Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Myositis, Conjunctivitis, and Urinary Tract infections: They All Suck, Although I'm Not Sure Which Is the Worst

When I went to tennis camp when I was eleven, it was hotter than usual that particular summer. The facility at which the tennis camp was being held contained only a small swimming pool -- one that was roughly size of a home pool. When the weather was cool and only the die-hard swimmers used the pool, no health hazards seemed to occur.  Once the thermometer climbed to over 100, however, every tennis player, instructor, counselor, custodian, cook, and Bigfoot searcher  from the adjacent forest who happened to be passing by wanted to take advantage of the pool's cooling properties. The problem herein is that virtually no amount of chlorine that is safe in which to swim will  kill off the nasty pathogens that four hundred children and the other swimmers, both invited and uninvited,  may be harboring.

The result was that a camp-wide epidemic of pinkeye, otherwise known as an infectious form of conjunctivitis,  struck the camp and surrounding territory. The outbreak was so prevalent that the conspiracy theorists among us suggested terrorism in the form of biological warfare. Even at the age of eleven, I found it hard to believe that Al Qaeda would choose, of all places, a tennis camp out in the sticks of New Hampshire to wage its next attack on the evil empire of the USA, though I was in the minority with my opinion.

If you've never suffered pinkeye, consider yourself blessed. It was so bad that I would have gladly submitted to surgery to have my eyeballs temporarily removed so that I could rub calamine lotion or some other anti-itch medication thoroughly into my eye sockets before having my eyeballs put back into place.

Urinary tract infections are another unfavorite of mine. I've had more actual kidney infections than urinary tract infections  per se. I've been told that the two are varying forms of the same malady, and that they differ by degree of severity and by the depth to which the infection has traveled.  I know that  I was much more seriously ill with kidney infections than I was with my one urinary tract infection.  Still, given the choice, bring on the kidney infection. Urinary tract infections cause a strong burning sensation in a place most of us would prefer not to feel such a sensation. Accompanying the burning sensation is the feeling of urgency (the feeling that one needs to urinate frequently), the need to urinate frequently and with little notice, extreme pain while urinating and afterward, and pain, in addition to in the unmentionable places, also in the flank, and/or abdomen, and/or lower back.  Urinary tract infections would be given to prisoners in Gitmo or in other prisons in place of solitary confinement were such not a violation of the Geneva convention, among other constraints. I find it anomalous that death by firing squad, gas chamber, lethal injection, or, in some places, even by electric chair, are all perfectly legal in many places in the U. S., but giving a prisoner a small strain of bacteria that would cause him or her to contract a urinary tract infection is somehow considered cruel and unusual punishment.  Perhaps that is a testament to just how horrible a urinary tract infection really is.

Myositis, an inflammation of muscles known to originate from various causes,  is far less common than either pinkeye or urinary tract infections. For this reason, less is known regarding how to remedy the affiction or how to make patients more comfortable who are suffering from the effects. It's more painful than a UTI, but if my thigh or calf hurts, I can grab it  even if others are present. The same cannot be said for the body parts typically affected by urinary tract infections.  I could remain on Dilaudid and Ativan for twenty-four hours a day for the next two weeks or so were it not for the fact that I do not wish to be Lindsay Lohan's roomie in a rehab facility in the near future, not that my parents would necessarily spring for a spa-like facility nearly so luxurious as the next one at which  Ms. Lohan will try and fail to beat her various addictions.

The alternative is for me to use Dilaudid and Ativan at night only, lessening the overall exposure and potential for addiction,  which still carries some risk of addiction, but when the drugs are being used for legitimate pain and not for recreational purposes, the body can theoretically distinguish between the two uses and can withstand physical addiction for a longer period of time. (Does this sound vaguely like what Todd Akin said about the body having ways to shut down the possibility of pregnancy in cases of legitimate rape? I hope not.)    Physical addiction notwithstanding,  psychological addiction  is another matter entirely. Where in the hell is my  %$%^#(# Dilaudid?

The problem with using opiates and benzos only at night is that the pain is just as great during the day.  One suggestion, and not a bad one, is Guinness. At some point that will probably become the solution of choice. Right now I'm taking some IV Toradol  (an NSAID) during the day, and consuming alcohol -- even that with such proven therapeutic benefits as Guinness --  can cause major gastrointestinal issues when taken in conjunction with NSAIDS.  Toradol, however, can be taken continuously for only about five days, and intermittently for maybe seven days. We've already reached day four.  In three more days, it may be time for Guinness to once again reveal its magical properties. Alcohol in combination with opiates can be devastating to the liver, of course, but by then, I should be on little if any Dilaudid, and the amount of Guinness I can consume is not exactly of the quantity that would make an Irishman proud.

So the consensus (of one) is that all three afflictions suck, but that if you have access to enough good drugs and your father and/or your doctor is not a Nazi who thinks you'll become the next Anna Nicole Smith, take myositis if offered a choice of the three -- that is, unless you cannot spare three weeks to loll around in bed watching TV shows that are certain to diminish your IQ. "Judge Alex" is the only show likely not to compromise your intellectual capacity. As far as the rest of what can be found on daytime TV, may God help us all.

  

12 comments:

  1. I had pinkeye when I was 6. Not fun. Other than that, I've been lucky. I hope you get past the myositis soon. It sounds very unpleasant.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had pinkeye when I was in 1st grade. I remember my eyes were really crusty and gross, and my Nana wouldn't let me play with any toys because she didn't want my cousin and brother to get the dreaded goopey eye illness as well.

    I can agree with you about UTI's... you know my story. They suck...

    Have you tried a heating pad, or a cold press for your legs? That's helped my arthritis. I know it's not exactly the same thing, but I get how annoying leg pain is, especially with moving around, you can't get away from some things. I used to have bad joint pain in the winter time with the chilly weather. Baths used to be a life saver, It didn't take it away completely but it made it a little better for a little while.

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  3. Becca and knotty, I think we've reached consensus that there is little good to be said about pinkeye.

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  10. I would like to suggest that conjunctivitis can be treated by visiting the clinic like pink eye conjunctivitis as I too have recently undergone the treatment of this and it was a great experience with them.
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  11. I think you're right that treatment by or at least consultation with an eye care professional is important with any form of conjunctivitis.

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