This past week I had the pleasure of a hospital stay due to my latest acute pancreatitis attack. Which turned into, no, more like a bad ulcer from your esophogus down throughout your stomach. From zero to warp speed I went from a nice afternoon of fixing my lawn mower to laying in the fetal position in my bed.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
This is my fifth bout with pancreatitis over the last few years. Third in the last six months. I KNOW the signs and symptoms. I know when to wave the white flag and surrender to the hospital for IV fluids, blood tests, CT scan and general “we’re going to admit you to keep an eye on you & control your pain.”
I am thankful for the hospital, and how they take care of me, once ADMITTED. However it’s been through trial & error and many horrible experiences IN the hospital that now this is handled somewhat correctly.
It’s very strange to me that hospital physicians, from the ER on through to discharge haven’t a clue about SLE or Lupus in general. Not just strange, more like frightening and frustrating. Things like misdiagnosis & sending me home without even a blood test to check my pancreas enzymes. The numerous diagnosis’s of diverticulitis (I’ve been diagnosed in the ER with diverticulitis at least four times…. but I don’t have it). Then having to be rushed back to hospital because my pancreatitis was so bad & enzymes so high I was near bursting into peritonitis.
This past week I’ve had more “staring contests” with physicians & PA’s than ever. They happen when I tell my story of why I am there, (after telling it three previous times to nurses and the other doctors) to another ER doctor. I quickly spit out all the pertinent information like, “I have Lupus SLE first off, so I get acute pancreatitis attacks now, I’d like to have my blood checked to make sure this isn’t one I’m having. Oh, and I was in hospital here for seven days last November with it & six days last February with it…”
All this while wrenching in pain, nauseated, heaving.
“Do you drink alcohol?”
No I don’t.
“Have you ever had a problem with alcohol in the past?”
But I DO have Lupus SLE. This important piece of information is ignored. Nothing said.
“Well let’s take a look. Where do you feel pain?” He asks as he pushed on the very area that feels like the knives are sticking & the elephant is sitting. “THERE!!!”
“Hum we’ll check that.”
He DOES take blood for testing, 3 poke minimum because I’m usually dehydrated and have rolling veins. He comes back after blood test to tell me YES, your pancreas enzymes are high again, you have pancreatitis I imagine. I’d like to admit you. OK.
Get a CT scan on way to room. Get to room and see another doctor, the hospital’s doctor, who walks in & says, before I can say anything. He says, “you don’t have pancreatitis.” Oh? No, your enzymes are high but you don’t have it. I’ll check your enzymes in the morning. Ok then, what do I have that mimmicks pancreatitis and elevates my enzymes? He doesn’t know….
But we’ll keep you here to watch you. Ok.
It is this feeling I get that even though the blood tests, urinalysis, CT of my swollen or blocked bile duct….that the hospital doctors just can’t believe I have pancreatitis because I don’t drink. Maybe it’s just this hospital. But its frustrating pleading my case, asking for the tests. Even having nurses suggest to doctor maybe check lipase, all while I’m in the worst pain and worried I’m on my way to something bursting or having to have another ERCP.
This is when the excellent care begins though. The nurses, lab techs, transporters ALL are nice, compassionate, not in a hurry.
But I find myself questioning many things in life. Why the obvious is sometimes so hard to see. Why we must suffer as we plead our case for what we know could be a possibility. It’s frustrating. So I lean on this scripture,