I attended the GP to check out my potential urinary infection. I think I might have mentioned before that I have had some mild lower abdominal pain, and some sort of stinging when I pee, ever since I woke up from surgery really. I figured this was probably because of the catheter causing a bit of irritation and eventually it would begin to settle. I had the couple of days of pissing blood, in various shades of colour from red, brown and yellow, and various transparencies from custard to window glass. As much of a mix as the collection of leftover half full glasses after a wild and raucous party. This kind of thing always seems to happen on the weekend when your choice of health care is somewhat limited. The same as wild parties really. I was a little worried, when following a leisurely shite, I casually looked in the pan to see a blood bath. Three things immediately sprung to mind. I’ve shit out blood, I’ve pissed out blood, or someone else has, and it was there already. I was able to rule out the first by having only brown on the paper. I ruled out the latter, by accusing the lady members of the household of leaving their monthly lady detritus in the pan, only to be told in no uncertain terms it was me with the deviant waste disposal system. Another pee a little later confirmed it, although it was already beginning to settle down to a nice rose. I looked on the internet and booked a GP slot for the following afternoon.
Super GP gave me a wide spectrum antibiotic, and sent off the pee to the labs for analysis. Away I went, started the pills and carried on as before. This morning I met a dear friend in the local cafe, and we sat there over a coffee for me, and a fruit and veggie smoothie for her, comparing tales of our feral urinary systems and the associated woes. The joys of being in your forties. As we sat there, enjoying the morning sun, dog asleep under the table, my phone rang. It was lovely receptionist from my GP. They need me to come in because my results are back, and they need to change my therapy. I figure I probably don’t have anything wrong with me, and they want me to stop my antibiotics. Lovely receptionist asks me to come straight away. I tell her I’ll be an hour or so, as I’m out with the dog. Luckily today is the day I am entitled to drive again.
I have a nice leisurely walk back home with the dog, looking, as ever, for a koala, kangaroo or snake. We see a kookaburra, and I hear the screech of the bastard black parrot, but manage to evade him this time. He remains in the bushes. One of my colleagues reliably informs me that they are in fact cockatoos, affectionately known here in Queensland as cockies. So the other day I actually crept up on and tried to take a picture of, a big black cocky that then thrust itself in my face and dropped its nuts on me, whilst on its way to a better equipped bush. No wonder I pissed myself.
I leave my doggy in the garden to enjoy a carrot, and jump in the car. It’s been over a month since I’ve driven. My seat is in a difficult position. Wifey was driving it last. My legs won’t fit under the wheel. My belly hurts, until the seat moves back to its normal position. All adjusted, I’m off. An uneventful trip follows, and I’m back in the waiting room of the GP for the third time in a week. I don’t even have to speak, just wave at lovely receptionist, and she says
“Hi Stefan, have a seat”.
Normally when faced with a waiting room, I sit as far as possible from other humans. They must have some sort of illness, why else would they be here? I don’t want it, so I sit alone. Not possible today. All the seats have someone sitting next to them. I am forced to complete a super quick risk assessment in my mind, as to the safest place to sit. There’s a lady breastfeeding, with a seat next to her, the other side taken by another young lady who from my initial survey seems affected by a touch of torticolis- a stiff neck, ludicrously gurning as if to prove her pain is real. The next two seats are occupied by an elderly gent with a large plaster on his face, a probable skin cancer recently excised, and a heavily tattooed singlet, shorts and thong attired middle aged fella. Two more seats are taken by a couple. The bloke is the patient, he is young, thin and has a shirt on that says “fuck em all”. She is wearing a summer dress, and seems relatively normal. The far side of the room is populated by an overweight twenty something woman and a thirtyish fella deep in a book on his phone. My mind scans them allocating risk from the conditions I perceive them to have. Stiff neck lady doesn’t appear to have any potentially fatal reason for the stiffness. I see no rash. She is on her phone. However, the other side is occupied by breast feeding lady. It’s probably the infant that requires the services of the doctor. I could get thrown up on by the child. It may cry. I might look weird choosing the seat next to the lass with her tit out. My gaze moves on to the old bloke and the tattooed dude. Tattooed dude and I lock gazes, and something about his demeanour less than politely informs me that sitting next to him is not wise. Hmmm. The plaster faced pensioner looked nice. The rude shirt fella appears to be connected to some sort of pump. It’s in a bag, so I can’t work out what it is. Could be insulin, could be antibiotic perhaps. By the way he interacts with the staff, I realise he has a loyalty card. He is a frequent flyer, and his partner is a professional of some description. Not a hooker, a social worker, probation officer or something similar. I discount that seat, and squeeze myself in between the chubby lass and the bookish thirty year old, who as I sit, looks up, emits a massive sneeze, and I surreptitiously wipe the snot remnants away and rue my poor diagnostic skills on the fly.
Luckily, I’m called in quickly, before I catch my death. Super GP is too busy, so I see a different one. She is nice. She knows why I’m here.
“About your results… I’m sorry.”
Shit. Last time I had the l’m sorry it was cancer. Can’t be any worse than that.
“You have a complicated infection. Its potentially very serious. It’s pseudomonas.”
Great. Again, being a nurse makes sure you have just enough information to make the diagnosis scarier than it perhaps would be for the average person in the street. Pseudomonas urinary tract infections are very rarely acquired in the community. Most of them are hospital acquired via surgery or, more commonly, catheters. These infections can be hard to treat as there is a lot of antibiotic resistant pseudomonas out and about. It is potentially serious as if it gets into your bloodstream, pseudomonas bloodstream infection has a fatality rate of almost 40%. One of the easiest ways to get into your bloodstream, is via your kidneys, and so a rising urinary tract infection is one of the more common causes for pseudomonas bacteremia. Hey ho, let’s all hope that it stays where it is then.
I get some new antibiotics. The doctor has to telephone for special permission of some sort, as these are apparently on the reserved list. I get my script, and am told to go to ED if I get a fever. The pharmacist will tell me the precautions, she says. Precautions? WTF has she given me? My local pharmacist and I are hastily developing a good rapport. She has my credit card almost as often as my wife. She dispenses my new pills with a few grave warnings. If I go out in the sun, I will burn to a crisp. If I look in a mirror, I will have no reflection. My incisor teeth will grow, and I’ll develop a taste for blood. Ok only kidding. The first one is true. It might also cause permanent peripheral neuropathy, or tendon rupture, and so if I get pain in my joints, go to ED. I might have a fit, so if I do, go to ED. I’m beginning to think I might be safer to sit in Emergency, just in case.
I’ll let you know how it goes over the weekend. It could be touch and go, but I plan to have a normal one. In the shade, resting my joints, committing pseudomonas genocide with magic pills.