Doctors & Hospitals

Pleurisy … Again

Dear Diary,

It’s been one heck of a time for about three weeks now. I’m battling pleurisy—again. The Lupus is causing some very painful inflammation in my lungs and difficulty breathing. It seems like I never really got over the bronchitis, maybe.

It all happened last Thursday when Hubby had to take me to the ER. I woke up that morning after a very bad night of pain. Unable to lie down flat or take a deep breath without having excruciating chest pain.

They hooked me up to oxygen and an IV, always preparing to rule out another pulmonary embolism or any other life-threatening possibilities. Thankfully, those were ruled out. And after all the tests, they gave me Dilaudid, a very strong painkiller. It felt like a freight train running through my veins. In fact, the guy nurse told me to brace myself, while he tried to release the drug as slowly as he could. I stayed there for a few hours while the drug took over my mind and body. I have to say, though, that it made the pain only bearable. I could still feel the pain, even with that powerful drug.

Anyway, the doctor came in and told me that they suspected it was a recurrence of the pleurisy that I get from time to time. What triggered it this time is anybody’s guess, he said. If this is anything like the last few times, it’s going to take weeks to recover from it.

They suggested that I follow up with my internist as well as my cardiologist to rule out any cardiac involvement. I was able to see both of them rather quickly earlier this week.

My cardiologist preliminarily confirmed the ER’s diagnosis, but scheduled an echocardiogram just to be sure. This was my first time seeing this particular cardiologist, although I had been seen at this practice before. He said, “Wow, you have a great attitude given everything you’re facing.” I told him that I had to. It was the only way to live life with a chronic illness.

My internist’s response to the ER follow up was to yell at me and tell me that “this [the pain] is what Lupus does!” As if I were wasting her time. I left her office feeling defeated and exhausted. Doesn’t she know the amount of energy it takes for me to just get to her office? I certainly didn’t want to get there to be abused. I suppose it hurt most because I do like her very much. She’s the one who suspected Lupus in the first place. I chalked it up to her having a bad day.

She asked me to follow up with her during my regularly scheduled six-month appointment, which happens to be about a month away. Hopefully, she’ll be in a better mood.



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