Archive for the ‘Medical’ Category

How to get Guardianship in North Carolina (Wake County)

27 Sep

When it came time for me to apply for guardianship for my disabled son, I felt like I was going down a road no one had gone down before!  It was hard to find information on what was involved and what steps were needed to obtain guardianship.  We just completed the process today and in an effort to make things easier for others, I would like to write out how to get  Guardianship for your loved one!  This is a case for Wake County, North Carolina.  I am assuming it is true for all of North Carolina but can’t be sure, however, I would assume it would be very similar within the state if not the same.


Step 1:  Fill out the paperwork at the North Carolina Wake County Clerk of Courts Website for Guardianship.  (Click on the word paperwork to see the forms you need to fill out.)

Step 2:  Take filled out paperwork to Wake County Court house in downtown Raleigh and go to the 12th floor, go through the Clerk of Courts doors and look for the sign for Special Proceedings.

Step 3:  Give the paperwork to the people at the desk at Special Proceedings.  They will have an additional form for you to fill out.  Plan on being there for at least 30 minutes.

Step 4:  After you fill out the rest of the paperwork, they will make copies and schedule a court date (as soon as 2 weeks out possibly).  They will also give you the name of an attorney for the disabled person.

Step 5:  You will be given copies of the forms to deliver to all next of kin to make them aware of the hearing and give you a form that says that you have to sign (notarized or bring back to court) to prove you gave out all the copies to next of kin.  This includes siblings older than 18 years of age.

Step 6:  The sheriff will be given another copy of the notice that he has to serve in person to the disabled person prior to the hearing.

Step 7:  Once home, you wait for the sheriff to serve notice (if he hasn’t come before the court date, that could be a problem so call and check with them if you are a day or two out and the disabled person hasn’t been served yet).

Step 8:  You also need to wait until you get a call from the court appointed lawyer.  He will call and schedule an appointment with the proposed guardian and disabled person.

Step 9:  At the meeting with the lawyer, he will want to explain to the disabled person what their rights are, discuss the guardianship, types of guardianship, limitations of the disabled person, and make sure the guardian is fit to serve as guardian.  If all is well, the meeting will be short and he will prepare a report for the court.  There is no cost for any of this.

Step 10:  You arrive with your notice that says you served everyone, any proof showing disability (if needed, we didn’t need it but we did bring my son with us) and will meet with the lawyer and the clerk of court in a small room at the 12th floor on the day of your hearing.

Step 11:  The clerk of court will discuss with you the types of guardianship, ask about the limitations of the person needing guardianship, and make recommendations.  She will then share those with you, you all agree and you are sent to another room for the oath and letters.

Step 12:  Some other folks enter information into a computer, have you agree to an oath of office (sounds like you are taking oath for president of the United States), and they give you 5 stamped letters for you to provided anyone who needs proof that you are guardian.  You sign a couple forms and you are done.


You can apply for guardianship as soon as your disabled child is 17 1/2.  You don’t need to wait until they are 18.  This way there is no gap.  I hope this helps!


Colposcopy, Cervical Biopsy, Abnormal Pap Smear, What Can you expect?

29 Aug

One of my least favorite things is going in for a pap smear.  When I was younger, they didn’t bother me much but in the last 15 years, they seemed to get these new brushes that are a lot more bristly and it has never been comfortable have a doctor scrape that brush on my cervix.  A few years ago, I had my first abnormal pap but it was at the same time that I was having terrible bleeding and my doctor agreed that a hysterectomy would be a good solution.  We decided on a partial hysterectomy where only my uterus would go, saving my ovaries and cervix.  I was told that keeping your cervix can help with decrease in bladder issues later, prolapse, and possibly better sexual satisfaction.  Since my cervix had these bad cells, however, the doctor did a cone biopsy at the same time she did the hysterectomy.  Following that, all was well.  I was thrilled with the results of my hysterectomy, no more bleeding (I have four children and didn’t want anymore) and no more cramping.

I didn’t give too much thought to my cervix and the bad cells, had a few more paps over the years that were fine (I admit to not doing them annually as I am not a big fan of a lot of testing).  It had been a few years so during my physical, I opted in for another pap, only to get a report of abnormal cells again and HPV affect.  My previous HPV testing had been negative and I have been faithfully married for 25 years, so the HPV thing was a little confusing but I guess those cells can lie dormant for many years.  I still won’t admit that I “get” the HPV thing but I do know there are 2 types of HPV that cause cervical cancer type 16 and 18.  The test I had done did not test what type of HPV it was.  My doctor said, we all have HPV at some level and the test I had done just showed an increase in activity of HPV cells but it doesn’t mean it is type 16 or 18 that can cause cervical cancer.  We talked about testing for that at my next pap.

Anyway, since this was bad pap #2, with this HPV affect, the doctors thought I should go get a colposcopy done.  At first reading, a colposcopy says it is just a magnifier that looks at cells on the cervix to see if they look abnormal, but almost all colposcopies go hand and hand with a cervical biopsy.  Once they “see” the cells, they have to test them so they must do a biopsy.  Really, they should tell you that you are going for both a colposcopy AND a biopsy as that is what happens.

So, I set out to read about this procedure and found a lot of terrible stories about how painful it was.  People saying it was REALLY PAINFUL, passing out, throwing up, crying, etc.  A few others said, it was no big deal, nothing except a pap, and a few in between.  So, I didn’t really know what to make of it and what to expect.  Today was my procedure and I will tell you how it was for me and what I think makes a difference in those who have these horrific experiences and those that do not.

First, let me tell you how it went for me though.  My doctor told me to take Motrin and eat before coming.  We went out for breakfast and I took 600 mg of Motrin.  I also take oxycontin daily for back pain so I took my oxycontin earlier than normal for an added boost.  About 30 minutes before we got there I took a xanax also.  It made me feel loopy within 10-15 minutes so I wish I had taken it later, by the time I was with the doctor, I didn’t feel the effects that much anymore although I am sure it probably still helped with my anxiety.

I do LOVE my doctor, she is very gentle and kind.  She talked to me about what she was going to do, stepped out while I took off my clothes from the waist down and then came right back (I like that she doesn’t make me sit undressed for 20-30 minutes like some doctors do while you wait for them).  She put in the speculum and it was a tad uncomfortable while she did the cranking open but then I felt fine.  She put some vinegar solution on my cervix to clear off the mucus and help the bad areas show up.  This hurt.  I said, “Ow…”  On a scale from 1-10, maybe a 4 where a 2 is just uncomfortable but a 3 is actual pain.  The worst part was that it took about 30 seconds to do it so it wasn’t just over in a second.  Next she said she was going to inject a numbing agent into the cervix.  This also hurt, maybe a 4, but the good news is that it was just a second so actually it wasn’t as bad as the vinegar since it ended quickly.  Then she set out to take the biopsies.  She said she needed two.  Now, this is where I get a little confused.  I didn’t feel anything painful until she said she was going to do some scraping on the top part of my cervix in an area where she can’t actually see.  When I looked this up, it seems to be called ECC.  So, my theory is that she did two biopsies that I didn’t feel but when she did this scraping thing, it was like the numbing medicine wasn’t even there.  THAT, is what REALLY hurt.  It was like a 6 and again, it wasn’t short.  I do pain better when it lasts 1-2 seconds like a shot or something but she kept scraping and scraping.  My entire insides started cramping up, although up to half way up my chest.  I don’t even have a uterus anymore so I don’t even know what went into spasms but everything inside my body did!  It was a very uncomfortable feeling, nothing like just a bad menstrual cramp.  My fear was that after the scraping ended that she was going to do that again since she said she needed 2 biopsies and I wasn’t clear about if THAT was the biopsy but thankfully, she was done!  Next she did another shot of numbing medicine (maybe since I was still feeling so much) and then put on silver nitrate stuff.  This part was like a 2, just uncomfortable.  Finally, she took out the speculum and was done.  I was still in pain after she finished up.  I went home and took some percocet which helped a lot.  I have been bleeding on a pad as well (which I haven’t done in years since I had my hysterectomy).

It was not a fun experience, I would not be excited about going again.  I would not say it is NOT a big deal but I would say I have had a lot more painful things in life as well.  Why are there so many different stories about this procedure?  First, I think MANY doctors do this without the numbing medicine shot – if that was the case, I think it would have been HORRIFIC!  So, if you are getting this done, ask about getting a shot, if they don’t do it, either demand it or find another doctor.  I would never do this without that shot even though I still felt a lot of pain, I can’t imagine the pain if I hadn’t had the shot!  I also think that people have a different level of sensitivity about their cervix.  Paps bother me so I know I feel quite a bit when it comes to my cervix.  If paps don’t bother you, you are less likely to be on the strong end of pain while if they do, you will feel more.  I also don’t have my uterus which I am sure helps.  I am very crampy now and if I had a uterus too, I am sure the cramping would have been worse then and now.  So, I think there just IS a wide range of sensitivity to the procedure.  Many doctors might say, most patients do fine.  In my doctors eyes, I probably did, “fine.”  I learned to not show that kind of stuff so although I said, “Ow” and such, I didn’t react in a way that was equal to my pain so my doctor probably perceived my level of pain to be on mild side while I would classify it was moderate.  I think this is true for many and some doctors just don’t pay attention enough to their patients.

I am now waiting for my results, in a little over a week she thinks (they will be gone from the office next week).  If it comes back anything but mild, we are talking about removing my cervix, otherwise I will just wait 6 months for a repeat pap and get that higher level HPV test done as well at that time.

If you are getting this procedure done, HUGS to you!  I am sorry, it sucks!  Take pain meds and anxiety meds before, get a numbing shot and know that in 20 minutes it will all be over, that is what got me though!

No Comments

Posted in Medical


23andme DNA Spit test Review

20 Jun

Well, we are about the begin the adventure of seeing what our spit has to say.  We ordered 5 kits, if you order more than 1 at a time for your whole family (to same address) each additional kit is 20% off.  The regular price is $99 and each additional kit was $80.  The shipping was $10.00 for the first kit and $5.00 for each additional kit which seemed like a lot but it does cover shipping both ways.  I will journal our experience as we try this experiment.  Tonight, we will have a “spit” party, log in our ID number for each kit so they can match each of us to our kit and then we will send them back and wait for the word that the analysis is complete!  We have one child who is adopted from China so it will be very interesting to see if this provides any insight into her medical or ancestry that we don’t have.

Update:  I registered each of us on the website.  It wasn’t hard to do and didn’t take too long.  I did like that I could put all the kids under my account. After dinner we set the alarm for 30 minutes so that we won’t have eaten or drank right before the test.  We also massaged our cheeks a little (an email said to) right before.  Our kit said to open this tube and spit in it up to a fill line.  It really didn’t take too much spit to do, maybe about 2 minutes, it took my 10 year old daughter the longest.  My 13 year old son did it the quickest.  You fill it up to the line (without bubbles) and then close the top which causes liquid of some sort to mix with the spit.  After that, you switch off the large spit top with a regular top and then shake it for 5 seconds.  You then place it in a sealed bag they send you, put it back in the box that already has a self-addressed label and put it in the mail.  Now, we wait.  It did not say how long it takes!

We received the results about 5 weeks later.  You get your health results first and then your Relative / Ancestry results another 2 weeks after.  We have just gotten the health results.  The report provides a lot of information.  There are a couple of reports that stay locked in case you don’t want to know the results (Alzheimers and Breast Cancer).  You just have to go unlock it and see the results but I guess some people might not want to know their results for that so they don’t make it in the automatic list.  You get a variety of different lists:  Health Risks, Drug Response, Inherited Conditions, Traits, and their are Health Tools.  Within Health Risks it lists a long list of health risks, your list will include first the things your genes showed a higher risk for.  It will include the average risk and then your risk as compared to average.  Things include Diabetes, Chronic Kidney Disease, Celiac Disease, Migranes, Scoliosis, Lupus, Chrohns Disease, Kidney Stones, MS, and many many more.

The drug response tells you how your body responds to certain drugs like blood thinners, Hepatitis C treatment, and things like if you are more likely to get addicted to Heroin, alcohol, and cigarettes.  The inherited conditions look for a copy of genes that can cause certain syndromes.  This was surprising to us as my husband had one of these.  It is recessive and I didn’t have one so it didn’t cause a problem but if I had the gene also, it could have caused this syndrome in our children.  It is also important to know since our kids can have the recessive gene now and they need to be aware of this.  This shows up in their reports which we also have.

The last group is traits and shows things like the kind of ear wax you have (who knew there were two kinds), eye color, ability to taste bitter, tooth development, even things like breast size (typical, smaller, larger), etc.

We are waiting to get the ancestry results in and I will post when I get those.  Overall, I was pleased with the amount of  information I received.  Granted, it just tells you probabilities and if your chances are higher or lower than average but there some sort of peace in that information and it is just plain interesting.

If you found this helpful and choose to buy a kit, please do it through my referral link.

Stay tuned for more information.


How to know if you have an appendicitis: Symptoms

30 Jan

Disclaimer:  This is based on personal experience, I am not a medical professional and you should make your own decisions.

Well after my son’s appendectomy Sunday, I learned a lot about symptoms of appendicitis that I thought others  might find helpful.  When we were trying to decide if we should go to the hospital, I searched the web for information and although I found some, I learned more in the process and so I thought adding that knowledge to the web for others searching would be helpful.

I will start with our story and then summarize the information I learned.

My son is 16.  He has some special needs.  He came to us around 4 pm and said his side hurt.  We looked and didn’t see anything visible so we told him to let us know if it got worse.  Around 7:00, he said it still hurt.  I had him lie down on the couch and point to where it hurt.  It was low and on the right side.  Way low and way to the right, not in an area associated with a usual tummy ache and his other side didn’t bother him at all.  We felt his head and it felt warm.  His temp was 99.5.  Due to the location of the pain, we looked up appendicitis, it said the symptoms were:  temperature under 101, nausea and vomiting, and of course pain in the lower right side.  Since he had pain and barely a fever, we continued to wait – but it wasn’t long before his temp rose to 100.6 and he said he felt sick to his stomach.  That was enough for us to decide we were going to go to the ER.

At the ER, the check in lady didn’t really take us seriously as she wrote “abdominal pain,” and then we had to wait.  He was feeling terrible.  By the time we finally got called into triage, the check in lady said she needed his weight but he could barely walk and couldn’t stand any longer.  She didn’t seem to care about that but I was firm, he needed to sit first.  He asked for a bucket and Joe was going to give him the waste basket but the check in lady wanted him to have one of those pink trays, however, she couldn’t find one.  She said, “wait a minute,” and left the room to find one.  Right, let me wait to puke… not going to happen, while she was away, we grabbed the wastepaper basket and he started throwing up.  She eventually came back with a pink tray and switched that out, it seemed stupid, he was already using the waste basket!

Afterwards, she realized she wasn’t going to get his weight and maybe he had an appendicitis!  She got help and people started moving now that they were taking this seriously.  She got him into a room while she took his history from me.  Here are the other things that I didn’t know were also things to look for in an appendicitis:  it hurts to walk.  She asked him that and we told her yes, it was obvious, he couldn’t even stand!  There is also supposed to be rebound pain, when you push, it  hurts the the releasing of it causes more pain the the pushing.  He didn’t show this but he isn’t really good at differentiating that sort of stuff.  They put in an iv and gave him anti-nausea meds, both those things helped a lot.  They took his blood and it showed an elevated white blood count of 1700.  They were going to do a ct scan that would require him drinking 2 liters of contrast, waiting 1.5 hours for the contrast to get where it needed to go, doing the scan, and then waiting for the doctor to read it and it could give a false negative.  So, the ER doctor, who was great, called his  buddy at the hospital (we were at stand alone ER) and told us that with all his symptoms:  the location of the pain, the fever, the vomiting, his age (this is a common age for this), and his white blood count, he felt fairly certain it was an appendicitis and that we should go have the surgery.  We agreed and they transported him to the other hospital.

We arrived and had to wait until the surgeon was ready.  My son had intermittent pain and they gave him pain meds.  Finally, they took him in at 4:00 am.  We had went to the ER at 10:00 pm.  The surgery was done in 1 hour.  It was laproscopic.  He had 3 small cuts.  He didn’t wake up (from sleeping, not cuz of the surgery) until 2:00 pm the next day and we went home about 1 hour after he woke up.  He has been in mild pain and only takes Norco every once in a while.  They do use CO2 gas to blow everything up to see the organs and his stomach is bloated and he feels pain from that (which pain pills don’t help with).  He will stay home from school for 1 week.

The surgeon said his appendix was inflamed but not ruptured.  We had caught it early which I am really glad about.  Strange enough, my neighbors son also had an appendectomy last week but his ruptured and he has been in the hospital for over a week now.  This just shows you that you should not wait, if you have the signs, check it  out or the recovery can be sooo much harder, never mind life threatening.

So – if you are wondering – do I (or my child) have appendicitis?  Should we go to the ER?  Here are the symptoms to look for:

1.  Fever of 99-101 (I guess it could be higher if you have ruptured and it is really serious but at that point, you won’t be reading here, you will know you need to go!  If it is pre-rupture, usually the temp is on the lower side – my son was 99.6 and then 100.6).

2.  Pain in the lower right abdomen – it is pretty low, well below belly button.  The doctors say it can move and start out higher and then end up lower.  I asked my son if he had pain before he told us about it and he did say yes.  Also, check the rebound test – if the pain is worse after you release, head out to the hospital – but if not, that doesn’t mean it isn’t an appendicitis as my son didn’t really feel  it was worse.

3.  Nausea and/or vomiting – it was when we hit 3 symptoms that I decided that it might not just be a virus.  Remember that most stomach viruses are not accompanied by fever.

4.  Hurts to walk – I didn’t find this anywhere online but the doctors in the ER all asked this.  My son found lying down helped him a lot but walking made things much worse.’

5.  Raised white blood cells – of course, this has to be done at the doctor / ER to find out.

Also don’t wait until it ruptures, if you think you have these signs, get it checked out.  Dealing with a ruptured appendix is not something you want to deal with.  So, I hope this helps if you are looking for symptoms of appendicitis.


Posted in Medical


Stopping a severe bloody nose

30 Dec

My daughter (8 years 9 mo) is currently sick with a really bad cold and non stop cough.  The cold must have caused her nasal passages to be aggravated and she came down stairs with a bloody nose.  This was the WORST bloody nose we have ever seen!  The nose was bleeding like a faucet.  She threw up blood because she was swallowing it, she was spitting out blood constantly because it was in her mouth, and she was screaming because the blood was everywhere and wouldn’t stop coming like crazy!  We tried the usual things – putting pressure on the nose – it did nothing but fill towel after towel with blood in seconds.  My husband started to panic and put her in the car to take her to ER.  I called the doctors to see if I could find additional advice.  I was lucky to get a nurse right away, she said to put ice on the nose while putting pressure and we could wait 15 minutes as long as she wasn’t showing signs of an emergency – like getting faint, etc.  So, I wanted to try this before we went into the ER – we were already in the car but we got more towels, ice packs, and cooled her nose down and added more pressure on the site.  It slowed a little after about 3 minutes.  We took advantage and of that and went at it more with ice and pressure.  It would sometimes start up with a gush again when she would cough but I felt like we were ahead of it now.  We stayed with cooling the nose and putting pressure to clot it.  We let her spit constantly so she wouldn’t have to swallow the blood and wouldn’t need to throw up again.  Finally, it slowed more and then we got it to stop.  The whole event took about 20-25 minutes and it was scary, we saw a LOT of blood – and if the cooling and pressure hadn’t made any progress at all in 5-10 minutes, we would have been heading to the ER but I was pleased to see that staying calm and giving it time with ice and pressure did make a difference and my daughter is feeling much better now.

No Comments

Posted in Medical


Spinal Chord Stimulator Trial for Back Pain – Personal Experience Story

17 Sep

Location of Pain:  Some mid-back at T-12 and L-1; much at low back – belt line region, right side worse than left, and hips

Doctor:  Said that trial could reach as high as mid-back if programmed right plus low back

Trial is scheduled

Prior to Trial – 10 mg of Valium given (didn’t do too much for me, valium doesn’t have much effect on me)

Procedure – IV with antibiotics, no other sedation, local only used (lidocaine)

Lidocaine, of course, burns going in – she begins to cut through – it feels like she is using a cookie cutter, cutting through the layers of skin, going deeper and deeper.  After a bit, she reaches spots that is no longer numb and I tell her it hurts and she puts in more lidocaine.  This continues for quite a while until she is finally done and ready to put in the lead.  She puts it in and it feels a little uncomfortable but nothing bad until she gets high into my epidural space.  Then, as she pushes, it hurts (a fair amount).  If she pushes it really slowly, I do better.  She gets to T7 and said that is about as high as she can probably get.

They hook me up to the stimulator and I feel tingling (stimulation or stim for short) in my legs.  Only on one side though, she says, she will need two leads.  They begin the process on the other side.

This side is even more painful.  As they push the lead up, she says that it keeps going to the side – “doing what it wants” rather than what she wants.  She decides that is the best they will get and hooks up the stimulator again.

Now I can feel the stimulation in both legs.  They tape me up and send me next door to work with the reps from St. Jude.

We begin to work with the programming.  The sensation is very similar to a TENS unit.  They turn it on and ask me – where do I feel it?  How strong is it?  We do this for hundreds of settings.

Each time, the answer is usually the same.  In my right leg or in my left leg… mild or medium or strong or TURN THAT DOWN!  Sometimes from my knee down to my foot, sometimes from the top of my leg to my knee, sometimes from the top of my leg to my foot.  Sometimes more on the insides of my legs.  About 5X we got in my stomach.  Another 5X we got in my sides.  Of course each time it was in my stomach or sides, my legs were also stimulated and my leg stim was always twice as strong as any other area stimulated!

We never got any stim in my back, ever!!!  We only once got a small amount of stim in my hips and it was only a small amount and my leg stim was so uncomfortable in order to get the small amount of stim in my hips that I would never use the hip stim.

The reps thought maybe it was all the lidocaine the doctor used.  So they sent me home to try the one program they got with the hips in it and said we could try more the next day.  I went home.  I tried 4X that night but all were the same, the hip stim was very very light and the leg stim was overwhelming.  I was also quite sore from the procedural pain.

I went back the next day and we tried another hour + of programming.  It was the same,  all leg stim and no back stim.  Then they start explaining away why this happens – because all the leg nerves go straight up and to get the back nerves you would need to be farther out …. well, if you knew my legs had no pain and my pain was in my back – why didn’t my leads get placed further out to begin with?  They suggest a second trial with the leads further apart… or maybe further up… or maybe a surgical trial with this new Penta lead that is supposed to better isolate the back.  They tell about a woman who had the same situation as me (couldn’t get back stim and was going in for the surgical trial the next day).  They promise to keep me informed on how she does with her second trial.  They were nice but I felt that none of this was really thought out or discussed/explained BEFORE my trial.

We decided the trial was a failure but my doctor was behind and couldn’t remove the leads for 2 more days.  So, I went home without the stimulator device but wires still hanging out of my back and appointment for 2 days later to remove them.

That night, the pain started, right inside my back where the leads were.  Searing pain ripped through me whenever I moved, especially if I put any weight on my right foot.  I took extra pain pills and hoped to make it until Thursday as my doctor doesn’t come in on Wednesdays.  I woke up Wednesday morning and the pain was worse.  Walking was very difficult.  The pain, if I moved the wrong way, was a 9.  My legs were occasionally feeling numb.  I knew something was not right with the leads.  I called the office and tried to communicate that I really needed to be seen even though my doctor doesn’t come in on Wednesdays.  She was nice enough to come in and see me, thankfully, as I don’t know what I would have been like if I had to wait another 24 hours.

The leads are supposed to just slide right out.  She said, mine did not and she had to tug on it some.  I am not surprised.  It also hurt as she did that because obviously something was NOT RIGHT in there.  I don’t know what or why but my nerves were very irritated from these leads, especially (of course) my right side!  I was still very sore after they were removed but could put weight on my right foot again so I knew that once they recovered from the irritation, all should be well again.

I am 2 days out from that, still taking extra pain pills, still tender and sore and but better than I was.  The woman who did the second surgical lead trial did not have success getting stim in her back.  I told my doctor that was NOT doing another trial, no spinal chord stimulator for me!

So – if you are considering – unless you need it for LEG pain – don’t bother – it is only really good for those who want their legs under constant stimulation.  It is not for back pain and should not be considered for back pain!  Even if you get lucky enough to get some back relief, it won’t be without having your legs stimulated as well – which to me was very annoying.

This was not what I had hoped it would be 🙁  And in the end caused me more pain and trauma than good!

No Comments

Posted in Medical


Stomach Viruses – No Fever Needed

26 Apr

I will admit that I have a phobia of vomiting. So – I am very very careful to limit contact with viruses that cause the stomach flu.  The stomach flu is very contagious and often misunderstood and therefore many families take there children out in public or send them to school / daycare when they are contagious, thus causing more people to get sick. Most of the time, when a child has a stomach virus, they do not have a fever.  It is more common to not have a fever with vomiting or diarrhea than it is to have a fever.  In fact, if your child is throwing up WITH a fever, I would consider that it is possible they might have something other than just a stomach virus.  Often children with strep throat will throw up and have a fever with strep throat.  Even appendicitis has the symptoms of pain, vomiting, and fever.  If your child just throws up once and then can eat a meal right after and keeps it down, it was probably something they ate.  However, too many people often think that no fever with vomiting = something they eat.  If your child throws up multiple times and isn’t eating (or if they eat and then vomit again), it is most likely the stomach virus – even with no fever.   Tylenol will not prevent illness either, one mom told me she gave her child tylenol so they wouldn’t get sick.  Tylenol works as a pain and fever reducer, it doesn’t work to prevent illness.  Antibiotics also won’t work with a stomach virus.  All viruses cannot be helped by antibiotics.  Only bacterial infections (strep throat, certain types of pneumonia, sinus infections, bronchitis) can be helped with antibiotics.  So asking for antibiotics when your child is throwing up from a stomach virus probably won’t get you anywhere.  A doctor would only prescribe it if they thought the vomiting was stemming from a bacterial infection such as strep throat, for example.  Using too many antibiotics when not needed will make you resistant to them when you do need them, so you only want to take them when truly needed.

Tylenol brings fever down. Even if you have a fever and use Tylenol to bring down the fever – please know that you or your child is still sick.  It is not “polite” to give them Tylenol to bring down the fever and then send them to school until the Tylenol wears off and the school calls you.  You are then infecting all the other kids who come in contact with your child.  Also know that Tylenol (or Motrin) treats symptoms, not the illness.   Another consideration is this – unless the fever makes you very uncomfortable – LEAVE IT ALONE – a fever is your body’s natural way of fighting the virus or infection. Your body raises the temperature to help kill the bad stuff. By taking Tylenol, you are slowing down the help your body is trying to do for you. A fever is your friend … yes, if you are MISERABLE with really high fever, get some help … but if it is that bad, the Tylenol won’t even make your temp go to normal. However, if you can deal with the fever or your child isn’t miserable (by the way, sleeping is not miserable – it is good and will help your child get better sooner) – let the fever help fight the illness.

The “Flu” – the regular flu (the virus that we get offered vaccines for each fall/winter) is almost always accompanied by a fever. If you think you have the flu and you don’t have a fever, you probably don’t have the flu (but with that said, you can still have the flu without fever – it just isn’t that common). Flu is fever with cold like symptoms and lots of fatigue and usually your body aches. The flu happens most often between October – March – with the highest chances around January and February most years. Flu usually lasts for at least a week and then kind of lingers. But note that the STOMACH FLU (see below) is not the “THE FLU.” We call it the stomach flu but it is not the influenza virus.

The STOMACH FLU –  (this is not really a flu.)  It is a virus that causes vomiting, diarrhea, and usually lasts under 12 hours. This is when you start feeling sick – are throwing up every hour or so – and after a few hours (sometimes just a couple to up to 12 – longer if it is a nasty case of Rotavirus) start to feel better. You have to eat slowly to get your stomach used to food again. This virus does not cause a fever in most people. So – if you or your child throws up multiple times in a few hour span but doesn’t have a fever – they most likely have the stomach flu and should not be around other people. Don’t think that if they don’t have a fever – it must just be “something they ate.” Most of the time, it is not something they ate (in all my life, I have had the stomach bug multiple times and only ONCE was it from “something I ate.”). If they vomit only once and they can eat fine – then they probably are not sick.   Do they need to go see the doctor? In most cases, not unless they are dehydrated or have other symptoms that suggest it might be more than the stomach flu. The best way to treat a stomach flu is to let the stomach rest for at least 2 hours after vomiting then start with small sips (like a tablespoon) of water.  Give the sip every 20 minutes, if after an hour, no vomiting occurred, increase the sips to twice as much, still every 20 minutes.  Don’t over do how much liquid you give or the child will just vomit again.  Once the child can drink and hold down liquids for a few hours, if they are hungry (and only if), they should start with some simple crackers or toast, small amounts and wait and hour in between.  Go slow and if tolerated, you can increase it.  They should stay home for at least 24 hours after vomiting and be really good about washing their hands after using the bathroom.  They can still shed the virus for 2 weeks after being sick.  Be respectful.  Don’t inflict that on others! Don’t send them to school if they are still sick- don’t take them into Walmart while they are sick and remember they are still somewhat contagious even once they are better. If your child is sick – if you are sick – please STAY HOME! These viruses are VERY contagious. Did you know that they can also live on surfaces in your house for 2 weeks or more? So, if your child is sick and a week later when your child has been well for 6 days – they have a friend come over – if you missed a spot when cleaning – or maybe you didn’t go nuts with bleach like I do after someone in my house is sick – well, that friend could catch it! Yes, a week later – at your house – long after your child has been well!

So – to summarize…

Antibiotics only work on bacterial infections – colds, stomach bugs, and the flu are not bacterial!

The FLU is the regular winter flu – it generally does not cause vomiting – and usually does have a fever but is different from the Stomach Flu!

The STOMACH FLU – or STOMACH BUG – usually does not a fever – that is the norm. If your child throws up multiple times, it probably isn’t just something they ate.

DON’T probably don’t need to rush to the ER and doctors as soon as your child throws up in most cases – the doctor will tell you “your child has a stomach virus – gradually increase liquids, don’t let them dehydrate and put them on a bland diet (BRAT diet) until they feel better. However, trust your gut and if you feel your child seems very sick or listless, always be cautious and make the trip.

DON’T take your child out in public when they are sick! Think of others.  And remember that the virus can live in your house for weeks!!!

One last thing? How can I stop the Stomach Flu? The obvious answer is hand washing (lots of it!) especially before eating!!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and this advice is based on medical fact about viruses and bacterial illnesses as well as personal experiences of a mother of four.


Lasik Eye Surgery

13 Jun


Today was the day of my Lasik surgery procedure. Before I begin to discuss today’s events let me share what led me to decide on Lasik. I started wearing glasses at age 15 and quickly switched to contacts because I didn’t care for glasses. My eyesight would get a little worse each year. By the time of surgery, it was at -3.75 and -4 for each of my eyes. I was very nearsighted although I know that my poor eyesight falls in the more moderate range than severe. Still, I couldn’t see or read anything in front of me unless I was on top of it.

I had wanted to get Lasik done but the cost was the main reason why I didn’t pursue it. The procedure itself seemed quite daunting. The thought of someone working on my eyes was nerve-wracking but I chose to think of the outcome and not focus on the procedure. I asked around and found every single person who had the procedure done was thrilled and raved about it. Most said the procedure wasn’t bad at all and the end results were fantastic.

I didn’t do too much research on doctors; I used the one whom my insurance gave a discount for. In the office, however, I was very impressed with Dr. Dornic at the Laser Eye Center in Cary. I read all of his patient reviews while waiting for my consultation and everyone had wonderful things to say about the doctor so I felt very good about that.

The initial consultation was free. They took some pictures of my eyes and measured the strength of my glasses. The doctor looked in my eyes and told me that I was a candidate for regular Lasik and Custom, or Wavefront, Lasik. Regular Lasik was cheaper – at $1249 per eye with the insurance discount. It boasted an 85% chance of 20/20 vision. It used your accounts of lenses to determine how to shape your eye. Basically it is done the same way they determine what prescription lens to use. The custom approach is more expensive at $1649 per eye. It uses a machine to determine how to laser your eyes. It gives a much more accurate picture of your eye and therefore the adjustments made are more precise leading to better vision. They boast a 98% chance of 20/20 vision or better with a high probability of improved night vision as well.

Since I was already paying for the procedure, I decided that I might as well pay for the best and chose the Wavefront approach. The office scheduled a pre-op appointment for me and told me to stop wearing contacts for a week before the appointment. It was terrible having to wear glasses for a week when you are not used to it. The pre-op appointment was no different than a regular eye doctor examination. It took about an hour and they had to dilate my eyes.

The next morning I arrived for my procedure. I signed some consent forms and made a down payment for services. Next I was given 5 mg of Valium and some antibiotic eye drops. After 15 minutes I felt nothing from the Valium so they gave me an additional 5-mg. To be honest, it still didn’t have that much affect. I was a little more relaxed but I didn’t feel drugged in any way. They did a total of 3 sets of the antibiotic drops and I headed into the laser room.

They showed me what the sound of the laser would be like and told me what was going to happen. They gave me a stuffed monkey to hold onto during the procedure – it was kind of funny at first but in the end I was glad to have the monkey! They taped one of my eyes with a black shield so I couldn’t see out of that eye. Next they taped my upper and lower eyelashes on the eye they are going to work on. They gave me numbing drops in my eye and finally put the eye speculum in to hold my eye open. I was really worried about that part but it wasn’t bothersome at all. They put more drops in to wash out my eye and then put this suction cup on my eye. I felt pressure and it was weird but it really wasn’t bad. When they do that, however you totally lose your vision until you can kind of make out this blinking orange light that you are supposed to look at.

The next step is to cut into your eye to make a flap. This was where I was glad to have the monkey. I guess my eye wasn’t as numb as it should have been and it hurt (and I was squeezing George the Monkey) – not like labor pains or anything but it wasn’t fun either. Luckily it was only for a few seconds. The next part is weird, the doctor lifts up the flap and suddenly everything is really blurry and strange looking. The laser then starts and I could actually smell my eye being burned away. The laser doesn’t hurt at all. It only takes about a minute tops and then they put the flap back down and you can see again. At this time the doctor sponges your flap to smooth it out and lets it air dry for 2 minutes. One eye is done!

For the next eye the procedure was the same but I was nervous because of the pain I felt during the slicing of my first eye. After the numbing drops, the doctor was touching my eye and I could feel it – I began thinking – okay if I can feel him now (which I couldn’t with the last eye) what is it going to be like when he slices the eye. So, I spoke up and they put more drops in. That turned out to be great, as I didn’t feel the pain with the slicing this time. The second eye was much easier since I had been through it and knew what to expect plus I didn’t have the pain that I had with the first eye.

Despite the few seconds of pain – I would do it all again in a heartbeat – it isn’t even supposed to hurt – they just didn’t get my eye numb enough. So, if you are considering the procedure – don’t let my experience convince you not to do it – it wasn’t that big of a deal. I had more pain closing a door on my finger than during the procedure and that pain lasted a lot longer!

After the procedure, they moved me to an exam room and put some more drops to lubricate my corneas and told me to keep my eyes closed. The doctor checked my flap and then did another laser patient. After that patient, he checked my flap again and gave me more drops. By now my eyes were burning so they gave me more numbing drops. They taped plastic shields to my eyes and gave me sunglasses to wear over them and sent me home.

Joe drove me home and I went to bed. I would have thought after all that and 2 Valium I would be tired but I wasn’t. The burning in my eyes kept getting worse and worse and I will admit it was very uncomfortable. I was also tearing a lot and that was uncomfortable too. Any light made the tearing worse. So I ended up taking an Ambien, 2 Tylenol, 2 Motrin, and putting 2 bandannas over my eyes to keep all the light out. I finally got knocked out and slept for about 5 hours. When I woke up I felt a ton better. The burning was gone and the tearing was less. I could take off the bandannas and glasses and walk around. My eyesight immediately after surgery was still quite blurry – although less blurry than when I was without contacts or glasses. As the day has gone on, it is without a doubt improving. I took another nap this evening and again woke feeling even better. I can obviously see to type this, can read the guide on the TV, and can see things fairly clearly even with these shields on my eyes. I am anxious to wake up tomorrow and take them off. The pain is gone, I feel very mild scratchiness and they feel somewhat dry but overall I am doing really well.

Tomorrow I start using drops three times a day and have my post op visit with the doctor to check my vision. If you are considering Lasik surgery, I would have to say – do it! I think I am going to be really happy with the results.

One Day Post-Op: I woke up and took the shields off. My eyesight was very good. It did vary some during the day – sometimes it was very clear, other times a little blurry. They didn’t really hurt at all but they did feel tired and it helped to rest my eyes throughout the day. I went to see the doctor and he said my flap was healing fine and my vision was 20/20 in one eye and 20/25 in the other eye – with both eyes I was seeing 20/20. The doctor said that my eyesight will continue to get better as my eyes heal. The ‘side effects’ I have are: 1) the variation in my eyesight throughout the day 2) I can’t read really close up right now, I have to hold the paper back a little bit 3) I do see the halos around lights at night and 4) Occasionally, my eyes will burn a little or feel dry. Still all of the above is minimal and I am told that they will go away. I am thrilled with the results. I see the doctor again at 6 days post-op.

One Week Post-Op: My eyes are healing good. I have less fluctuation in my eyesight. I am still seeing 20/20 with slight nearsightedness of -.5 in each eye. I asked about the fact that seeing things close up is still difficult and here was what the doctor said – since I wasn’t using the muscles in my eyes before for reading (the nearsightedness compensated for that)the eye muscles didn’t develop. So now that I don’t have the nearsightedness anymore, I will need to develop the muscles in my eyes. As that happens my ability to see close up will improve. He said 1-6 months. He also said the same time frame for the halos at night to go away. So the few “problems” I am having are common and will go away. He did say that after 40, people are not usually able to develop the muscles due to aging but I shouldn’t have a problem at 36.

One Month Post-Op: It has been one month since my surgery. My eyes are great! I saw the doctor today and I have 20/20 in both eyes. He checked my ‘nearsightedness’ that was at -.5 last time and it was at 0 today – perfect eyesight! I can now read close up without any problems except for ultra tiny print. The halos are going away. I don’t do drops except 3 times a day and my eyes don’t really feel that dry. The surgery was a total success. I am enjoying the freedom of not having to worry about contacts or glasses. It is amazing!

No Comments

Posted in Medical



13 Jun

My Tale of a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy – October 2008

Let’s start off from the beginning.  I started having VERY (and I won’t be graphic but I mean VERY) heavy periods and bad cramping.  I went to a local GYN doctor and he examined me, did a pap and ordered an ultrasound and endometrial biopsy.  From the exam he said my uterus seemed a bit enlarged.  The ultrasound showed 1 small fibroid (probably not the cause of my bleeding) and a thickened endometrial lining.  After much reading on the internet, I was told by MANY women that an in-office (with just Motrin for pain) endometrial biopsy was EXCRUTIATING.  I told the doctor that I just couldn’t do it awake.  He told me that my pap had come back abnormal so he would refer me to a GYN Oncologist anyway.

At GYN Oncology, I was examined again and got conflicting information from the 2 doctors – but she did agree to do a cervical biopsy (for the abnormal pap), a D&C (and get my endometrial biopsy that way), and a hysteroscopy (looking inside the uterus with a camera) under general anesthesia and then we would proceed from there.

I  went to same day surgery for that and tolerated things very well.  The worst was that the anesthesia guy couldn’t do an IV to save his life.  It took 4 attempts with Lidocane that was quite painful.  Post surgery, I woke up nicely, bleeding was minimal, and I went home.  I was up and about within a couple days, just taking it easy.

The pathology results came in and all was clear of cancer!  Thank God!  So, the doctor referred me back to a regular (but different – I wasn’t going back to doctor #1 as he was terrible) GYN doctor.  I chose to cancel that and go see my GYN doctor from 12 years ago because she is the most amazing person and doctor.  She had delivered my 12 year old son back when she was doing both OB and GYN.

She told me all of my options:  Birth control pills, Depo Provera shots, IUD, ablation, and hysterectomy.  I gave it a lot of thought and decided that the hysterectomy was the best choice for me as it was a guarantee to fix my problems, the other solutions may or may not have worked and I did not want to be back dealing with all of this again in a year.

We scheduled the surgery quickly.  Two days prior to surgery I had to do a bowel prep.  I drank Magnesium Citrate (Cherry).  The dose said 6.5-10 oz for an adult.  I went with the 6.5 oz.  The stuff was nasty and one more sip would have made it all come up.  It took 7 hours to work and I went about 15 times (didn’t get sore but did use baby wipes).  I was on an all liquid diet at this point too.  The next morning I had 2 more episodes of diarrhea.  I didn’t eat much that day just 1 milkshake and  a bowl of cream of chicken soup broth.  I took 2 days of antibiotics and 4 days of acidophilus.

We got up at 4:30 am to leave at 5:00 so we would be at the hospital at 5:30am.  We then waited without much interaction from the hospital staff for 2 hours.  I did get an IV (one stick, yeah) during that time.  I had a terrible headache from not eating so they let me take 2 Tylenol with a sip of water.  It helped a lot.

Finally they came in at 7:30 and gave me a dose of “happy meds” in my IV.  I don’t remember anything after that until I woke up.  Waking up was HARD.  My incision site was VERY painful.  I remember asking for pain meds and going back to sleep.  Apparently they want you to breathe while sleeping though – which apparently I was not doing.  The nurse said no more IV pain meds until I could remember to breathe!  I tried and was somewhat more successful.

Once I got stabilized with pain meds, I was still very sore but better.  I had to go to the bathroom (the cath was taken out before I woke).  The first bathroom trip was in a wheel chair, painful, and not too rewarding (just a small amount that burned when it came out.)  I felt very weak and sore after the trip.

I got back and bed and kept dozing off.  My throat was very sore from being intubated.  I asked for a popsicle and felt much better after having one.  The sugar and the cold was helpful.  That was when things started getting better for me.  It was slow but now that I was on top of the pain meds, the sharp pains in my incisions weren’t as bad.  I had one bout of feeling like I would throw up but that quickly passed once I was lying down in my bed.  I had to use the bathroom again and  had a nice “normal” event and “passed” my tests including walking to the bathroom.

The nurse wanted to start me on oral pain meds but wanted me to eat a cracker or two first.  She gave me a package of Graham Crackers.  The problem was that my mouth was SOOOOO dry (I had a patch of med behind my ear to also help with nausea and it makes your mouth turn into Cotton Mouth) that I couldn’t eat the cracker with a sip of liquid for each bite.  I finally got the cracker down and she gave me liquid Lortab (ughhh, nasty tasting stuff!).    Once that kicked in, I felt really good, only mildly sore.  I walked to the bathroom a third time (they used up 3 liters of IV solution!) and did well.  I told them I was ready to go home.

My doctor came and talked to me.  She said my uterus was quite large and she thought I was going to feel so much better once I healed.

At 1:30 pm (6 hours from start to discharge) we went home.  I was comfortable on the way home but did have to stop once to use a bathroom AGAIN!!!  They told me to stay on top of the pain pills (taking Percocet) and the nausea meds.  We got home at 2 pm, I took 1 nausea pill and by 3 pm I was in a lot of pain from the incision site again – I was supposed to wait until 4:30 for the pain pills but couldn’t do it and took it early.  I have been doing great since.  I haven’t even had to nap.  Just typing on the computer, talking to my kids, and still going to the bathroom a TON.  There is no bleeding (a tiny bit of brown discharge sometimes).  I have 3 incisions.  One is in my belly button and one on either side.  The left side is the one that hurts, it is bigger (about 2 inches) and is where they had to take the uterus out from.  She did my LEEP, removing a cone of tissue from my cervix and stitched it up.  I weigh 6 pounds more than I did this morning when I weighed myself, all water weight.  I am hungry, awake, and in no pain as long a I don’t move a lot and stay on the pain pills.  My doctor said that Thursday and Friday will be harder days as my insides “wake up” from the anesthesia.

No Comments

Posted in Medical