are upset with their own care that they take it out on us veterinarians!
When my aunt was in the hospital undiagnosed and dying I told her endrocrinologist that "had I had a patient that was in the hospital for 2 weeks and was still undiagnosed and being treated this way the owners would undoubtedly take their animal elsewhere." I think I hurt her feelings but it was riduculous how my Aunt was (not) treated. Each specialist was simply treating each symptom. No one was treating the patient. Part of her problem was not having an attending physician. I highly recommend that everyone who is in the hospital find a patient advocate to work with them and make sure that all of the doctors work together for the paitent not for the individual symptoms.

I have lots of family and freinds who have had great luck with the hospitals in Columbia so I hope yours is an isolated case!

And I love how it is always the animals fault too! Get well soon!

Midnight Sun
04-03-2011, 07:58 PM
I'm glad you're okay, and thanks for sharing your story, because many people die from not taking these symptoms seriously.

Can't say it loudly enough: HEADACHE, HIGH FEVER, LIGHT SENSITIVITY - GO TO THE ER IMMEDIATELY! Especially if combined with a STIFF NECK. Viral meningitis is bad enough, but untreated bacterial meningitis, which has the same symptoms, will kill you DEAD in a matter of hours. I can't tell you the number of people who have said, "Oh, my roommate had a little fever and a headache and was light sensitive so she took a nap hoping to feel better and then I found her dead." Don't let this be you, or your child, or your roommate.

Also, there is a vaccination for meningitis, and if you are headed to college, talk to your doctor about it, since college is where most people get it.

Sorry for the public service announcement! I'm really glad you're okay and hope you are done with your run of bad health luck.

OMG, YES! Definately. I am actually really lucky it was not bacterial or I most likely would have died. I was in so much pain I did not even think of meningitis, I just wanted the pain to stop. I did have neck stiffness as well - I could not touch my chin to my chest because the pain was excruciating. When they tried to put me in the fetal position to get the first spinal tap they kept torching on my neck, wanting me to bend my neck more to open up the vertebral space. It hurt so bad I was screaming.


I had a spinal headache for week following a spinal tap. They had me lay down for a half an hour didn't give me anything else. I went back to the ER after it had been three days with no improvement and doctor couldn't believe that only had me lay down for 30 minutes and didn't give me any caffeine. It was the worse week of my life so I feel your pain. :hugg

It's horrible, isn't it. I was laying in bed last night thinking about all of that pain that I went through and how senseless it was that I had to suffer that much. I have been really mad about it, but last night, the more I thought about it the more sad I got. No one should have to go through that kind of pain - and for NO reason other than no one was properly taking care of my pain control meds!


Oh my goodness, Tiffany! I'm glad you're okay - just take care of yourself now, ya hear?!!! :hugg

Thank you so much! :hugg


Oh Tiffany....what a terrible ordeal for you! I'm glad your feeling better though. And I'm sorry that you have to go through your rotation. I know the students we have right now at the clinic are excited that after this rotation, they are going to be able to relax before graduation.

Thanks! :hugg I will be ok. I will still be a doctor on May 13th, 2011, and in the end, that is all that really matters! :)


I feel for you. I've had that kind of headache before and it is indescribable. It angers me to hear of someone not being cared for properly and not being diagnosed in a timely manner. There is no excuse for the way you were treated. I'm glad you survived and I'm glad you are feeling better. I don't blame you though for wanting to find out what caused it or how you could have possible caught it. They should have gotten back to you. When you read something like this and realize that this kind of fiasco happens all too frequently, it's really scary. The least they could have done was to manage your pain better and they even failed at that. :grump

It is scary. Thank you! :hugg


I was in pain just reading about your ordeal! I hope you get answers tomorrow. And so glad you are feeling better.

Thank you! :hugg


Glad you are ok! That's some scary stuff there.

Very scary. Thank you! :hugg


OMG, this happened to me after I had foot surgery years ago! :gaah I didn't know that until later, and no pain meds for me! :grump I was ill for about a week. I'm sorry you had to go through that! :hugg

Oh Laura, I am so sorry you had to go through that too. Something is really wrong with the medical profession if they don't care for their patients any more than that. I am so glad I am going to be a veterinarian and not an MD. I could not stand to see someone treat another living creature like that - human or animal.

Midnight Sun
04-03-2011, 08:10 PM
Sara- Thank you! :hugg

Sherill - Thank you. You are right, there were definately some nurses that could not have cared less about me too. Like the one that allowed me to leave the hospital screaming in pain. She heard me screaming when my mom was helping me into a wheelchair and came and asked me if I wanted something for pain right that moment. Well....would YOU? She went back and checked and they had closed out my account and she was "not able to get me anything". If I were her, I would have been on the phone with that doctor and I would not have let that patient leave the hospital without talking to a doctor and getting adequate pain control first. And to make matters worse, it took them ALL AFTERNOON to get my discharges done and I was not discharged until around 7:30. Instead of filling my scripts at the pharmacy in the hospital, they sent me home with only the papers for the scripts. Since it was after 7 most all of the pharmacies in town were closed (there is only ONE 24 pharmacy in town, a Walgreens). My fiance and my mom went on a wild goose chase all over town trying to find a pharmacy that was open (they went to one Walgreens, but it was the one that is NOT open 24 hours and then ended up driving all the way across town to the other Walgreens before they were able to fill my pain med scripts). All the while they were searching, I was at home suffering. Just RIDICULOUS!

Tammy - I agree. So glad I am going to have DVM behind my name rather than MD. This kind of stuff happens in the medical profession all the time. Mine is not an unusual case. If a veterinarian treated an animal like this we would not have our liscense for long.

Kathe
04-03-2011, 08:13 PM
What a horrifying ordeal! Thank God you are OK! :hugg:hugg

Midnight Sun
04-03-2011, 10:15 PM
Thanks for the :hugg Kathe!

Horse Lady 6
04-04-2011, 12:05 AM
Ohmy goodness Tiffany! :hugg :hugg I'm so glad you are doing better!

Misty
04-04-2011, 07:58 AM
:hugg What an ordeal! So glad you are doing better!! I'm horrified by the way you were treated.