Dying with dignity.

I was watching an episode of Greys Anatomy last night. It was extremely emotional and sad. Maggie lost her mom to breast cancer. The episode focused on how Maggie as a surgeon was trying to do everything in her power to save her mum. She didn’t want her to give up.
She wanted her to fight.
She wanted her to live.
Maggie was not ready to let go….

And here lies the most important decision any person would need to make in that situation. Fight for your life,do everything possible to overcome illness.
But a time will come when there is nothing left to fight for. When all that lies ahead is pain and suffering.
It is up to those watching to allow the sick to let go…
Don’t make your fear their issue.
Let them live with dignity,die with dignity.

I know I would always choose quality over quantity.

Fear

Health is something most of us take for granted.
I have been feeling really crap these last few days.I finally took myself to the doctor,
Upper respiratory infection and a bilateral kidney infection.
Now this is not the first time I’ve had a kidney infection,it is very uncomfortable and painful.
It scares me…..these infections are recurring more often. I’ve had maybe 4 in the past year or so.
It rarely occurs with a bladder infection.
I live a healthy life…..I exercise..I eat well….
I drink water often, no drugs or alcohol.
Why?
Kidney disease frightens me…..

Rather disturbing news.

I received a rather disturbing text the other day. One of my patients needed to cancel her 4 D scan as she had miscarried over the weekend.
I only see patients between 27-32 weeks. So this was a late term loss. I really felt bad for her. As I had scanned her at 16 wks,and we saw a beautiful little girl.
I later learnt that she had suffered a uteral abruption, she went to a trauma department at a private clinic when she started feeling pain but was treated for gastro. The staff apparently struggled to find a heart beat but at no time was a sonar requested.
She transferred to another private clinic the next morning where her own Gynea discovered the rupture. The baby had died and the patient had suffered major blood loss.
She could have died.
Now I ask how can this happen in a private clinic with state of the art equipment? With apparently world class doctors. This is NOT at a government hospital.
What is happening to the quality of health care in South Africa.
A travesty.
Those doctors will never be held responsible for their incompetence,and will probably do worse on another night.
And this poor woman will live with her loss forever.

I’m Forty

I turned forty a few weeks ago,and I feel great.
I had a friend over and we spent a day at a spa,which was absolutely perfect.
I haven’t blogged in a while…mainly because I’ve been busy but also because I really have been feeling blessed.
Turning the big 40 has been enlightening. I did not feel depressed or tearful.
Instead I say bring it on!
I missed mum, and more so my dad. I have been thinking a lot of him lately. And I know he would have been happy for me. I feel like I’ve climbed over the hill…the hill whose rocks kept me awake at night. Those stumbling blocks that were holding me back.
I miss them, but my life will go on. I feel them close in my heart..never far.
I am at peace because my life is rich with love and laughter.
I have an amazing family.

I would never had guessed 20 yrs ago that I’d be here now.
But I would not change it for the world.

Medicine (Part Two)

My mum had her final operation for her perma-Cath in the last weeks of September. It was always a really painful procedure. Yet when I fetched her the morning after she was in such good spirits that I was surprised.
My daughter and her chatted happily in the car when I went to collect her meds and chat to the nursing staff. The surgeon was concerned because there was a nasty infection on her operation site and prescribed a strong antibiotic.
When we got home I got her into bed,gave her the meds….she looked so well. I was pleased.

The next day she complained that her tummy was sore,and that she felt nauseous. And she thought it was the antibiotic. I told her that she needed to take it as it was important!
Two days later she looked much weaker,and could barely keep any food down. We went to her doctor,who checked her up and said the same. It’s the infection….don’t stop the meds!

A week later,she was barely able to walk on her own. The doctor said the infection must have spread because she was not taking her meds on time.
On the Sunday morning almost two weeks after the operation,we rushed her to casualty. She was in extreme pain. And had a fine purple rash on her body. The trauma doctor phoned her nephrologist….they decided to give her a dose of the antibiotic intravenously to KILL the bug. Her doctor did not come in to examine her.
That evening another dose of the antibiotic was administered.
When her doctor finally came to see her in ICU on the Monday morning he realized his fatal error.

She had Steven Johnson Syndrome
A serious and fatal reaction to the antibiotic.
They had killed her. She passed away two days later.

Medicine

This flu season has been really trying. My entire family has had bouts of the flu and colds that just seem to linger.
My 13yr old son was hit by a bug last Monday. He came home from school sluggish and listless. But no accompanying runny nose and cough. I gave it a day and took him to the doctor on Tuesday.
My main concern was a consistently high fever of about 39.5C.

The doctor said it was just a bad flu. He needed bed rest. And a prescription for Tamiflu and pain meds. That night was bad…the fever returned soon,but was followed by severe stomach cramps.
I just prayed and hoped that it would improve.
But it didn’t. The next night was worse. He was now throwing up, and barely able to get out of bed.
I called the doctor and explained my concerns. I know that abdominal cramps is a side effect of Tamiflu,especially in kids. And more worrying was that the fever was not breaking.
My son actually looked worse than on day one.
The doctors advise was DON’T stop the Tamiflu. And just give some Buscopan for the cramps.
I was conflicted….he is the doctor,but every fibre in my body said NO! He is wrong.

This time unlike when my mum was ill I listened to my instinct. The next day I took my very weak son to another Doctors Rooms. I pleaded and performed for an appointment. I wasn’t leaving until I got another opinion.
Here I found a doctor that listened to my concerns. He agreed that the fever should have subsided with the meds if it was just flu. My poor sick son endured a few really painful injections,and was prescribed a strong antibiotic. Not even three hours later my son was feeling better. He was recovering.

I am no fan of antibiotics,but they save lives!
And last but not least…even though my faith in the medical profession is in tatters. There are some really awesome doctors out there that go the extra mile.

I may be a border line hypochondriac

I turn forty this year,and even though I consider myself relatively healthy I went to a physician for a full medical.
With an alarming family history of diabetes,high blood pressure,cholesterol,hypothyroidism and cancer I wanted to know where I stood. And more so how I’m going to survive the battle ahead. My mum’s health issues started early in her life. I do exercise regularly.
Yet I suffered with an under active thyroid and high glucose levels in my early thirties.

The doctor was very thorough..and I was sent off for a long list of blood tests. I was called in for a follow up appointment a few weeks later and was in shock!
There is nothing wrong with me. All my blood works are clear. No diabetes,no high blood…Nothing.
I sat there in shock…”But doctor I get tired so early in the day,I can’t shift those last few kilos and my hair and skin look awful”
His answer…”my dear you’re a very healthy almost forty year old….I think u may think you’re twenty”
OMG….am I a hypochondriac…..or am I middle aged?