Antibiotic provides no relief for UTI, and neither does anything else we try

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My wife started with some medical symptoms monday of this last week. I believe the primary being abdominal discomfort at the time. Halfway through her work day she had to ask to go home she was in such pain. She rested until i got off of work. She said she didnt think she could work like that tomorrow so she wanted to go get a doctors note.

As an aside, she had gallbladder attacks a while back and subsequently had her gallbladder taken out in november. The pain she was having seemed similar to her gallbladder pain, under the right rib cage and radiating to the back. Heat helps.

We went to an urgent care as it was too late in the day to get in at a regular doctors office. We explained the symptoms and the gallbladder removal to the doctor and he pushed on her a bit then left to let the nurse collect some blood and urine. He came back and said he didn't find anything, might just be heart burn, wrote a script for antacid and said to call our regular doctor if symptoms persist. Before he could shoo us out i asked for a doctors note and he looked at me like i was crazy but went and wrote a doctors note for one day.

The way my wife's work handles absences is you lose points for absence, going home early or tardiness, and before your first 90 days with the company the points bank is pretty slim. If you get a doctors note they will forgive any subsequent absence covered by the note but the points taken by calling in sick or going home early are still gone.

After the urgent care we went to the almost closed pharmacy and got her antacid prescription filled, picked up food, ate and went to bed. This was already well past our normal bed time and i couldnt sleep right away. Then she started tossing and turning in her sleep, which kept me from sleeping much until the reason for the tossing and turning became apparent. She woke up in tremendous pain and asked me to help her to the bathroom. She couldn't stand up straight and after she urinated she sat down and rested her head on the toilet seat thinking she was about to throw up. She was sweaty and clammy. After we made it back to the bedroom she asked me to take her to the ER so i got some things packed and got her dressed and we headed off. The time she woke up was about 3:15am, and the urgent care visit was about 7pm the previous day. About 8 hours of time difference.

The ER was desolate, 1 person in the waiting room. Somehow it still took forever to be seen. At least 45 minutes. Meanwhile she rated her pain as an 8 out of 10, worse than anything she experienced from the gallbladder issues. After we got in, and got to talk to a doctor we explained how the pain resembled gallbladder pain and so the doctor ordered an ultrasound to look for stones in her bile duct that may have been left behind during surgery, and apparently they looked at other internal organs while doing it too. Eventually the ER doctor came back and said no stones, but she did have a pretty bad UTI. My wife's mother texted and said to request a shot of rocefin so we did and the doctor obliged, and wrote us a prescription for cipro 500mg(twice daily)and promethazine. They put the rocefin in her IV but then hurried us out before the bag was even fully empty. The pain in the ER had warranted morphine injections but somehow they didnt even release us with a day or two worth of pain medicine. When asked the discharging nurse said to alternate tylenol and ibuprofen. They also didnt give us a doctors note in the release packet of papers. When going to the same ER for her gallbladder attacks prior to the surgery we were discharged with pain meds and a doctors note for multiple days without even asking. She wasnt even employed then.

After leaving in what was now the late morning, we went home, and after i got her settled i took the prescriptions and dropped them off at the pharmacy(ER wont call them in to save you time) then later went back and picked them up. She didnt want to be away from me so she went with me to pick them up and we had to stop at the store to pick up some things. She was in such rough shape that I had to push her around the store on a cart because she was walking like a little old lady and we would have been there all night. by the time we got home and she got her first does of oral antibiotic in it was into the evening already. Had the urgent care center caught this she could have started antibiotics 24 hours sooner and maybe wouldve had better results. That is my first of many bones to pick. Somehow she went from nothing to "really bad uti" in 8 hours, and the urgent care doctor seemed very hurried and dismissive. Between the two doctors so far wed probably talked to a doctor for 10 minutes combined. The ER doctor didnt stop to say if they cultured the infection, what part of her urinary tract was infected, or explain what she meant by "really bad".

I should pause here and say that were pretty sure where the UTI came from and its probably my fault and makes me feel like a monster. It was freakishly warm for january this last weekend so we went backpacking and i forgot to pack any wipes, so both of us ended up using leaves to clean up and also there was some tent bound coitus that took place. Im sure something in that scenario led to this and its my fault. I should also mention she has none of the classic uti symptoms. No urgency to pee or frequent urination, no burning when she pees.

Wednesday rolled around and she could barely get up but none the less soldiered on. I gave her 8 hour slow release tylenol arthritis, 1300mg. It helped a little for maybe 2 hours. She went to work but by 3/4 of the way through the day she had to request to go home. After i got off of work i went to the pharmacy and bought AVO maximum strength and AVO urinary tract defense which have different active ingredients and the later actually claims to have an anti-bacterial agent in it. I also got some cranberry urinary tract health captlets that have concentrated cranberry, probiotics, vitamin c, and calcium. I drove to the ER and asked for a doctors note. The charge nurse reviewed her previous visit and wrote her a doctors note....for the previous day(tuesday) which is no help at all... I asked nicely if they could write a longer doctors note and was told no.

I went home and started her cycling the over the counter stuff and she had already been increasing her water intake. When morning rolled around she reluctantly got up and soldiered on once again. She works in a factory btw so its not an easy job even when youre at 100%. She called her gynecologist who she has known for years to explain the situstion and ask if she could get a doctors note. She also said no. She kept texting me on her breaks that the tylenol and avo were useless. We had tried including ibuprofen in the mix but she couldnt tell that even 600mg made a difference and you have to eat before taking ibuprofen and sometimes she was too nauseous to eat. She asked me to come meet her for lunch so i left my office for lunch, picked up some food and met her for lunch. She wasnt interested in food and just sat and cried. The only reason she stayed is the limited points situation and that day they had a safety meeting in the after noon which she could sit for.

After i got off of work i called a urologist and begged for an emergency visit so they scheduled us for the following afternoon. Friday morning she went to work but halfway thriugh the day she had to call it quits. She is now out of points and will be fired if she leaves early, shows up 1 minute late, or calls in sick, 1 more time in the next 35 days.

We went to the urologist appointment, who had pulled her records and she tried to piece things together from what we told her and what she could see in the files. I asked and she confirmed that the ER did do a culture and the cipro should be effective, but still didnt tell me what the culture found. Apparently the ultra sound had showed no signs of any swelling in internal organs that might indicate some specific conditions. I think there was some blood in her urine so they ordered an xrsy of her abdomen to look for kidney stones. This came back negative but the urologist noted that her bowels looked to be filled up with gas and asked when she last pooped, which was sunday. She said this could be worsening the UTI symptoms and recommended miralax or warm prune juice. She then ordered another shot of rocefin(1 gram) and switched her from the cipro to generic bactrim DS 800mg-160mg even though she said the cipro should work for that infection. She ordered another culture and scheduled a followup visit. The urologist was by far the most attentive doctor weve seen this week and spent the most time with us but when asked for a doctors note we were once again left hanging. She said they couldnt write a doctors note for longer than 3 days, which wint help with the points loss from friday and she doesnt work saturday or sunday, so useless.

I dont understand this, in the usa a doctors note is just a piece of paper, they arent a legally binding contract, they aren't a controlled substance, you cant use them exclusively to claim disability benefits, the employer isnt going to sue, there is nothing really to come back on the doctor and this is reflected in my own personal experience and that of others ive known where doctors are usually very giving with doctors notes. I dont understand this stinginess and watching my wife all hunched over and waddling into work is making me rather angry.

It is now saturday, the miralax and prune juice havent done their job yet, she has been on antibiotics for 5 days, oral and 2 doses of injected rocefin(one IV and the other in the hip) with zero improvement in her symptoms, she is still in so much pain its difficult to sleep or lay down, working is agony. She has also been on her period and fighting a mild head cold this whole time. This morning she woke up in agony at 5am, groaning and rolling around trying to get comfortable and i gave her another dose of antibiocs(per the twice daily schedule) tylenol and a promethazine which knocked her out for a while so she could actually get some rest but she cant take something that makes her drowsy while working in a factory.

From what i understand most UTIs dont result in this kind of pain and the worst symptom after starting antibiotics is usually urgency to urinate which she doesnt even have, shes only peeing more because she is drinking more as instructed. I dont understand what is happening, has it moved into her kidneys and for some reason the doctors arent taking it as seriously as they should? Is something else going on here?

Im sick now which is making it harder to take care of her, as a cherry on top, someone slammed their car door into my car at the urologist's office and drove off while we were being seen. I feel like im at my wits end, all i can do is sit and watch her suffer and if she doesnt go to work monday she will lose her job and her insurance.

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    I read all of this, and I am so sorry to hear everything you both are going through.  Unfortunately these issues especially with women can be tough to diagnose because there are so many things that can cause these symtoms.  As sick as she sounded it almost sounded to be a kidney infection.  The fact that cipro isn't working which is a broad spectrum antibiotic makes one wonder if there is an infection or a bacteria.....did they find what was in the culture?  They found blood, did they find white blood count in the urine, that is a indicator of an infection.  You mentioned she has her period, that alone can bring on a lot of issues, usually a week before PMS a woman's body is rigging up for menstration which brings the immune system down, it is not uncommon to feel cold and yucky.....I am not suggesting that is what is causing all of this, but I wonder more if there is some other type of infection going on like vaginal? or endometriosis, these can cause pain.  I know it sounds like you both have done a lot, unfortuately a lot of us women have to go through months, and months of doctors visits to find out the cause and even then it may not be.  When tests come back negative the doctors have nothing to work with, however I feel they should keep testing until they come up with a cause of pain, as pain is not normal and usually is an indicatior that somehting is not right in the body.  Has she had any blood tests done to rule out infection in the blood?

  • Posted

    We finally got this resolved. She had a UTI but obviously it wasn't the main issue here. She'd been in a lot of abdominal pain and nauseous all through this. A day after I posted this she started itching. The prune juice and miralax weren't working to move her bowels so I got a fleet enema and administered it and she pooped, and her stool was extremely pale. Monday she went to work and suffered through the whole day because she had no choice and after work i picked her up and after i ran a few errands I looked at her and noticed her eyes were yellow. I called the urologist and they suggested that I call the pharmacist to check for drug interactions or allergies. I called the pharmacist and the pharmacist said that it could be an allergy but i should also call the urologist back before stopping the antibiotic. Meanwhile i was googling and saw all these symptoms as belonging to jaudice and the common cause is inability for the liver to release it's bile. I called the pharmacist back and now told them about the pale stool that i hadn't previously connected as related and they said we should go to the ER.

    So to the ER we went and they did blood tests and her bilirubin was 5x higher than normal, another ultrasound showed a dilated bile duct, so they admitted her and scheduled an MRI for the morning. The MRI revealed a stone and they had her under anesthesia doing the scope by noon. The GI doctor used the scope to expand the bile duct, put in a stint, and remove a 1/4" gallstone from the duct. 

    She got a mild flare up of pancreatitis from the procedure but that has settled down mostly and she is likely to be discharged soon today 2/2/2017. It's lovely that we spent a week treating an unrelated UTI that obviously shouldn't have been the cause of so much pain in that specific area right by the liver.

    • Posted

      Oh my goodness!!!!!  That poor woman!!!! I am so glad that you all got to the bottom of it, she suffered a lot.  Good for you both for not giving up.  Wishing her a speedy recovery now that everything has been resolved!  Thanks for the update!

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