A favourite quote and a way by which to approach life.

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Check up

Let me start with another apology for again neglecting my blog. For the most part I've been enjoying having a break from studies so busy doing fun stuff :o) I've also been getting the paperwork sorted for my holiday to France in 10 days time :oD I'm very excited and have all my medical stuff translated into French now, thanks to a rather wonderful OU peer who read my blog, lives in France and offered her services of translation for my paperwork and if I have any medical problems while I'm out there. She's a marvel.

So now for today's post.

A couple of weeks ago I was getting twinges of toothache so I made an appointment with the dentist, but the earliest I could get was yesterday and of course, as is the way with these things, almost as soon as I made the appointment the toothache disappeared. As it had been some time since I'd seen the dentist (about a year, because as it turned out there was something wrong with their appointment recall system and I hadn't received the last appointment they'd sent out) I kept yesterday's appointment for a check up. I explained to Mr V (the dentist) that I'd had toothache when I'd made the appointment and when he checked my teeth he said there were no cavities, but my teeth were very sensitive and there was some gum recession. He said I should use a sensodyne mouthwash, but I pointed out to him that I'm allergic to mint/menthol so can't use it and haven't found a mouthwash I can use, and also that I'm allergic to colourings and all the mouthwashes I've seen are not only minty, but are always a lurid pink, blue or green. Mr V seemed to find it difficult to get his head around this for a while, but eventually did and said to use warm, salty water instead of a mouthwash. Anyway, he said that all he needed to do was a scale and polish, but as my teeth are so sensitive I'd be writhing around in the chair with pain if he did them there and then, so advised me to use the salt water mouthwash this week and he'd put some fluoride varnish on my teeth that should help and mean that when he does the scale and polish next week the pain shouldn't be too bad. He smeared the pastey varnish on my teeth and sent me on my way. The pastey varnish, though, had a taste that I vaguely recognised but couldn't identify ... until I was going down the dental surgery stairs and my lips started to swell. It was banana. I didn't go back up to the surgery, instead opting to go back to the car and get home as soon as I could, but by the time I got back to the car my lips were really quite swollen, my tongue was fizzy and swelling, my throat was itchy, my eyes were itchy and, I was feeling a bit nauseous and my lungs were tightening. I took a double dose (as prescribed by the immunologist) of each of the antihistamines I'm prescribed for severe allergic reaction and used my nebuliser. I probably shouldn't have driven, but all I could think was that I needed to get home, so that's what I did, whereupon I continued on with the meds, sat with my Epi-Pens, phone, mobile and care alarm next to me and hoped that the antihistamines would kick in. I probably ought to have sought medical help, and I certainly don't advise taking the risk that I did, but I got lucky and things did begin to settle. Once I was well enough I thought I should probably call the dental surgery, tell them what had happened and find out the name and ingredients of the thing the dentist had smeared on my teeth. I spoke to the receptionist rather than Mr V, and she was very concerned, but also very helpful. It turned out the stuff was called Duraphat, and she asked me if I wanted to speak to Mr V. I didn't think there was an awful lot of point in talking to him as there was now little he could do, but a couple of minutes after I put the phone down Mr V rang me, sounding very worried and said that he wanted to see me straight away. The dental practice has two surgeries and he was doing his afternoon surgery at the practice so that's where I was to go, but seeing as I thought I probably shouldn't drive I wasn't sure how I was going to get there so Mr V offered to pay for a taxi. That's what I did. Between ending the call and arriving at the surgery Mr V had spoken to them at the dental hospital and they advised that I either see my GP or go to A & E. Personally I didn't think there was an awful lot of point in doing either of these things now as I was better than I had been, even though I still didn't feel 100%, but Mr V wasn't happy so I opted for phoning my GP to ask them for advice. Mr V gave me their phone and waited while I called. I spoke to Michelle - one of the GP receptionists I know well - and explained the situation. She said I'd need to speak to the on-call doctor, that they'd call me back, but she couldn't say when that would be, so I prepared myself for a long wait at the dental surgery. Mr V was going to have to go somewhere before too long, but wanted me to stay at the surgery so the other dentists there could keep an eye on me while we waited for the GP to call back. He spoke to the first of the other dentists, explaining what had happened, who was as surprised as Mr V at the reaction I'd had (Mr V said he'd never heard of an allergic reaction to Duraphat, and hadn't known about bananas containing benzoates, but that that explained my reaction) and asked him to keep a close eye on me. He then went into the second of the other dentists and did the explanation thing, but came out saying that this other dentist's patient was a nurse and she'd said that I should go to A & E, and that I should go soon because otherwise the queues would start to build up. Mr V seemed very relieved to have this second opinion that I ought to be seen by a doctor and it was decided that that's what would happen. Again he offered to pay for a taxi for me to get to A&E, but first I had to call my GP surgery to tell them what was happening and that I now wouldn't need them to call me back. Michelle asked if the dentist was getting me an ambulance and when I told her that no, I was getting a taxi she said, 'A taxi. That's an interesting approach ... well, you know where we are if need us.'

I have to say that I felt like a bit of a twit arriving at A&E displaying few symptoms of severe allergic reaction by now, but saying how things had been earlier, but they were okay (although saying that I probably should have gone earlier) and I was seen fairly quickly. The doctor was rather patronising and obviously hadn't read the copious notes they have on me from my multiple admissions for my asthma. He questioned my 'possession' of so many different antihistamines, until I explained that they were prescribed by the immunologist; he questioned how I had access to a nebuliser (!) so I then had to explain about my asthma; he questioned my allergy to mint (I keep a list of all my meds and allergies and I'd given him this list) simply because he hadn't heard of it before. Anyway, after examining me he said that mostly I was okay, but I was tachycardic, breathing a little quickly and my peak flow was a bit low at 165, so he prescribed more nebulisers and said they'd keep me there for a while to make sure that I didn't have a second wave (biphasic reaction). After a couple of hours or so a different, much less patronising doctor came to see me, saying that the first one had now gone off shift but had handed me over. He redid my peak flow, which had picked up to 250 and he felt I was probably okay to go home, but because of my history (he'd looked at my notes) he didn't want me to feel like I was being pushed out before I was ready and he'd be happy to keep me in overnight if I felt like I needed to be. I didn't think I needed that and I felt lots better, though very tired by now. The doc checked that I had an Epi-Pen, was a little worried that I live alone, but reassured that I have the community care alarm. He gave me strict instructions to keep that beside me, the Epi-Pen beside me, all my other meds beside me and the phone beside me all evening/night, and if there was any deterioration at all then I was to 'dial the 9s' immediately.
I have now had the very weird, but very good experience of walking out of A&E! I don't know when the last time that happened was. In fact it was such an exciting experience for me that I had to take a photo of the exit/entrance as proof of it. Here's the photo:

Today I'm okay, but still very tired and still have that post-poisoned feeling so I've done very, very little, which is rather boring and very frustrating.

Even though things turned out okay in the end, yesterday really wasn't the day I'd had planned.


Grumpy Old Ken said...

Life is never simple!

Beth said...

bloomin' nora! glad you're ok. you can't miss saturday after you organised it! :)

Joey Paul said...

That sounds like quite an adventure! Glad you're okay though, out of interest are you a type one or type two BA? I'm type one and although have several allergies that land me in hospital, have never been given an epi pen...

rattles said...

jeeze woman! That was an adventure! Well done on escaping a and e! Hope your feeling much better very soon. Big hugs lv rattles Xxxx

Anonymous said...

Nothing's easy is it! Glad you're okay. Btw, Green People do a mint-free mouth wash (although it may have many other things you're allergic to in it!), it's fennel flavoured.

BeckyG said...

Thank you all for your comments and well wishes. I was wiped out for a few days after the reaction, but that's normal for me, and I've been back to my usual self this week. I have the rather unsettling thing of having return to the dentists tomorrow, so I'm hoping that there aren't any similar occurances.

Anon, thanks for the info about the Green People mouth wash. I can use their fennel toothpaste, but I haven't yet checked their mouth washes. I'll have to check for colouring and also things like sulphates and benzoates, but I'll have a look at it.

Joey, in answer to your question, I'm an awkward sod (in case you hadn't already realised) and I'm both types 1 and 2 brittla astma - I have the everyday chronic symptoms, and the suddenly catastrophic attacks. I'm good at being different ;oP

rattles said...

I gave you an award hon - i loveading your blog - its witty and i love hearing about the wandering holey watering can and its guardian lol!!!

Check it out on my blog.

Lotsa lv Rattles xxx

Donna W said...

I am yet another brittle asthmatic who has many a weird and wonderful allergy. Some the consultant himself didnt believe till he saw them first hand.
I hope you are doing ok right now.
Me, I am just in post admission phase, trying to recover but not getting very far.
Take care and keep blogging.