Tag Archives: epinephrine

Amoxycillin and Me

About ten years ago I had a sore throat that wouldn’t go away after a month and a half. So I went to the doctor and she prescribed amoxycillin. It’s a particular form of the cillins, like penicillin. Before that I never had had a problem with penicillin but also hadn’t had any in years.

I proceeded to take the medication and a few days later when friends were visiting I was feeling feverish and having trouble breathing. That eventually passed a day later but I started to break out in a rash. The rash proceeded to hives, which proceeded to cover my entire body.

I went to the doctor and for whatever reason she thought I had the Australian flu, a particular virulent version going around that year. I continued to take the medication. I now was itching head to foot, slathering myself in calamine and welting up. I couldn’t brush my teeth or hair, wash my face, touch any part of my body without giant welts forming. I was a mess and scared.

The Thursday night (everything had started the previous Saturday/Sunday) I could feel welts in my throat and on my gums. I asked a friend to call me in the morning because I was afraid I wouldn’t wake up. In the morning, luckily I did, but things were not getting better. I called my doctor’s and burst into tears. I went in (the third visit that week) and she gave me an epinephrine shot. Unfortunately I overreact to epinephrine with racing heart, numbness and tunnel vision so she could only give me half a shot.

The shot worked for about a half and hour and then everything continued, so I went back in that afternoon. My doctor sent me over (rushed me in) to the dermatologist’s who asked me about five questions and said I was having a severe drug reaction. He put be on one drug to stop the itching and prednisone to stop the hives and welts.

The problem with the anti-itch drug was that it makes one eat and crave carbohydrates more. The problem with prednisone, a steroid, is that it puts weight on you. Because prednisone takes over for one’s adrenal glands a person cannot quit it right out. Doses must be tapered down so that the adrenal function comes back on. People can die from stopping prednisone cold turkey or screw their adrenaly systems permanently.

It took three weeks for my symptoms to go away. In the process of taking the prednisone I put on 40 pounds in a month, became very round and puffy and grew sideburns. My face was as round as the moon and I got something like zits but closer to cysts on my body. My nails grew longer and straighter than they ever had done and the stuff kept me out of the hospital. It gave me an appreciation for asthmatics who must use prednisone to breathe and the weight problems they must then deal with.

It took about 6 weeks to two months to be tapered off of the drugs. And once off I lost all the weight relatively fast. I also did a four-day juice fast as soon as the drugs were gone. Growing up with an eating disorder had left its mark and the way I was eating while on prednisone scared me. Luckily the eating disorder didn’t resurface.

Unfortunately I was left with some long term and permanent affects of prednisone and amoxycillin. I can no longer take any of the cillins for fear of an adverse reaction. I’ve run into other people who have had severe reactions from amoxycillin and I would caution against it. It contributed directly to the illness of my cat and subsequently his death months later. He had a persistent ear infection and the drug nearly killed him. I stopped it because he wasn’t eating or drinking and was vomiting. I forced water into him but his kidneys were damaged and six months later my very robust cat was dead from cancer. There is no proof that the cancer came from the amoxycillin but he never fully recovered from the amoxycillin.

Prednisone also permanently changed me. My hair had always been bone straight like the rest of my family’s. Now it has a medium wave throughout. I have spots on my body where there had been cysts from the prednisone and they will swell up from time to time. I had, before prednisone, been sensitive to dairy, couldn’t eat oats or lentils, and couldn’t drink grape juice. That was it.

Afterwards, I began to develop itchy red patches on my face, neck and arms. Eventually I had to go to my doctor about this and she sent me to an allergist who was a research doctor. This doctor told me that many food allergies cannot be tested with just the scratch test because if you’re affected by eating, surface areas do not accurately reflect this. I tried a few different diets and we found that I was reacting to foods that contained histamines. So those old cysts would swell up when I had too much and eczema would develop (which is now a chronic condition for me).

Some foods that contain natural histamines are: citrus fruits, all seafood, caffeine, dairy (cheeses, milk, cream, etc.) including whey, casein, milk solids and lactose, eggs, tomatoes, eggplant, pumpkin, spinach, vinegars and fermented foods, alcohols, preservatives such as sodium benzoate, sulphites, sulphates, tartrazine, prepared meats like bacon, salami, sausages, soy and red beans. There may be a few other categories but those are what I remember off the top of my head. And you can be sensitve to some but not all.

The elimination and testing period are long and tedious and I could never stay on it long enough to test everything. But some foods became self evident, such as when I eat vinegar or an orange and get itchy immediately, breaking out in a rash and possibly suffer from diarrhea. I may welt if the citrus touches my skin. I’ll get eczema as well. I’m not just sensitive to dairy now but will bloat, get stomach aches, bags and dark circles under my eyes, and break out–a full allergy.

And in the past year, my once hugely annoying eczema has progressed into rosacea but I’ll talk about that another day. Needless to say this is a cautionary tale about amoxycillin and prednisone and just some fo the things that can go wrong.


1 Comment

Filed under drugs, health care, life, people, science

Why I Need to Marry a Dentist/Orthodontist

I have this tooth. Actually, I have many teeth but this particular one caused me huge grief. It’s a mutant tooth and like most mutations, it’s not particularly useful. Okay, so I’m a mutant, with four kidneys, an extra rib and an extra ankle bone in each foot. None of these bothered me much, except for the rib when I’ve been driving for more than three hours.

Then my tooth started to hurt. It’s crooked, like a few other teeth. I tried to ignore the twinges until they began to linger. Dentistry is expensive and I’ve been trying to save for a crown I needed on another broken tooth. So off I went to my dentist, who took an x-ray and said, “How odd, it looks as if your tooth has two roots.” But she gave it a try.

I should mention that along the way I’ve become overly sensitive to epinephrine. I’ll get a racing heart, tunnel vision, breathing constriction (or it feels like it) and numbing arms. Epinephrine is what makes freezing last when dentists drill into your teeth. No epinephrine means using other types of freezing that don’t last more than an hour. My dentist froze me and started drilling and I started writhing. She couldn’t freeze deep enough so she packed it in and sent me to the specialist.

When I saw the specialist she said, “How unusual. It’s going to cost between $800-1200 for the root canal…” Make that canals. Two three-hour visits later, with a lot of pain…the only way they know when the freezing is coming out is when I start to writhe and whimper… and she said, “Hmmm, I can’t get that second root. We’re going to have to do surgery.”

At that point I had hit the $1200 mark. I said, “I can’t. I have no more money.” They were quoting another $500 for surgery. But they said since my tooth was so unusual they wouldn’t charge me for the surgery. You’d think I’d leap at such a chance to have drills and needles and cutting in my mouth. Needless to say, it was like walking the gangplank with a musket at your back. There really isn’t much choice when your tooth is still hurting.

Now, dental work is never fun and I almost always will feel pain because the freezing seems to come out of the nerves first but will stay in the soft tissue of the lips and nose for several hours. It makes me a bit paranoid. I wouldn’t last very long under torture.

Which brought us to yesterday. I went in at 9:15 and they froze me up with about six shots. I thought, good, I don’t want to feel a thing and having these horrid, not exactly pleasant needles will be all I’ll feel. Should I mention that originally they said the surgery would be quick, less than a half an hour?

Thank god at least the soft tissue was frozen. They cut into the gum on both the distal and lingual sides. I felt like there couldn’t have been any tooth left with all the drilling, digging, pulling, prodding, sawing. I also get TMJ (trans mandibular joint syndrome) so holding my jaw open was its own type of excruciating. It was getting so sore that my jaw was starting to shake.

The types of pain I experienced ranged the whole spectrum; piercing, pinching, deep aching, sharp and deep, throbbing, visceral in ways I can’t describe. I am not exaggerating at all when I say they were having to top up the freezing every five minutes. I lost count at over thirty needles and those were only the ones I felt going into my palette or gum every time. And it barely helped. It seems I metabolize the freezing super quickly.  Hooray for mutant super powers.

Digging out the root, twisted and infected, was its own form of torture. And then she touched the exposed bone. Who knew bone could hurt so much. A deep lingering, shuddering pain that had me crying. I couldn’t help it. After that I was wired so tense with layers of pain that I was shaking head to toe. They gave me a rest and one of the assistants had to guide me to the bathroom because I think I was in shock. I was shaky for about another fifteen minutes, before going back for more dental fun.

They dug, they drilled, they sawed and they tugged. I say they because there were three people with their hands in my mouth. They had to refreeze me to stitch me. As I sat there, (they wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to keel over), the assistant said, “We’re only going to charge you for materials. The surgery would have been $1500 but you need to pay $185.” I should also mention that while I was in Kansas I broke my front tooth…again. It usually last two years but it’s been less than a year.

When I was told I needed to pay another $185, I’m afraid it was the last straw in a traumatic morning. I’d been there for three hours. I couldn’t stop crying, but I tried to hide it, then told the specialist that I wouldn’t be able to pay for a while because I had another broken tooth that had to be fixed. She ended up not charging me, which I thank her for. They said it was the most unusual tooth they’ve ever seen and they look at special cases every single day. Oh joy, to be so abnormal.

Right now, my mouth aches, my gums are swollen and throbbing, and I can only eat mushy stuff. I look like a demented chipmunk, with one cheek so swollen it’s encroaching on my vision because my eyelid is pushed up. I spent yesterday afternoon sleeping, where I kept dreaming that I was sucking on keys and coins against my gum and that it kept hurting my stitches. That’s because even in my sleep I was hurting. I just hope to any gods in existence that the rest of my teeth have nice, healthy normal roots. Now I just have to find money to get the front tooth fixed…again, a crown on my molar, and I would imagine that eventually I need one on the mutant tooth. Should I ever need this type of dental surgery again, I’m gonna have them knock me out.

I won’t even get into the costs for braces in a mouth with several problems. That’s at least $10,000. Know of any single dentist/orthodontists, or better yet, one who wants to do a work of charity?

Leave a comment

Filed under health, health care, humor