31 December, 2009

Most. Incompetent. Doctor. Evahh?

Most. Incompetent. Doctor. Evahh?  I wonder, I really wonder.  On Christmas Eve, a toothache/abscess found me, with unerring accuracy.  There not being too many dentists open over the Xmas break, I headed to the local Emergency Room since, after all, an antibiotic is an antibiotic, whoever prescribes it.  Pity the same can't be said of pain-killers.

Since it was my first visit to ER, the triage nurse asked me if I had any allergies.  I told her than I had very adverse reactions to codeine and venlafaxine, both of which are commonly given.  I then told the registering clerk the same thing before getting to sit in ER waiting for my doctor to show up.  When she did, we went through the quick exam, I explained that I was taking one panadol and one ibuprofen every three hours and that this was coping with the pain but barely. Said doctor said something about panadeine but I've been up this particular garden path before and pointed out that the "eine" stood for codeine, which, as I'd just finished telling her and for the third time, I have an extremely adverse reaction to.

"Hmmm," she said.  "Well I'll add tramadol to the script instead then."  And I waltzed out quite happily, filled my script at my local pharmacy, where I was again asked if A) I'd ever taken Tramadol before and B) what if any drugs I had bad reactions to.  So that was four times in the space of three hours that I'd told a range of medical and pharmaceutical people.

Decided not to take the new painkiller if possible, because it was the festive season after all, and if I was going to get a reaction, this was probably not the best of times to be rocking up to ER again.  But then yesterday afternoon, it became apparent that the antibiotic wasn't working, and the "one and one every three hours" ploy wasn't holding the extra pain down.  So I decided to use the tramadol after all.

Having been caught by surprise by other "snap prescriptions" before, (how do you think I found out I had such bad reactions to the other two?  Two trips to ER after a "change of script" by doctors, is what) I took only half the prescribed dose first time around.  Half an hour later I was feeling very close to the way I felt the other two times, and was close to calling the 000 line as I was by then pretty much incapable of concentrating enough to drive myself.

I held off though, and things settled down after a few hours.  Enough so that I could look up tramadol on the internet.  Yup, it's a codeine analog, and it's chemically closest cousin among commonly dispensed drugs is venlafaxine...


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