End of My Rope

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Zigzag2
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 3/31/2008 2:05 PM (GMT -6)   
I am so glad to have found this forum--it's been both educational and reassuring.  I wanted to share my GERD experiences (I really want to call it a nightmare) and connect with other sufferers.
 
In early December, I suddenly had a huge episode of reflux.  I've not really had much reflux in the past and I didn't think much of it considering what I had eaten the night before.
 
Four days later, some food stuck in my throat. I didn't connect the two.  The  next day, more food stuck, so I switched to liquids. I was barely able to get the liquids down and, being unaware, would force myself to drink, which resulted in bloating and feelings of blocked ear canals. I felt as if I had a hairy sock in my throat and I was afraid to swallow anything.  My throat also was somewhat sore.
 
I have no insurance, so I went to the emergency room. I was diagnosed with GERD based on some very basic answers to simple questions and put on omeprazole and Zantac 75.  They had ruled out immediate gallbladder trouble and found me to be in "good" condition.
 
I was allergic to the omeprazole, although it did keep the worst reflux symptoms at bay.  I continued taking the Zantac.  Over the course of a month I found I was able to eat a bit more, incorporating cooked cereal into my "diet."  However, I was still afraid to try to eat solids, so I subsisted on yogurt, pureed soup, baby food, and Ensure Plus.  The feeling of something in the throat came and went, and I was feeling better.  I did lose quite a bit of weight, however, from only eating 1,200 calories a day.
 
Then the pain started. I was diagnosed with flu even as I stated that I suspected it was related to GERD. Random, disconnected pains, sometimes here and sometimes there, and never the same type. Not consistently, either, and never predictable. I suspected gastritis and I went back to the emergency room, where it was determined there was no immediate worry.  I was told that I could not afford the tests, nor could I afford prescription medicines.  I was put on Zantac 150 2x per day. Because I was told that I could not afford what I knew I needed, I became so stressed that I uncorked a tendency to suffer from panic. (i. e. "If you had insurance....").  They had me follow up with county health, but county health told me I had too much income and property to qualify for care.
 
Back to square one.
 
 I took on a new job after not working for two years, and was fired after two days because I had a stomach pain and had asked to leave an hour early to go to a walk-in clinic (terrified and hyperventilating). 
 
I applied for insurance and the GERD was denied; in any event, I'd not be able to satisfy the deductible that would come with an affordable plan.  I was told I could get care in an emergency, but as far as any preventive care I was out of luck.  Therefore I have not been evaluated, only sent home in a panic.  The stress is making the situation much worse and I often feel like giving up.  As it is I sit around waiting for something to happen and it is terribly unnerving.  I feel despondent.
 
However, I have tried ACV and it is much easier for me to swallow, or to want to try to swallow, things that are not the consistency of water. The ACV has helped the reflux (I never had that much heartburn).  I spend every morning terrified that something will happen, and I'm afraid to go out of the house. I've become obsessive with worry (I live alone) and am hesitant to go anywhere without all manner of identification on my person; I am now afraid to so much as walk my dogs too far from the house. 
 
It's a fine life!  I understand I am bringing a lot of fear on myself.  I can't work, because I cannot eat enough to get myself through the day (eating a small bit every two hours works best for me) while carrying out the duties of a job.  I'm neither living life to the full or enjoying it to the full; in fact I have withdrawn from my normal hobbies and activities.
 
Am no longer taking the Zantac, because the ACV is doing the same job and better.  Still, the odd pain confuses and upsets me, and it always seems to occur when I try to step outside and do something normal and fun, like hiking with the dogs.
 
Anyway, that's my introduction.  I am relieved to see that there are people here whose experiences (at least symptomatically) somewhat mirror mine.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 4/2/2008 3:02 PM (GMT -6)   

Zigzag2
Welcome to HealingWell.  I am so sorry you have had such a rough road with your GERD.

I am concerned that "you were told" you could not afford the meds or procedures in an ER.  All patient's are entitled to a Medical Screening Exam and if a  problem is present that needs medication most ER's have access to a hardship fund to get you on a medication. 

If you have a new job and your insurance doesn't cover your medical conditions, I would ask to speak to Human Resources to see what the alternative is?

I am glad you found us and keep posting as you will find the members here warm and caring.  Take care

Kitt


 
Kitt, Moderator: Anxiety ~ Panic  ~ Crohn's
Not a mental health professional of any kind
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~
 


Zigzag2
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 4/2/2008 4:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Kitt, that is indeed what I was told. The first time, the doctor told me that he'd normally do heart tests, but that he wasn't going to proceed because of my lack of insurance. The second time (when I went to another ER with stomach pain) I was told to take Zantac and return if I had bloody stool or blood in vomit.

Both times they indicated that they did not think there was an immediate problem, so I was not give access to Rx medications, only told to buy more OTC.

Today I made an appt. with a full-fare clinic--meaning that I am going to try to pay out of pocket. I am not working at the present; the reason for my not having insurance was a break-up with a partner and needing to move immediately in a very expensive housing market. I cancelled my insurance after being approached for several jobs that had full benefits. Unfortunately, the jobs did not materialize. That was eight months ago. I still cannot afford insurance, and in any event the GERD (and my glaucoma) would not be initially covered.

What I have never done is to medicate the GERD continuously. I was only on PPI for six days before it made me so ill I quit. I then took Zantac 75 sporadically. Then I became ill--fever, stomach pains--and since then have had bizarre stomach symptoms. I was doing fine up until this illness. The odd stomach sensations never went away.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 4/3/2008 1:46 PM (GMT -6)   

Have you tried any of the old fall backs, liquid Mylanta etc?  I still use the liquid Mylanta and I have tried to really cut down on the acid producing foods that are gauranteed to give you pain, no orange juice, less caffeine and chocolate, my favorite food.

I am so sorry you are in this situation.  Some of the clinics still have samples from the drug companies.

Keep us posted on how you do.

Hugs
Kitt


 
Kitt, Moderator: Anxiety ~ Panic  ~ Crohn's
Not a mental health professional of any kind
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~
 


Zigzag2
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 4/3/2008 6:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Kitt,

I was given Aciphex, even as I said that I never swallow pills. But they were samples and thus no cost to me. Also, they reduced the visit from $250. to $180. which I appreciated.

She said she thinks the pains are not an ulcer but are intestinal spasms; there was no talk about gastritis (which I what I thought I had) or bacteria. Anyway, I am on the Aciphex and have to call her in ten days to report on the symptoms.

BTW, I have stopped with the Activia. That messed me up something fierce two nights in a row.
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