Wednesday, November 26, 2014
If Only My Doctor Knew...
Most of us have things we don't completely share with our doctors. Things you don't worry about and don't find necessary to disclose. You get to a point where you know you're fine but you don't want to rock the boat with minor details or you don't want those minor details to make you not fine. You find your balance, when you know you're beat and you have to fess up to your doctor for help and when you can let it slide and it'll work itself out.
Case in point, my doctor freaks about some things. Granted, some are understandable. Some I tend to disagree with and let the information slide.
She's strongly against her patients eating sushi or getting tattoos due to risk of bacteria and infection. Now I won't get a tattoo but I will not give up my sushi. And so I keep that to myself and we're both happy...me with a tummy full of sushi and her thinking I'm not at risk of food poisoning from sushi.
Every visit my doctor asks me how many times I use the restroom. I've learned over 20 years, if I tell her 6-8, she doesn't like it but accepts it. I never actually counted, I just made a rough guess and learned that 8-10 times a day answer caused my doctor freak out and talk about having an ileostomy again. For both of our sake's, I stick with the 6-8 story. But then one day, I actually counted for a full 24 hours. And if I told my doctor that my average 24 hour period is 15-20 bowel movements...she'd really, really freak. I'll go back to an ileostomy when I feel it's needed, not before. And honestly, I'm ok with my 15-20 bathroom trips, I'd rather have that than too few and feel constipated and bloated.
Another frequent question she has is how many bloody stools do I have. It's hard to tell because it's not a regular occurrence but when it does happen, it doesn't worry me. I've learned that if I don't or am unable to use the restroom for a long period, my intestine will become irritated and bleed. It typically lasts a few hours, always less than 8, and it's over. Only today has me a bit worried to be honest. I've been having bloody stools for 24+ hours now, I don't remember this ever occurring for such a long consecutive time. I'm not rushing to call my doctor though, I'm going to try to let it slide. But yes, if it continues for the next 4 days, I'll call my doctor on Monday and fess up. Because I will have to admit that 5 days of constant bleeding is a problem. For a couple reasons I'm really hoping this will stop before Monday though so I won't need to share this bit with my doctor. I'm pretty sure she'll make me have a scope if she knows about this and I don't want this to be a regular question/concern to discuss during visits.
An instance I don't think I've ever actually told her is that I get overheated rather easily, particularly more so since the last year. I've gotten where if I'm inside during winter, I'm usually hot. When I'm over heated, I enter a daze where it takes a lot of effort to walk or talk, I'm sweaty and clammy, I feel like I've entered a tunnel yet my vision is fine. It takes about 3 hours before I feel normal again after this happens. This has happened twice this month and the last time I discovered that my blood pressure and pulse rate were both high. A nurse advised this could be caused by dehydration. The overheating happens regularly yet infrequently enough that I've never thought to tell my doctor. But now, I'm curious about the blood pressure connection and I'm even wondering if my blood pressure fluctuates often without knowing it until I'm overheated.
My next visit is in February and so the dance of picking what I find necessary to disclose and what I will let slide will occur once again. We shall see how the dance turns out.
This is my life with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis and Short Bowel Syndrome. I was diagnosed with FAP as a child, underwent total colectomy at age 9. I experienced life threatening complications resulting in 4 more surgeries that year and developing medical PTSD. I had an ileostomy for 6 years before having it reversed into a straight pull-thru that also resulted in life threatening complications requiring an additional surgery the following year. In 2021, I required my 8th surgery to remove my gall bladder due to gall stones and FAP. This surgery exacerbated my, at the time undiagnosed, Abdominal Migraine which is now being treated.