Coughing Up A Better Diagnosis

, , , , , | Healthy | May 14, 2019

(I have a history of coughing up blood for no particular reason. Despite a lack of a diagnosis explaining why it happens, it has happened three times. Two out of the three times, it was copious amounts. The first time, it happened when I was 16 and within a few hours, I had coughed up several cups before I was able to get to a hospital. A vein in my right lung had burst! The docs never figured out why it happened, but it happened again when I was 18. Fortunately, it was only a few mouthfuls – it ended up just being a busted capillary. Then, it happens again when I am 22. I have dealt with multiple nurses and doctors in the ER down the street telling me I am probably just exaggerating, which is incredibly infuriating. To prove that I am telling the truth, I begin to collect the blood by spitting it into a container and keeping the container in the fridge. It’s disgusting. Between Wednesday afternoon and Friday morning, I have coughed up and collected almost two cups of blood. I have a bronchoscopy at a different hospital go bad – a negative reaction to the light anesthesia they give me – so they send me back to the ER to be admitted. It is then that I deal with the most stuck up doctor in my life. I have no makeup on — obviously, who has time to worry about that when one’s life is possibly on the line? — and in the past that’s led people to mistake me for a high schooler more than once. It seems to fool this doctor, too, unfortunately. He approaches me with a haughty, unbelieving demeanor, and treats me like some sort of hysterical, loony teen. I start arguing with him about my honesty in the situation, and it begins to escalate to a frustrated yelling match. While I regret resorting to yelling at a doctor, I don’t regret how this ends. Not one bit. I finally reach a breaking point, yank my purse from my mother’s arms, shove the container of blood at the doctor, and scream.)

Me:THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN COUGHING UP!”

(The doctor’s face goes completely white as he gapes at me, stares at the container, looks back at me, and takes it to run out of the room. Another doctor comes in right then, and the first doc grabs his arm to drag him out with him. They close the door behind them, but there is a huge window in the door, so I can see both of them holding up the container, arguing, and acting generally panicked. Join the club, dudes. When Doctor Jerkface comes back in, he has a huge change in attitude; he’s now sweet, attentive, and eager to help.)

Doctor: “All right, honey, don’t you worry. We’re going to admit you to the ICU right away. We’re going to take care of you and figure out why this is happening.”

(I let myself become the smug jerk in the room and give him a victorious smirk.)

Me: “You’re d*** right, you’re going to.”

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