Unexpected things happened last week…unpleasant, unexpected things.
My daughter Jillian went to emergency room X in Hospital X on Monday complaining of several days of severe upper abdominal pain. An I.V. was started and blood drawn. Test results indicated a liver problem and an ultrasound confirmed her liver was twice its normal size. Her gallbladder was also “thick” according to E.R. Doc X. He diagnosed her with NASH (Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.)
They told her she’d be in pain an additional two to three days and they released her. (Her allotted time was apparently up.) She was graciously invited to return to E.R. X if she didn’t feel better.
Jillian didn’t feel better on Tuesday.
I researched NASH and learned Jillian didn’t fit the typical profile. She wasn’t obese, wasn’t diabetic, and didn’t have high cholesterol. Hospital X didn’t have time to perform a liver biopsy during her allotted time to confirm a diagnosis of NASH.
I diagnosed Doctor X with DBC Syndrome (Doctors at the Bottom of their Class.)
Jillian didn’t feel better on Wednesday.
She went to emergency room Y in Hospital Y because it’s the same healthcare system as her PCP and they could access past medical records. An I.V. was started and blood drawn. E.R. Doc Y said she looked ready for Halloween—her eyes were yellow and her skin a lovely shade of orange. It looked like she’d applied thirty year-old self tanner.
I talked to Jillian in E.R. Y on the hour long drive to Hospital Y. “Did they get the records from Hospital X?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “Doctor Y wants to run his own tests.”
Of course he does, I thought. The healthcare system stays in the black as long as everybody forgets how to fax medical records during moments like these.
“Guess what Doctor Y said when I told him Doctor X diagnosed me with NASH?”
I perked up. “What?”
“He snorted and said, ‘Are you kidding me?’”
I knew my M.D. of the Internet wasn’t a waste of time. “I wish he’d get serious…stop joking around and worrying about what E.R. Doc X thinks. What does he think?”
“He says I’m very sick. My liver enzymes aren’t just high, they’re extremely high. He’s going to admit me and take another look at my gallbladder.”
When we arrived at the hospital E.R. Doctor Y put Jillian in intensive care. (That was a little too serious.) Ultrasound Y was performed at 3 a.m. in the morning. (Don't ever expect to rest at a hospital.) The ultrasound showed a very irritated, inflamed gallbladder with numerous gallstones and a blockage in the bile duct.
How could Hospital X have missed this?
Jillian said there was a vast difference in the quality of the ultrasounds. Ultrasound X was in black, grey and white. It was blurry and grainy. The second one at hospital Y was so clear it was as if she was looking at a movie of her insides. Even she could identify several of her organs.
I reconsidered my diagnosis of Doctor X and changed it to DHPT (Doctors in Hospitals with Poor Technology.)
Jillian spent three days in intensive care while a team of doctors, including a surgeon, ran more tests, and reviewed her scans to ensure there wasn’t another cause for her liver problems. In the end, they were confident it was her gallbladder, not NASH, or anything else causing her liver problems.
Her gallbladder was removed Friday and she was released from Hospital Y late Saturday night. She’s recuperating and her liver is rapidly returning to normal.
I’m ending this blog with a rhyming (sappy) poem, titled “Don’t Quit.” I’ve read it off and on for twenty years when things go wrong...to remind myself they often turn out right.
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit—
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar.
So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—
It’s when things go wrong that you mustn’t quit.
Causes Jules Jacob Supports
CASA of Southwest Missouri, Master Gardeners of the Ozarks, University of Missouri Master Gardeners, Missouri Court Appointed Special Advocates Association...