The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

>> 10.23.2009

In the sick room, ten cents' worth of human understanding equals ten dollars' worth of medical science.
Martin H. Fischer

Well, the good news is: my doctor does not believe the pain in my abdomen is anything serious. He poked. He prodded. He listened to me breathe. He did an ultrasound (to check on Liam). He then came to the perplexing conclusion that I may have acid reflux. This diagnosis confuses me because I explained that I get frequent heartburn and the two pains are nothing alike. When I mentioned this he said, "Huh? Really?" and then handed me the name of an over-the-counter medication for acid reflux. It makes me think that perhaps I did not accurately describe my symptoms: the pain does not get worse after I eat, it is not a burning sensation in any way, I do not have nausea or vomiting, and the only things that relieve it are Tylenol and warm compresses. It feels like I broke my ribs, not like acid is trying to claw its way out of my stomach. However, I am willing to give it a shot. I am pretty much willing to give anything a shot.

It is very good to know that my blood pressure is normal (ruling out preeclampsia), the doctor does not believe it is my gallbladder, and, as far as I know, there was no sign of infection in my urine (ruling out a bladder or kidney infection). I am honestly surprised about that one. I have a history of bladder/kidney infections. [Bad ones. Really bad ones. And often. As in... on and off antibiotics ever since an undiagnosed bladder infection landed me in the hospital and weakened my kidneys almost three years ago.] Yet, I have not had one since getting pregnant. Or, if I have, the doctor has not mentioned it, and it has not been bad enough to cause the symptoms I am used to. I find that really interesting.

The bad news is that there is no magic get better pill that will make it possible to get more than three hours of sleep a night, or make it easier to breathe, or stop sneezing from being the most feared moment of my day. I am now carrying around a small pharmacy in my purse: Tylenol, Zantac, a thermal heating pack, Tums (which I suppose the Zantac will replace), and my prenatal vitamins. I am feeling rather defeated.

More bad news: Liam's growth has not picked up. He is still measuring very small. I was watching the screen as the doctor measured him because as he clicks and drags on various body parts, the estimated gestational age based on the measurements adjusts on the screen. From what I could tell (with my limited knowledge, mind you), he is measuring about 2-2.5 weeks behind what he should be. I am going to have to go sometime next week to a special ultrasound which will determine if something is wrong with the blood flow through the placenta and slowing his growth.

But back to the good news: I specifically asked the doctor this time if anything seemed abnormal. He said very emphatically that no, the baby looks just fine. There is nothing wrong with him at all. He is developing normally- he is just really small. He also said that it is very likely that it could simply be genetic: he is going to be a little guy. That is his best bet and he does not believe he is missing anything, but he wants me to get this ultrasound just to be safe.

So I am going today to take the glucose test. I am going next week for that extra ultrasound, and I have now officially started my two week visits so I will be back at my regular appointment the following week. Man... that's a lot of doctor in my life.

Oh, well- I should really be grateful. I was nervous walking into that yesterday. The nurse made it sound very serious. I asked if it could wait until my regular appointment the next day and she said no, I needed to get there as soon as possible. Of course, once again no one in that office communicates with each other because the doctor walked in and began a normal appointment with me until I stopped him to explain that I was there because of some unexplained abdominal pain. He looked surprised: I was not. We will never, ever, ever be going back to this practice. This is at least the fifth time that a lack of communication has caused problems- this being the mildest instance. And it makes me nervous because if they can't even manage to talk to each other.. what aren't they telling me?

And the ugly? Well, I guess there really isn't any... unless you count my face. It is looking pretty rough due to sleep deprivation. I am working extra hours today and have been trying to figure out a way to turn "let Michelle take a nap" into some form of entertainment for a preschooler, toddler, and baby but... no luck yet.

Sigh. Fridays are my day to get things done around the house. And, more importantly, to have the bed to myself for a couple of hours after Ryan goes to work in the morning. But.. money makes the world go 'round. Unfortunately, it does not make my brain function any better. Case in point: I just sat the baby in his high chair with a banana... and no bib. I am now the proud caretaker of a completely banana covered baby, of course...who is apparently feeling as cranky as I am today. He has been awake for thirty minutes and already managed three meltdowns. Where is my sweet, docile, kissable chubster when I need him?


karmapearl October 23, 2009 at 9:37 AM  

Michelle I'm glad to hear that everything looks OK with Liam, despite being small. I was thinking about it last night, and I know that you guys are in a tight spot being without insurance at the moment. But remember: no one knows your body like you do. Not even a doctor. If you feel like something is amiss, seek a second opinion. If you have to go to the emergency room, so be it.. They can bill you later, and you can deal with the financial aspect of it then. Your health, and Liam's health comes first. I'm all for giving what doctors have to say a listen and even giving their remedies a shot but what it all boils down to is that you know what's best for your body and when it comes to your son's health, if you feel like something's not right or if that doctor's diagnosis just doesn't sit well with you don't be afraid to ask someone else. I know being without insurance limits your options, but remember the ER is always there.

I'm not saying this to scare you; I am sure that everything is fine, but I also wanted to encourage you to seek another opinion if you still felt uneasy about what your doctor said. And if they are as disorganized as you say they are, I would feel uneasy too and would want to seek another person's advice.

Michelle October 23, 2009 at 10:27 AM  

Thanks, Nat. You are right.. and if after a few days the Zantac doesn't help, I probably will go ahead and get a second opinion somewhere. Since everything with the baby looks okay and his movement hasn't decreased at all, I am not panicking or in a huge hurry about it. But if anything changes or doesn't improve, I don't think it would even be possible for me to make it through the next couple of months- the pain is pretty intense.

Toni October 23, 2009 at 12:12 PM  


You and Liam are in my prayers. Maybe you could prop your feet up and get a little rest "moment" on the couch today with the kids. I know its hard, though.

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