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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: May 14, 2019 07:47PM

In Dec/Jan I posted about my truly awful hospital experience after suffering a massive flu attack. After always extolling the virtues of our health care system and professional expertise of practitioners, I was brought down to earth due to overcrowding, lack of space (no rooms at the inn for me), overwhelmed staff, slow/mis-diagnoses, lack of resources, and undesirable roommates (much as I hate to say). I actually think I was close to PTSD over it all. Too much to cope with over and above being deathly ill as well.

Anyway. Life goes on. Fortunately. For the present and foreseeable time anyway. And I have finally stopped griping about not only missing Christmas, and New Year's, but about the whole episode.

Just when you think you're over a thing, the lion roars. Today I get a letter from Public Health telling me I was exposed to TB during my hospital stay. (I'm guessing that one of the patients in the room where I finally got a bed had TB. That was my closest contact. Or maybe one of the homeless men in withdrawal next to me in the hallway beds for days). That was January. This is May. YIKES.

Meanwhile, I've (obviously) been in close contact with family members (especially when caring for my mom who has been ill - preparing meals, etc). I also visit with the (former) refugee kids in the neighbourhood. Did I say YIKES.

I'm thinking I'll test negative. But the stress of going for testing and waiting for results is unwelcome. Plus I've just spent 30 minutes trying to contact the public health nurse who sent me the letter but she's insulated behind one of those endless loop automatic answering programs and the letter has apparently listed the incorrect extension for her. I'm not altogether worried (yet) about actually having contracted TB but it's a bit nerve-wracking to think this nightmare may not be over yet, if indeed in my weakened state I was more susceptible than I otherwise would have been and I actually have TB. It's quite prevalent in sectors of the population with whom I have been in contact (at the hospital, yes, and in the community). What's more, due to working downtown on the "east side" years ago and being exposed to many patients with TB, my crazy skin test can show positive - it was a big fat hairy deal when I was in nursing school - but proved to be a false positive or at least that I never had active disease.

All I can say is thank God (and scientists!) for tests and know-how and medicine. So glad that despite my obvious propensity towards joining cultic groups (JW/Mormon) at least I was never drawn towards Christian Science or else I might really have a problem at this point.

Sorry, I know this little episode is far, far, far away from discussing Mormonism, but see what I did there? Found a way to at least mention it. :)

Sorry for the diversion. I'm just feeling sorry for myself. Again. Next time I think I need ER in a major public hospital in a city centre known for its large population of people in need, with compromised health, including communicable diseases, I may opt instead for a home remedy or even the proverbial pine box. Or maybe pay for a private room. Or try to stay out of ER. Time to *really* focus on adopting a more healthy lifestyle. More sleep. Healthier diet. Less stress.

Yeah. That's a plan.

Sorry. Again. Back to regular programming. Ignore me. Before I start griping about getting cut off once I finally got through to the right nurse to book a skin test and then cut myself off while in a coughing spasm (from a cold that won't quit). Coughing. TB. YOW. When I was a kid there were a lot of plays and movies where the tragic heroine died of TB. They always made it look so delicate. And she was always beautiful.

It's not like that...

Rats. Even though I'm no longer trying my best to fit in as a Mormon (so-called) convert, I don't happen to keep alcohol in the house (much). I really fancy a long cool one about now. Is that a bad sign? Incipient alcoholism?

OK. I'll shut up now. Maybe the nurse and I can get together tomorrow. It kind of bugs me when people are so blase about infection. There's always antibiotics, right? Which makes us less cautious, maybe too laid back about it. I want my public health nurse to tell me to come into the clinic NOW and get sorted. But it's after 4:00 p.m. So despite our conversation being interrupted she left for the day. I would have liked to get an appointment right away, tomorrow morning, 0800 hrs. And then I have to go through that whole thing where they freak when they see my positive-looking skin test. But then I turn out not to have TB.

Right? NOT to have it...I don't want it. I've had enough now of ill health, myself and family. Would like a bit of a rest. Funny thing - I was just thinking this morning of that scripture that says God will not give you more to handle than you can bear. And I was thinking "OK God, that's enough now. Thankyouverymuch". And then the mail carrier came. And shoved the public health notice through my door.

So now I'm mad at God. And I have no beer.

The End.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: May 14, 2019 07:51PM

I'm sorry to hear you are going through this, Nightingale. All I can say is that you are a wonderful person and that if there is any justice in the universe, this will work out easily and quickly for you.

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Posted by: Devoted Exmo ( )
Date: May 14, 2019 07:54PM

I'm guessing it's just a precaution and that you're not necessarily done for....

Try not to stress about following up and getting as many answers as you can.

You've got a lot of cheerleaders here hoping you're on your way to good health!

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: May 14, 2019 08:02PM

You probably get exposed on planes too.
What I worry about is the resistant TB strain.

Unless you are on something like Hum@ra, I'm reasonably confident you'll be OK!

I know from my own career that TB tests can be tricky for health care workers who have been tested a lot. I hope there won't be X rays or a bunch of follow up. It's not like you have nothing to do!

Good luck. I just hope you are feeling better overall. You really went through a rough spot. It was scary to read about.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: May 14, 2019 08:07PM

I do think it is time for the Universe to let up a bit when it comes to you, Nightingale. ;)

I am glad you have previous experience with what is likely to happen, and I hope the relevant doctors (etc.) can expeditiously sort it through, and then they will make the required notations on your medical records and send you on your way.

You have enormous good will from us, here on RfM, and I am sorry (again!) that you are having to go through this.

We care about you!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/14/2019 08:10PM by Tevai.

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Posted by: [|] ( )
Date: May 14, 2019 08:09PM

To avoid issues with false positive skin tests, request to have an IGRA test done instead.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: May 14, 2019 08:10PM

Thanks, you guys. I feel better already. I don't usually worry ahead about stuff. Time enough when the situation becomes clear. I am fairly confident the test will be negative. But I sure don't need the hassle. It's a bit scary to read in the letter that I need to go for a skin test and "further assessment of your exposure to TB". Hope I can get a quick appointment to decrease the stressful wait time.

I thought the nurse might call me back. Funny timing - just when she asked me if I had any symptoms of TB I got a coughing fit (from my long-lasting cold) and couldn't talk. And then we got cut off. (I know, dark humour, but I laugh at stuff like that).

Meanwhile, I'm still making dinner for family. They trust me and my judgement. Here's hoping that's not misplaced.

The doctor I worked with eons ago downtown was performing a TB skin test and he accidentally scratched himself with the used needle. He ended up on IV in hospital with a swollen infected arm. Scary stuff. I can't remember if that was caused by the patient having TB or some other horrible infectious thing.

Life is tough. Then you die. My brother always says that. Kinda depressing. But it makes me laugh. Usually...

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Posted by: kathleen ( )
Date: May 14, 2019 08:19PM

Just don’t opt for that pine box !
Love to you.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: May 14, 2019 09:09PM

I feel safe in saying you'll be alright. If I'm wrong I'll buy you a milkshake, Tim Horton's! Or a drink of your choice. :)

From December to May it is surprising it took them that long to send out mail notices for one thing if they're sure you and others are among the potential subjects who may have been exposed to it.

Reason I mention that you'll be fine is the hospitals have to err on the side of caution every time there is a single instance of TB.

My sibling and I volunteered in a nursing home when I was in junior high school one summer. It was a fun thing to do, and I really enjoyed helping with the residents there. Until one patient contracted a strain of Hepatitis B later in the summer. My brother and I had to get vaccinated for it, and my mother promptly withdrew us from volunteering as a result. No one at the nursing tested positive however except for the one patient who had contracted it, thankfully.

We also had to get inoculated for TB while there as a safety precaution.

I don't remember anyone getting that either. They err on the side of caution just to be safe for your protection.

Hope you're feeling better soon nonetheless for all the anxiety this may be causing you.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: May 14, 2019 10:28PM

I think you need that beer, Nightingale. And not the cheap stuff! The expensive stuff! (((hug))) Hopefully this is just a teeny, tiny bump in the road, and everything will get sorted.

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Posted by: Soft Machine ( )
Date: May 15, 2019 04:13AM

Dear Nightingale, so sorry to hear of your bad luck!

This happened to my wife. She teaches in a university and one of her students tested positive for TB. She and her colleagues were kept under medical surveillance for 5 years, if I remember correctly, with mandatory tests to ensure that they hadn't caught it (none had).

So it's tiresome, but you probably have no reason to worry.

Tom in Paris

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: May 15, 2019 09:31AM

these things that happen that we have to take care of that really just make life that much more difficult. Just ONE MORE THING.

I'm sure you'll be okay.

We have our issues down here with healthcare, too. My coworkers in medical transcription avoid doctors and hospitals unless absolutely necessary. We've had the hepatitis scares in hospital ERs down here, several in recent years. Even a nurse who worked in several hospitals went to work having been exposed to hepatitis A.

I've been typing for a hospital complex up there in Canada. It has been interesting. I've really been enjoying it as I'm doing types of work I haven't done in years.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: May 15, 2019 11:38AM

cl2 Wrote:
> I've been typing for a hospital complex up there
> in Canada. It has been interesting. I've really
> been enjoying it as I'm doing types of work I
> haven't done in years.

I am happy for you, c12!


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Posted by: Screen Name ( )
Date: May 15, 2019 09:49AM

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: May 15, 2019 10:09AM

FWIW, I grew up in a duplex, and the neighbor had TB, eventually died of it. (Complicated by black lung and smoking -talk about a triple whammy. I'm surprised he made it to almost sixty.) I registered positive on every TB skin test I ever had, and had to get a chest x-ray. Neither I nor anyone else I knew came down with TB.

Molson. It's not just for breakfast anymore! :)

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: May 15, 2019 02:52PM

As a nursing student, my mom worked in a TB Sanitarium. She always tested positive, but never actually 'caught' the disease.

Am I remembering correctly that there was routine testing in grade school for TB?

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: May 15, 2019 03:12PM

I certainly feel very sorry that you're going through such a bad time. Please let us know how the testing goes.

About not getting placed in a hospital room, the same thing happened to me recently when I had a broken hip and stomach infection. I was down and out and on a drug that made the world look upside down with the clock sliding down the wall and the drapery rod on the floor and on a stretcher in the hall for a day and a half waiting for a surgery room. I was on hold because of a bad accident and others needing the emergency rooms and immediate surgeries.

I survived and feel great now. You will too.

Wishing you all the best!

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: May 15, 2019 03:22PM

health problems and been through far too much.

They left you in the hall for a day and a half waiting for surgery? Not surprised. We don't hear the half of it. I type the half of it and so I am very cynical, like I've said.

I had my aunt who had the infection from dental implants. Just found out my neighbor behind me had a dental infection from ONE TOOTH implant and nobody would listen to her. By the time they listened, she had infection in her whole head and almost died. I told her I would have believed her. I do type up the mistakes.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: May 15, 2019 03:45PM

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: May 15, 2019 04:52PM

cl2 Wrote:
> I had my aunt who had the infection from dental
> implants. Just found out my neighbor behind me
> had a dental infection from ONE TOOTH implant and
> nobody would listen to her. By the time they
> listened, she had infection in her whole head and
> almost died. I told her I would have believed
> her. I do type up the mistakes.

I came down with a terrible upper respiratory bacterial infection on the same day I left my dental hygienist from an oral cleaning following the last leg of a dental implant preceding the finishing work by the dentist she works for.

That was on March 22nd. I'm still recovering from it. I've had to keep postponing my final visit/s for getting the crown because the bacterial infection was so severe it felt like I've had pneumonia. Nearly two months later and still there. So much trouble over one freaking tooth.

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Posted by: Oz Doc6G ( )
Date: May 15, 2019 07:09PM

So sorry to hear of this terrible experience and the anxiety it is producing.

Don’t EVER apologise for sharing your fears and dark moments with us.Even those like me who rarely post are always behind you.

I know I have posted in dark times acknowledging how much it helps to have our invisible friends and supporters. Sometimes it helps that we are not directly involved. Sometimes just knowing someone thinks like you do is enough.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: May 16, 2019 02:25PM

Oz Doc6G Wrote:
> Sometimes just knowing someone
> thinks like you do is enough.

Yes, indeed. So true. This is one of the greatest elements of this board, talking, as it were, to folks who have been there too. I imagine very much so for BICs. I hope too for converts, although there are far fewer of us here, that I have ever noticed. It really helps to read words that resonate, helping to figure something out, or to reflect our own thoughts, and in so many other ways an amazing help for what ails ya. I haven't yet forgotten my extreme puzzlement as a (so-called) convert (I never believed in JS so don't really call myself a convert - I never drank the Kool-Aid to any extent). Just so many things that weren't consistent, didn't add up, weren't explained, didn't make sense. No wonder they rush you to the baptismal font, before you can spy the nekkid Emperor. It's a way to keep the conversion numbers up. A dishonest way though. What can I say? I was a dope. The longer I'm out the worse the "you dope you" feeling gets. You'd think it would be the opposite. I sometimes forget why I let them pressure me into it. I certainly can't explain it to my Christian friends, to the point that I hide that it happened. Not honest. Not healthy. I know. But that's how truly stupid I feel. Mormonism is surpassingly strange. How to explain actually choosing as an outsider to dive in?

So, yeah. RfM surely helps.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: May 16, 2019 02:14PM

I appreciate all the kind comments. Many thanks, all.

Took me 24 hrs to contact the correct Public Health Nurse. After a long and friendly chat about various things we got down to business and she concluded that I don't need a TB skin test after all! I had told them that I have had two positive tests in the past, one when applying to nursing school and one years later, before getting a job at a big city hospital. Apparently, that propels you to the front of the line - go directly to the chest x-ray clinic - skip the skin test. I guess having people get the skin test first saves them getting an x-ray if they don't really need it. Saves resources too. I'm relieved because I can go for the x-ray this week at my own convenience. It would be a six-week wait for the skin test. I would have found that stressful, despite having a low suspicion that I actually have contracted TB, despite still not having recovered back my health totally since Christmas time.

Funny how it brings visuals back to my brain of the tragic (tuberculous but still gorgeous) heroine lying on a luxurious couch, patting her mouth daintily with a lace hanky as she dies in the arms of her inconsolable lover. I think that was an opera we attended with school. TB isn't like that. My life isn't like that. No luxury. No couches to drape myself upon. No tragic lover hovering. No lace. I also don't have a cough, haha. (Well, just a tiny basic one to keep my never-ending cold company). So the only thing left of any slight concern is that TB can be latent (no obvious symptoms for a time). Which is where the chest x-ray comes in. I'm not going to worry. I think the x-ray will be clear. I can know for sure within a day or two of getting the x-ray (which I hope can be tomorrow).

I'm so curious to know where/how the contact occurred - in the ER or in the ward I finally found a bed on. But the nurse can't tell me, citing patient confidentiality. I think that is an over-abundance of caution - I don't know the other patients in the room and never heard their names - so just saying it was one of them that has been found to be positive doesn't seem like a breach of ethics, but I guess she has to be ultra-cautious on that score. The curiosity might kill me though, even though TB very likely won't.

Human beings - germy little things aren't we? I just read a reference to Russell Nelson, Prophet of God, being germophobic. I am a bit too. Quite a bit. That's why I high-tailed it out of that hospital room the instant they pulled the IV out of my arm and switched me to oral meds that I could administer to myself at home. Turns out I was right to cringe at the invisible hordes of noxious agents swirling about the place.

I just read this morning an article about how severely polluted swimming pools are, despite chlorine. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww. And the beach is worse, undoubtedly. Amazing any of us make it out of this mine field existence alive.

Oh wait...

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