Sarah, Hopefully

Thursday, November 04, 2004

What a day.


I am screwed up.

I know some of you have been avidly following Sarah´s Backache Chronicles. Well, here is Episode 3948.

So yesterday I wasn´t feeling so hot. I´ve been taking the pills the doctor gave me last monday for almost two weeks. You know- the ones that make me act all loopy and high? Well, I´ve been less out of it this week, which is a plus- but on the minus side, I´ve been feeling more of the back pain. Last night it was bad. I couldn´t even eat dinner. Not only was it these weird chicken sandwiches for the second night in a row, but my back hurt so much that it was making me queasy. So... no eating for Sarah. I took the medicine anyway, even though you´re supposed to take it with food, because the pain was so bad.

Let me explain this pain. It´s not bone pain or muscle pain. It´s like... internal organ pain. Like my kidneys are aching or something. I put up with it, lay in bed, whatever... but by 11 o´clock it was bad. I finally called my parents and talked to them. Seriously... it was like I wasn´t even taking medicine. Bleh. They told me to talk to my host mother, go back to the doctor, stop taking some of the medicines I am on... stuff like that.

Sleep soundly. I get up kind of early because I wanted time to talk to my host mom about doctors and things. I got in the shower before Katie, which I don´t normally do. In the shower i felt like I was going to fall over. My stomach felt awful... eventually I started dry heaving and throwing up stomach acid because there was no food in my stomach to throw up. Not fun. I don´t think I did a very good job of washing my hair or anything, but I was a little distracted. Anyway... went back to my room, lay down for about 20 minutes, then felt well enough to get dressed and stuff. While Katie was in the shower I called and talked to my mom... just gave her an update. I told my host mom what the problem was, and she said that there are doctors I can go to other than the one at the university if I need to.

Felt well enough to eat breakfast, then went to school... Sat through my grammer class, which I needed to attend because we were talking about something new and tomorrow is the final. That went okay... in the break I wasn´t feeling so hot. Kind of chilled in the sun awhile, had Gabe telling me that my only problem was dehydration... I don´t think so. Anyway... I was feeling pretty bad around the time for my lit class, so I didn´t go. I just need to read the story for tomorrow´s final and I´ll be good to go. I went to the computer lab to read the info my parents had sent me about doctors in Guadalajara who are covered by our insurance. I called my mom again because I was feeling awful- I didn´t really even think I could make it across campus to the doctor´s office.

Let me just say, it is pretty terrifying to be in a foreign country, feeling sick, and not being capable of communicating the problem to the doctor. Every time I had visited this campus doctor, he seemed to think that I was just too stressed out and tense from being in a foreign country, and that popping my back would make everything better. It kind of worked the first time, it didn´t work the second time, and he just kept giving me random prescriptions that I didn´t understand... are they pain killers? Muscle relaxers? Anti-inflammatories? I have no clue. It´s scary. What if something was really wrong but the language barrier prevented me from finding out until after I get back to the US?

Anyway... I felt better after talking to my mom. Walked across campus, found Alfonso, waited for Katie to get out of class, then I asked both of them to go with me to the doctor. I´m really glad I did... I wound up really needing Alfonso to translate for me. The doctor remembered me from the other times I have gone in there. He said that clearly he couldn´t do anything for me, and that I needed physical therapy. I was pretty skeptical. I thought my kidneys were exploding- PT isn´t gonna help with that! Anyway, the doctor went out and then came back with the campus physical therapist who works with the soccer team and stuff. He did his own exam of me, discovered that it´s basically my left hip/lower back that are extremely tender, and finally gave me his diagnosis.

Apparently one of my legs is longer than the other. I´m not sure if this is the cause of the problem or an effect of the problem. Anyway, this causes me to walk with more pressure on one side of my body than the other. Therefore my hips or... something in my lower back are uneven. Something was mentioned about my lumbar, I don´t really know what that is. Also, the lower part of my spine is not as curved as it should be- a result of the unevenness or something like that. Anyway... I have to go to physical therapy two times a week until I go home, trying to get my body back in balance.

Okay, that´s fine. I´m cool with that. The doctor gives me a prescription to ease the inflammation of my back so that the PT won´t be so painful, or something like that. Great. I´m fine with that. We merrily go on our way. I was really relieved to know what the problem is and that we´re going to work to solve it.

Katie and Alfonso and I went to lunch at Applebee´s. First I called my mom (yes, AGAIN) to tell her what the doctor said and to ask her to put some money in my bank account so i could fill the prescription. Lunch was awesome- broccoli chicken alfredo, sizzling apple pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert. Expensive, but worth it.

After lunch we went back by our house where Katie and I picked up our laundry, then Alfonso took us to the laundromat to leave our stuff. Then I went to the pharmacy to get my prescription filled. Outside on the sidewalk, I asked Alfonso what the prescription said. It says something about applying one vial every 12 hours. I was like, "Is it a liquid medicine?" He was like, "Oh, yeah, yeah." Okay. We go inside. I hand the guy my prescription. He goes to find it. I´m supposed to apply this stuff every 12 hours for 5 days- so that´s 10 doses. He comes back saying they don´t have that many. I see that each box only contains one dose, so I ask how much it costs. Each box is about 150 pesos- around $13. For 10 doses, that´s over 100 dollars worth of medicine. Way more than I had at that time.

I asked the guy if I could just buy two- to take one tonight and one tomorrow morning. That´s fine- but then he starts asking me if I want cotton and all this other stuff. I look at Alfonso, and he´s like, "It doesn´t come with the syringes and stuff."

Um. This medicine is SHOTS. I am supposed to give MYSELF a shot every 12 hours??? No, that´s not right, Alfonso tells me. I am supposed to go to someone else to get them, such as the doctor on campus. How am I supposed to do that every twelve hours? What about the weekend? Do I go there at 8 am and 8pm? That´s kind of impossible. I was pretty furious. Alfonso had NOT told me that it was shots. The doctor did NOT make that clear to me. He just hands me a prescription and expects me to to stick some needles in myself every 12 hours for a few days. What the hell? This would NOT happen in the united states. At all.

I told the pharmacist that I was going to wait to buy the medicine. I made yet another phone call to my mother about this. It is not right. Absolutely rediculous. Shots??? Why didn´t anyone make this clear to me? How do they expect me to do this? Is this condition really so serious that I have to have SHOTS instead of taking some pills??? Oh my gosh. I´m just so upset that, even with someone there to interpret for me, I missed something so important. Katie was all like, "There´s a serious problem with your back. You can´t just pop a few pills and make it better." Okay- let´s see HER get told unexpectedly, as she stands there waiting to buy over 1000 pesos worth of medicine, that she´s going to have to also purchase some syringes, etc. to inject herself with some medicine she´s never heard of before, that she doesn´t know what it will do.... ARGH.

This is like... my worst nightmare. Something extremely important- my HEALTH- and I can´t communicate and I can´t understand what is going on and there is a serious risk that I could really screw this up- screw my BODY up- because I don´t fully understand what I am supposed to do.

I still hurt. I don´t have the medicine that´s supposed to make me feel better, and I won´t be able to sort this out until I go to the doctor tomorrow and say, what the hell were you thinking?? I know it´s just stress and sickness talking, but I really, REALLY want to go home now. I want to go home and have a doctor who I know and trust, who at least speaks my own freaking language, I want to have my mom there with me, I want my head to clear and for me to stop feeling like my body is on mars because I really, REALLY need to be levelheaded to understand what is going on... I like Mexico. I really do. I am enjoying my time here. But I hate that I have been sick and in pain for weeks now without any true relief. If I felt 100%, I would be all for staying here another month... but feeling sick and having strange doctors tell me that they are going to do things to my body that I don´t really understand to fix a problem that I don´t really understand... help.

Argh. Horrid day. Tomorrow I have finals for this level... no worries about passing those. I would really just like to sleep until this is all over.


  • Lumbar is part of your back, the lower vertabrae. I'm so sorry sarah! I will be thinking of you extra hard for the next few days. It must be really frustrating. But remember that we're all thinking of you.

    By Blogger Genevieve, at 5:21 PM  

  • I totally understand the frustration with feeling sick for weeks on end in Mexico, ugh. Mama called me this afternoon to fill me in on what was up, but she didn't mention the shots, she said your bc pills were affecting the prescription or something like that. I suggest talking to your host mom about seeing another doctor, off campus and taking someone with you that will be a good translator. Or finding a doctor that knows English enough to help you. If you see the doctor on campus tell him shots are not an option, because SURELY there are pills you could take that would be helpful. And there's no real guarantee that his diagnosis is actually correct, so I think you need a second opinion. Keep us posted! I love you and I'm praying for you.

    By Blogger Julia, at 6:12 PM  

  • You have ever-lasting Jewish sympathy. At least you're home in a month!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:31 PM  

  • Aw, man, Sarah, that's rough. I'm sorry.

    Also, my guy might be makin a move soon, if that'll help cheer you up! (hehe... that sounds so self-centered.. um....)

    By Blogger Courtney, at 11:55 PM  

  • hey love ... part of the reason it may be shots is to localize the dosage of medicine ... instead of having it have to go through your system and then eventually part of it getting to your back, the idea is to inject it into the area most affected by the discomfort to help ease the pain faster and more efficiently ... hehe, didn't that sound professional ; P that is all really bogus though ... it seems so backwards.
    i miss you so much ... and i'm sorry i haven't been able to sit down and email you ... things are kinda crazy right now. anyway, you can email me at ... i look forward to hearing from you soon, i hope you start feeling better, and i can't wait til you get back and yes we are definitely going to spend uber-much time together when you get back ...
    all my love darling

    By Blogger Ashley, at 6:27 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home