So I broke down and went to the doctor yesterday. Having been sick for six of the last eight weeks and feeling like it wasn't just allergies for much of that time, I was hoping for something definitive.
Gimme an infection, gimme something treatable. But all I got was what was not wrong with me. No pneumonia (good thing), no ear infection (good thing). Might have bronchitis, although it's actually quite complicated to figure out if it's bacterial or viral.
So, then came The Bad:
I became one of the patients that basically bugged my doctor into writing prescriptions. By the end I had her prescribing me both antibiotics, in case I have the kind of bronchitis that they would help, and steroids, to treat my allergies, plus some Flonase (a steroidal nasal spray) for ongoing allergies as needed.
Now, I've had great experiences in my past using steroids to treat my allergies. One shot and a few days of popping pills, and those allergies...which make me miserable despite taking Zyrtec daily...were eradicated completely for four months! I know people talk about the potential side effects of steroids, but that's typically referring to long-term use. My step-dad takes them for his Crohn's Disease, and I know they have problems if you use them in an ongoing fashion. But as I said to the doctor: "Once a year, one shot and four days of pills? Would that really have much negative effect?" And she admitted that the chance was small, but of course still possible.
I didn't realize that the reason steroids work so well on allergies is that they suppress your immune system, I thought it was more about their anti-inflammatory qualities. That did give me pause a bit, but then I said well hey...antibiotics should work just in case I've got a little somethin' somethin' eh?
I am not one of those people who always want antibiotics. I'm not sure the last time I ever took them...perhaps 3-4 years ago for a sinus infection that I ignored for week until my entire face hurt in its very bones.
But I just feel like I've got one shot to kick whatever this thing is outta me, and I wanted both antibiotics and the steroids to do it.
Obnoxious patient wanting pills to solve problems. Not my usual modus operandi (usually I'm an avoid-the-doctor-altogether-eventually-this-will-go-away-on-its-own kind of gal.) That was the Bad.
Gotta give Kaiser its props. I love the way they post your test results online and then email you. I had my blood drawn at 11:30AM yesterday, and by the time I got up this morning most of the results were in, with a few more tests being posted later in the day. You can compare your current results to past results in the system; you can click and find out more about the test in questions.
It is pretty awesome.
Oh, and my blood work came back very healthy, thank you. Other than I might have rickets.