Yes, it's a woe is me blog post. But, I have good reason to wallow for a while...
As most of you know I've been feeling like I've been hit by a truck for quite some time. My whole body has been aching and some days I've barely been able to get out of bed. I went to see the osteopath because of the intense pain in my right shoulder area, and have been having headaches, night sweats, fevers, stomach aches. Well, just about everything has ached at some point!
Recently dear little Barney caught Slap Cheek (or Parvovirus B19 to anyone in the know!) He had it quite severely. It's one of those childhood illnesses like chicken pox. Once you've had it as a child you are normally immune. Well, obviously I didn't have it as a child, because I caught the adult version of it. Which, as with chicken pox, is usually a lot harder on an adults body than a child's. I was really ill for a few days, with a temperature that we couldn't get below 39C with paracetamol. Marty was covering me with wet flannels, which was awful! Every bone and joint in my body hurt. I was a total mess.
After a few days of this I started getting very intense chest pains. This went on for about 24 hours before Marty phoned the doctors and they told me to go in for an ECG. The ECG was fine and the doctor said it was probably just pain from the inflammation in my chest wall due to the slap cheek virus.
By the next day I was still having constant chest pains. Pains so strong that I was crying out. You know, the sort of pain you can't ignore. So we headed, as advised, up to the hospital to get checked out (but not before stopping at Barney's school to see his debut performance in the school assembly!)
The doctor I was given was almost the twin of JD from Scrubs! But with a Northern Ireland accent. Lol. He was lovely, and so sympathetic. There's nothing worse than a doctor that doesn't care. He explained that parvovirus b19 can have some rare but nasty complications in adults, but that it was probably nothing more than heartburn. Ha, well I knew it wasn't heart burn, but I thought maybe there was a problem with my esophagus or something. Anyway, they took some bloods, and an x-ray and then tested my blood gas levels. Well, if anyone ever offers to test your blood oxygen levels then just say hell no! (Unless you're like dying or something!) He warned me that it would hurt, but daaaaannnnngg. I dunno what he was doing with that needle, and nothing other than air seemed to come out, but it went in and out of the same hole in my wrist about 5 or 6 times, each time in a different direction. I was a brave girl and I didn't even get a sticker.
Well, after all that poking and x-raying I just had to sit and wait for the results. During this wait my pain killers wore off and I started getting the chest pains badly again, and my temp started going up. I just wanted to be at home in bed really, because I was pretty sure they would tell me all the tests were clear and I just needed to fart, or something.
I saw the doctor check 4 other peoples chest x-rays. To me (totally untrained in the medical department) all the other peoples chest x-rays looked nice and healthy! I have no idea if they were or not. Then he took my chest x-ray and put it up. He examined it for a few minutes and I couldn't help taking a good look at it myself for a bit of hypochondrial self diagnosis. I was pretty sure my x-ray looked like I had something awful. Not only was there a massive liver in my shot, but a big round lumpy thing where the pain was radiating from in my chest. The doctor came over slowly and I could feel my palms getting sweaty as I waited for the terrible news. "Your chest x-ray looks fine" he said, "and your blood gas is normal too, so we are just waiting for your blood results." OK, maybe I really do just need to fart. How embarrassing.
My blood tests got lost in hematology. It took several irate phone calls from the ward sister to convince hematology that my bloods had even been taken, and then they claimed a computer malfunction. So they apologised that I had to wait so long. And I kept on waiting. The longer I waited the worse the pain was getting. I was doubled over in pain, but trying not to look like I was in pain, as I didn't want all the nurses laughing when they found out that I only needed to fart and had made a big fuss over nothing!
Eventually the blood results came back and I was summoned to a room with the JD lookalike. "Would you mind if I took a look at your stomach?" he asked. "Of course you can" I replied, thinking that obviously the bloods were fine and he's now looking at my stomach to see if I do indeed need to fart. He was poking and prodding and I thought that at any time he might hit the pocket of pain-killing wind and force it out of me right there and then in one big embarrassing explosion! Thankfully that didn't happen. He started prodding around under my ribs on the right hand side and ooooohhhh lord did that hurt! "That hurts doesn't it?" I thought Id kept a pretty calm expression on my face, but he was no fool. "Does that hurt too?" Yes. "And that?" Yes. "And there?" Yes.
"OK, well the pain confirms the blood test results. Now I don't want you to panic when I tell you this, and let me explain why in a moment, but you've got hepatitis in your liver." Hepatitis? Are you kidding? You mean, I don't just need to fart?? I didn't know whether to be upset or relieved. On the one hand I didn't want to be ill, but on the hand I didn't want to leave none the wiser as is often the case. Anyway he went on to explain that a very rare complication of slap cheek / parvovirus B19 is hepatitis. It's extremely unusual, but some people can develop either hepatitis, septicemia, meningitis or pericarditis (inflammation of the heart) from it. Well I must admit to being glad that I didn't get the meningitis. The doctor had suspected pericarditis from my symptoms, which sounds blooming scary so I'm glad it's not that. So, I have acute viral hepatitis, which should last less than 6 months. Most people don't know anything about viral hepatitis (me being one of them). It's not contracted in the same way as say hep b or hep c, and it's not contagious, so I can't give it to anyone else. But it's also not treatable, so I just have to play the waiting game and let my body beat it. He said that if I'm lucky I will recover in 10 days, but on average it would take a month, and could take up to 6 months. I have to get tested every 2 weeks.
I'm not entirely sure that I haven't had it for quite some time though. Liver pain transfers to the right shoulder area, and I've had right shoulder pain for a good month now. Although I suppose the parvovirus was probably in my system already.
Well, it's going to be tough for poor old Marty. I can get an hour where I feel absolutely fine, but I can suddenly feel as sick as a dog. Which is not surprising as I'm probably completely toxic! The doctor said I will probably turn yellow. Nice! Can't wait for that. So right now I'm spending the majority of time in bed. The pain killers don't cover the pain for long enough. I have to take them every 4 hours and they only work for 3 hours. So I have 3 hours of tiredness, then an hour of excruciating agony, then back to the tiredness. It kind of sucks really. Not easy when you have four children to take care of. I've never been so glad that Marty is not working before!
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