01 November 2010

Diagnositc Testing

I've been living in France for over a year now. Unfortunately that means my days of avoiding le médecin are long gone. That's right. I've managed to avoid going to the doctor (in France) for 15 months. But I was having sharp ear pain that would wake me up in the middle of the night . . . I've had the same thing happen a few times over the past several years and the doc has always told me that I have an inflammed tube and a few weeks on steroids will do the trick. And it always does.

But apparently in France, sharp pain in the ear that wakes one up throughout the night is caused by heartburn and intestinal irregularities . . . even if the patient denies experiencing heartburn . . . or if that same patient denies smelling an unpleasant odor or having an unusual taste in the mouth while feeling said ear pain . . . or denies any intestinal irregularities.

When I tried to explain again that I've experience this same thing before and the steroids ALWAYS work, he suggested we try a little diagnostic testing . . . he'll prescribe a medication. If the pain goes away, we'll know what it was. If it doesn't , I'll come back and we'll try again.  And on top of that, he felt it necessary that I develop a more 'regularly scheduled' evacuation time (hopefully you catch my drift and don't make me spell it out for you) . . . apparently in France this is a formally scheduled part of the day--not a time block to be tampered with. And since I denied having a particular time devoted each day to this task, he, as the doctor, felt it necessary to explain how one trains ones self for such a schedule: block off a period of time that I know I will be free every day during which I will be undisturbed, find a good book, go and sit for 10 minutes. If nothing happens, no worries, go about my life.  But at the sime time the next day, take the same book--rinse and repeat--until this specific time of the day is no longer free for rescheduling.

I sat there as he (very seriously) instructed me in the ways of evacuation re-education. I wanted to laugh in his face. I was a bit shocked that this was his course of treatment for EAR PAIN! I reminded him again that I was denying any gastro-intestinal symptoms, but instead felt as though I was fighting off a cold and this ear pain was a common occurance for me when I've been sick or about to be so. But he wouldn't hear of it.

All of this to say, I left his office not with a script for anti-inflammatory steroids to manage the swelling and irritation in my middle ear (that is being caused by the goo growing daily in my inner sinuses) but rather a prescription for a strong antacid.
Needless to say, he's given new meaning to je ne peux pas!


M.S. said...

Debs, MB told me this story. Was it Dr. Van??? That was my dr. in Massy and he gave me the same lecture while I was pregnant! I just thought it was for us preggo ladies who have problems in that area during pregnancy!!! He also told me to eat grain laden bread. And ha. ha. ha. on the peux pas. You funny.

Deborah said...

Yup!! How'd you guess!! I was really sick this week with a high fever and lots and lots of vomiting . . . I thought about going to the doc, but I figured he tell him it wasn't actually something GI related, rather my ears were inflammed! :)

And can't take the credit for the peux pas . . . MB said it first . . . and we wet our pants for hours with it!