Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Shingles Central

Hey there! For those of you in Korea, let me welcome you a belated "Happy Chuseok!" For me, Chuseok meant having a four day vacation and there isn't anything wrong with that!

So, I'm still in the "Shingles Saga" here at I Got Two Shoes. After I wrote my last post I found myself getting angrier and angrier. What sort of of doctor was this Rainman asshole anyway? I just couldn't believe I was getting the brush-off, and I couldn't understand why. To boot,I noticed I had another rash on my left foot. I was hoping it wasn't a new outbreak of shingles, but it looked very similar. I went into work all fired up and, frankly, on the verge of tears because I was so exhausted and frustrated. My manager hadn't called the doctor yet, and so once again I told her how upset I was and showed her the new rash on my foot.

A little while later I walked back into the Teacher's Room and noticed that Cindy looked upset. She said, "That doctor is SO RUDE!" I practically shouted, "I KNOW! RIGHT?" He'd told her that he has been a doctor for thirty five years and has never seen a case of shingles breaking out in multiple locations. He basically called me an idiot, and told her (with a sigh) to tell me to come back in and see him.

And then he hung up on her!

Cindy said what I'd already been thinking, that I should go find a new doctor at one of the big fancy downtown hospitals instead of this pathetic countryside hospital with their bloodletting leech cure-alls. I asked if she could call and get some sort of records of the treatments I'd had thus far so I didn't have to try to explain everything to the new doctor. So she called Dr. Rainman back and requested a file and he barked, "FINE!" and then hung up on her again!

I picked up my records a couple hours later and made plans to seek help elsewhere the next morning. Cindy recommended a hospital downtown that her family had been to, telling me they had all sort of shiny new medical machines. I didn't really care about that. I just wanted a decent doctor who was willing to treat me until I was better. Cindy kindly wrote out a page long letter, including some questions I had wanted to ask Dr. Rainman, and also explaining about the new rash on my foot. She warned me that the last time they'd visited there they'd waited for more than two hours, so I should make sure I went early.

And so I did. I checked in at the front desk early the next day an was immediately led by the hand to some benches outside an office door and they made me wait a whole FIVE minutes to be seen! The doctor was very kind and read through the notes I'd given him. He looked at my foot and confirmed it was a second outbreak and told me he was putting me back on a course of antiviral medication. This second rash isn't very good news. It is uncommon to have shingles in multiple locations, and especially so considering I'd already taken a seven day course of acyclovir. The second episode means that my immune system is definitely weakened for some reason or other.

Dr. GoodGuy also tripled the amount of pain medication that Dr. Rainman had initially and reluctantly prescribed. So I'm taking lots of oxycodone and it feels like we may have finally gotten it right. I still feel the pain, but now it's time to take another pill when it starts to feel really horrible. Another bonus is I'm able to sleep. In fact, I lost Sunday because I slept through it. All of it. I woke up from a Sunday afternoon nap to a dusky grey sky and figured the sun had just set, only to realize it was actually about to rise, shining on a new Monday morning. I'm still flat-out exhausted. My whole four day weekend was spent nodding off in various furniture around my apartment. Good times.

I've been using a wooden spoon to scratch my back. I'd like to attach spikes to it. I think that'd feel reaaaallll goooood. It's weird. Parts of my body where the rash was are numb. My left boob is numb. Still, it begs to be scratched. Sometimes it feels like I've got worms crawling around inside me. I just paused for three minutes to spoon myself. Just typing this is making me itchy.

The only really scary thing about visiting the city hospital was the bill when I went to pay it. Whereas I was shelling out about 45,000 won a visit at the country hospital, the new place rang up 269,000 on the cash register. I just about screamed. When they figured out I didn't have insurance they called over to Dr. GoodGuy and played around with the medications he'd prescribed and got my bill reduced down to a slightly more reasonable 115,000. Still. Blech!

The nurse was awesome and asked me to come back on Tuesday afternoon to see her and Dr. GoodGuy again. She even asked me for my phone and punched in her own cell number, telling me to call her if I had any questions. I texted her today and asked her if it was alright I visit a day early because I'm working tomorrow afternoon. (I could have gone in Tuesday morning, but then I'd be seeing a new doc, as Dr. GoodGuy was on the afternoon shift.) She texted back that it was fine, so I went in and was hooked up through to Saturday for medications. I'm taking twenty pills a day. Nurse Lee texted me this evening, apologizing for not spending a lot of time with me during today's visit, explaining that they were so busy after the Chuseok vacation. What a doll! We ended each visit with an ass injection and a good slap on my rear. I don't know what it was they put in that syringe (I was told it was for pain) but for a few hours I felt finey-fine-fine. I wouldn't mind at all if they set me up on an intravenous drip of whatever that was.

Anyhow. So that's how things are going over here at Shingles Central. I hope you're having a better time than me. My next post will be non-shingley related, I promise.


Foreigner Joy said...

Well thank goodness you found a better doctor. Hope the Shingles go away~

Gwen said...

What a relief! I'm glad you left the quack and found someone who is familiar with modern medicine.

I'm kinda concerned about the whole no insurance thing, though. From my understanding, it's obligatory. Hmm. Especially considering your bad luck with health issues, I'd really want some if I were you!

Hope Goodguy can get you patched up ASAP!

Charles Montgomery said...

Wait a second.. it's illegal for you to be hired without insurance.

You need to talk to someone at your hagwon about that.

Also, save some oxycodone for me. Sure, the pain is psychological, but it still hurts!

Get better soon...

Maven said...

Get well soon, Jellz!