When Medicine is Mean, It’s a Pain

Phil, my husband, is a medical marvel. He’s battled many, MANY illnesses, and if he hasn’t won the battles, he has survived them. I’m fairly savvy about medicine and medical issues, not because I am a medical professional, but because I’ve been enrolled in the Medical School of Phil for over 43 years.

The courses can be tough, with a high failure rate (I haven’t always been as sympathetic as I should have been). Some of Phil’s illnesses have required surgery, surgeries have been botched, and led to additional illnesses. They’re always uncommon illnesses with really difficult to pronounce names (his physician struggled to pronounce Poly Arteritis Nodosa during our visit yesterday). Phil worked in uranium mills in the mid 1970s, so some of his illnesses may be related to that. Some of his illnesses may run in his family, but if so, they have only caught up with him. Regardless of who or what the plague (one of the only illnesses he’s avoided) of illnesses are related to, they’ve found a domicile with Phil. He would love to evict them all, but his many attempts have been unsuccessful.

Week before last, he was diagnosed with pneumonia, and spent the night in the hospital. He was pumped full of IV antibiotic, and sent home with a prescription for a VERY powerful antibiotic to be taken orally for six days. We’ve been sent home with prescriptions before, and because it was a way to get out of the hospital, we were happy to take them and run.

This time, it didn’t work out so well. Phil who is a kidney transplant recipient, and who takes large daily doses of steroids for another weird, torturous, illness (Bullous Pemphigoid), started experiencing wide-spread tendon pain on about the fourth day of the antibiotics. We decided to read up on the med, and found that patients who are transplant recipients and who are on long-term steroid therapy, can develop wide-spread tendonitis (to the point where tendons actually rupture) and a whole lot of other not nice things when taking antibiotics in the Fluoroquinolone family. WHAT? We should have read that medication information sheet more carefully; however, when we have read them carefully, and brought up concerns in the past, we have been quickly pooh-poohed and told that of course we don’t understand because we haven’t gone to medical school. With the exception of “The Medical School of Phil,” this is true. The thing is, Phil has suffered (not alone, because illness-related suffering tends to impact entire families) from so many, and such diverse illnesses, that “The Medical School of Phil” provides pretty diverse and comprehensive training, but, what do I know?

As of today, Phil is having difficulty standing due to intense pain and muscle weakness. He can’t drive because he can’t grip the steering wheel, or press the brake hard enough to stop the car. The good news is that he no longer has pneumonia and, that I’m retired and I’m available to care for him. Life is good!

Some are nice and some aren’t.

2 thoughts on “When Medicine is Mean, It’s a Pain”

  1. Oh, sweet Jennie. I hear you on illness affects the family not just the patient. I hope the doctor can help his “tendonitis” … “In sickness and in health” … the person who wrote those words was wise. Blessings on you both.


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