I know many of you have dealt with similar problems when it comes to the mystery ailments our loved ones have. The journey to the diagnosis is riddled with potholes.
So despite having several different tests which showed nothing wrong, my mom continues to experience pain in her back and abdominal region. The pain became worse over the past week, so back to the doctor she went.
It was a relief doctor because Mom’s primary care physician was attending to a family emergency. Mom had to wait over three hours to see the doctor.
Without going into too many details, Mom’s bowel habits have been irregular, so the doctor prescribed a stool softener for her. Fine. I’m hoping that Mom is just constipated and we can get her on some fiber supplements and probiotics to keep her regular.
She also ordered x-rays of the abdomen and back. I don’t think they did the back during her recent radiology visit, but she just had the abdominal scan done a month ago, presenting the same pain complaint. Of course I want to know what is causing Mom’s health issue, but it seems like it would be in the best interest to keep the radiation exposure of a cancer patient to a minimum.
A urine sample was also taken. Mom said some of the urine spilled on her hand as she was collecting the sample. The doctor said there was some bacteria present, and sent it to the lab for further processing. In the meantime, the doctor prescribed her antibiotics.
I despise this knee-jerk reaction most doctors have when it comes to antibiotics. Chances are, the bacteria was from the contaminated sample. (Mom told the staff about the mishap.) I’m not trying to minimize the serious health risk of infections in elderly people, but antibiotics also come with their own side effects. And certainly, antibiotics can cause stomach upset, which is the last thing Mom needs.
That’s my point. Doctors prescribe antibiotics like they are aspirin, “just in case” there is an infection present. I’m all for preventative medicine, but let’s face it, antibiotics are used as a timesaver. They make the patient feel like they are doing something for their health issue, and it saves the doctor from having to spend time further investigating symptoms. It’s not just doctors that are to blame; patients have now been trained to demand antibiotics as the standard of care for a variety of ailments.
Antibiotics are wonderful, life-saving medications. But as the CDC has stated, doctors overprescribing antibiotics is creating a health crisis of its own.
The real head scratcher is that the doctor prescribed my mom a new pain pill. Mom is already on pain medications. Constipation is a common side effect of prolonged pain medicine use.
So Mom goes home with a bag full of pill bottles, but we are no closer to figuring out what is causing her mystery pain. Frustrating.