Eppiglottitis: Do I Dare Ask How We Fared?

Fellow eppiglottitis sufferers, you KNOW what I am talking about, don’t you?   How WAS your Winter? I know it’s still July but I am already on high alert just anticipating the cooler temperatures approaching.

This murderess, inexplicable disease comes quickly from one day to another landing at any time, in one very specific place, beyond the throat, with no warning whatsoever.  All the patients are sure of is at least ten to fourteen days of hell and the most excruciating pain we have ever felt. Am I wrong?

Acute catarrhal pharyngitis. The oropharynx is...I just crossed my fingers so I will not jinx anybody, including MYSELF. Many people have written and asked me about this disease and while I have always followed up on each e-mail, now I want to ask how everyone did this Winter? I narrowly escaped it this year but I’m sure it’s on my To Do: List for this Fall. It’s hard to believe that you would be lucky twice in a row.

Does anyone care to share?  All “jinxes” are off and if they are on, I will be the one to get it because I initiated this damn blog. We share the same, horrifying experience, we feel the same excruciating pain and for all the pills to swallow and liquid to gargle it takes a long time to even feel the beginning of recovery.

pillsAs I mentioned in my earlier blog, “Calling Eppiglottitis A Bitch Is A Vast Understatement” the first time it happened, my ENT scoped me and said out loud “How the hell did you get THAT?” My answer, in my head, was “isn’t that your job, Bozo?” Which of course I didn’t say (basically because it was too painful to talk.)

Worst. Pain. Ever. Childbirth is like a little cramp compared to this misery of hell. There are no pain pills that can keep up. Literally, none. Be thankful if you can still breathe and get yourself to the Emergency Room ASAP.

It starts as a simple, little sore throat and then our alarm bells are on alert…we are always aware that this could be an invitation to the deadly Eppiglottitis instead of just a regular old-fashioned cold. If a sore throat lasts more than a few days/ gets progressively worse, I haul my behind to the ENT where he will insert a tube (sorry) through my nose to look at the usually ulcerated gap beyond where the throat lies.

Swallowing is torture. Pure torture. I did read of a trick that, while it may sound disgusting, has a definite advantage: don’t swallow. How, you ask? Lie on your stomach and have a spit bowl. Next time I have it I am definitely trying that. What could be worse than that razor blade swallow. Nothing.

Also, get your behind to an infectious disease specialist, I have never been but I plan to go the next time this horrible disease stops by to visit.

Person washing his hands

I hope you have a wonderful  rest of the summer and do keep in touch with me in the Fall and of course in the dreaded Winter. Keep washing your hands as much as you can (it will make YOU feel better) but no matter what you will get through it if it should creep up on you again. Trust me, I know.

 

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Eppiglottitis, Esophagus, Hernia? HELP!

Cirugìa de hiato, HERNIA PARA ESOFAGICA

Cirugìa de hiato, HERNIA PARA ESOFAGICA (Photo credit: Antonio@GDL)

Last week I went for the dreaded barium test (forgive me if I gag just thinking about it) although it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I imagined slugging  the entire thick, chalky mess down in two or three large gulps and finishing it but that was not the case. Luckily it was more like take two sips and swallow. This type was not even that thick. It’s not that I would order it in a restaurant but it was manageable. I highly recommend the radiologist who was soothing and comforting and told me “it wasn’t a big deal.” Thank you.

When I finished Dr. Radiologist came out and told me I had a hernia in my esophagus. Huh? Yes I had a hernia in my esophagus which was fairly common and probably could account for me swallowing the wrong way, quite often and coughing a lot. But, oh, my epiglottitis followers, what automatically came to mind??? There has to be a connection between the eppiglottitis and esophagus hernia, no? It seemed genius to me. Could this be a clue in solving the mysteriously painful illness that we know so much about? Of course I thought I was brilliant and could tell my people (YOU, my fellow eppiglottitis sufferers)  that we could prevent eppiglottits in the future but sadly that is not the case as far as I know.

I have an appointment scheduled with my ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist) on Monday and yes, I will beg him for a correlation even though I’m pretty sure there isn’t one. I just wanted to give all of us some hope. If there is ANY I will post the results on Monday, I PROMISE. Wouldn’t you think there would be a connection? I mean it does sound nutty enough.

Leave it to me to have the weird diagnosis, but believe me I am NOT complaining. With all the testing that they did, I am gloriously happy that the only thing wrong with me is this hernia. After losing forty pounds, having digestive issues (really bad digestive issues) and looking gaunt and pale as a ghost, I can cheerfully deal with this. I’m having a colonoscopy in a few weeks, maybe an endoscopy is needed as well? I have no idea. But if there is any hope of a connection between the dreaded eppiglottitis and this hernia in my esophagus, I want to be the first to tell you. And, you know I will. Let’s keep the faith although even I know the odds are against us. Let’s wish each other LUCK. We need it.

Eppiglottitis: Dear Innocent Souls, YES, You Can Get It Again. (I Should Know) 4/2013

English: Title: Torture Chamber of the Inquisi...

English: Title: Torture Chamber of the Inquisition. From ‘A Complete History of the Inquisition’, Westminster, London 1736 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The plight of those of us who have suffered from Eppiglottitis, an illnesses/virus/ torture/infection has gotten way with too much pain already and NOT just in the United States. People from many countries around the world share the pain. I know that for sure. There are searches for Epiglottitis on my blog, always. Today there was a search, from some poor, innocent soul who asked: “Eppiglottitis, is it possible to get it twice?” Oh, dear one, I just want to give you a great big hug and plant gentle kisses on the top of your sweet, innocent head.

Yes, you can get it again. In my blog I have written about the two times I had Eppiglottitis and how I wanted to beg, borrow or steal major pain killers from hospitals, doctors or become a gangster and hang out in the streets to score illegal drugs (okay not really ). People really do not understand the amount of pain that this  illness brings and frankly, unless your ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat, Doctor) has had it, they don’t know a thing about how painful it is either. Not for one second. The only people who know are the people who have had it or are going through it now. Do I smell the beginning of a support group?

What does it feel like? It’s like taking a scalding steak knife and searing your huge, ugly, raw open wound, repeatedly (obviously with no anaesthesia) over and over again. It is impossible to swallow because the pain is so excruciating but really what choice do we have? The last time I had it I was on a cocktail of medicines, steroids, a throat rinse, antibiotics and whatever else they threw at me but what I needed was a morphine drip and a sleeping medicine that lasted a solid week. I wish.

When I couldn’t stand the pain anymore I dragged my body to the medical group, to the ENT offices before they opened and BEGGED for someone to see me. I was in so much pain that I was crying and I looked like all hell, pale, distraught, helpless and hopeless. This is not something I would normally ever do. I was so grateful that they let me go sit in the office chair, who knows, maybe they were afraid of me. I WAS afraid of me. When the doctor came in, he scoped me, which requires putting a tiny tube through your nose to see beyond your throat. He literally gasped and said “How the hell did you get THAT?” I was not in the mood for rhetorical questions nor was I feeling combative. I just wanted him to tell me how on earth to get rid of this demon that had taken up residence in my body.

Apparently it’s not common to get and very difficult to get rid of, I live in fear of getting it again and I assure you, every Fall I think about it when the weather turns chilly although I am sure I could get it at anytime. Another doctor suggested that if I get it again to go see an Infectious Disease Doctor in addition to my ENT. Great, that’s what we need, to waste more time in doctor’s offices waiting to be treated. I’d rather check into Rehab so I could become a drug addict for pain relief until it healed.

I’m here for support, questions and comments. I am not a medical doctor, no, I’m better. I’m a patient who knows exactly what you are going through. Ask away or just complain, it’s not anything I haven’t complained about already.

Begging For A Diagnosis

Sad Little Girl

Sad Little Girl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found myself in the waiting room of my Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist this afternoon actually praying for an inner ear infection. Yes, that’s what I said. I was praying for a diagnosis that would be fixed with a quick supply of an antibiotic, preferably a Z-pack. Done! No such luck. My ears have hurt me on and off for weeks. This was the second time I had been to the doctor in two months. Not only did my ears hurt but my entire face, under my eyes, my head, my forehead, my entire body was aching, as if I had the flu but I knew I didn’t.

Please, I groaned to myself, let me have an ear infection, or a throat infection, even eppiglottis, the dreaded disease that I have received so much mail about when I posted a blog about it. (* Calling Eppiglottitis A Bitch Is A Vast Understatement) Even that I could take if I have a diagnosis but no, my throat was fine, my ears were “perfect” I felt like I was five years old, alone, horrible and to the doctor I looked “good.” I’ve felt worse and worse and I don’t know why. The doctor told me it was probably my Fibromyalgia/TMJ……Nothing I didn’t know already. “Gee, I’m sorry,” he said “wish I could do more.” He patted me on my shoulder as he stared at my breasts and promised to call in a prescription strength type of Advil (which, he never did.)

My only hope is that I have my physical next week with my Internist ( a woman who does not even BELIEVE in Fibromyalgia) but at least she can run some blood tests and send them to my Rheumatologist. This is SO FRUSTRATING. Everyone just wants to throw different drugs at me and I don’t really want to take them. Take this, says the Rheumatologist and this, says the ENT,  but you need energy so take this, and there is nothing for pain so just live with it. I am tired of living with it and I can’t discuss this with my sister (or even have her READ THIS ENTRY) because it is not a safe topic for us. We can talk about many things, this is not one of them. Unless she can give me concrete examples of what exactly she would like me to try and how I can pay for it.

All I know is that I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia for six years now and after it got better, it has now gotten worse. Does Fibromyalgia get worse? Is this something new? Can I live like this? Is it the weather? An anxiety attack? I feel so vulnerable and so lousy that I cried in the waiting room from feeling so poorly.  I noticed a father with his teenage daughter; I missed my father who would have known how to kid me like that father did. I missed mine so desperately. Do emotions come to play in all of this? I think it’s probably all of the above and none of it is pretty. Not for me, not today, not until I feel better. I’m complaining, in writing. I should just shut up.

*https://hibernationnow.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/calling-epiglo…understatement