Friday, August 5, 2011

Self-diagnosis and Levaquin

My husband makes fun of my medical degree.
He thinks since I never went to medical school or graduated with any kind of formal training behind me, I'm not qualified to diagnose and prescribe.
What he fails to take into account are the years of raising children and dealing with all sorts of rare illnesses, rashes and symptoms.
I've bandaged and soothed and rubbed. I've learned to tell the difference between a normal diaper rash and chickenpox. I can tell by a child's smell whether he or she has tonsilitis.
I told him his toe was broken before he ever had an X-ray.
So when I developed my usual sinus infection two months ago, I went in to get my prescription for Levaquin.
My regular doctor was out so I saw a colleague who argued with my plan.
I told him I often get these infections and since I am on an immunosuppressant it would be best to hit it quickly and hard with Levaquin.
I can usually take the Levaquin for about a week just long enough to help but not so long that it triggers my ulcerative colitis. (More than you wanted to know, huh?)
He was doubtful.
He said he'd rather err on the side of caution and go with amoxicillin.
So for the past two months I've suffered from extreme congestion, light-headedness and a nagging cough.
Finally the cough got so annoying I went in to my regular doctor.
He prescribed Levaquin and I thanked him.
"I told the other doctor what I needed but he didn't believe me," I said. "I guess it'll take some time to bring him around."
My regular, long-suffering doctor sighed and handed over a sample of Levaquin I could keep in my cupboard for the next bout.
"I'll try to be around the next time," he promised, "for those who don't realize you're a real doctor."

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