Strong Independent Woman That Don’t Need No Armpits (Part 3)
The Tale of Dr. Homeboy
In Part 2, we left off at the part where I got butchered by a general surgeon, and things were crappy. After the surgery, my arms were barely healing and I was still getting more flares. At this point, I could tell Dr. Quack was not going to help me feel better and I didn’t know what to do. I decided I wanted to try and see a dermatologist, ya know, the type of doctor I wanted to see from the start. I called my lousy PCP and explained what happened with the surgery and how I was still suffering. She agreed to send over a referral to a dermatologist and I thanked her greatly. I was so excited and thought maybe this would finally help! (spoiler alert: it didn’t.)
Seeing a dermatologist for my hidradenitis suppurativa
I made an appointment with the dermatologist and went to my first appointment. After I checked in at the reception desk and waited for half an hour, I was told that my PCP’s office never sent over a referral and I can’t see the doctor until this office gets it. I felt so defeated and was trying so hard not to cry. I was coming in late to work for this appointment and the longer I was here, the less hours I would be working, which means less money I’m making for the week. I was a mixture of pure anger and sadness and called my PCP’s office to ask about the missing referral. The nurse I spoke to (after being on hold for 15 minutes) looked at my file and said they had nothing in it saying to send a referral. I was so upset and angry and finally, after another half an hour, the referral finally came into the dermatologist’s office through the fax machine.
In the end, I was waiting for nothing but that’s what Hidradenitis is; trial and error. While the doctor was nice and knew that it was Hidradenitis (always a plus), she didn’t actually treat me and instead sort of just helped me live weekly with the disease. I saw her for about a year, and the entire time she had me on antibiotics. It was also during this time that I found out I’m allergic to four different antibiotics. What fun! It was a ton of fun to learn and now I’m oodles of fun for doctors trying to prescribe something!
Was I wasting my time?
The conversation usually goes something like:
Doctor: “Do you have any medical allergies?”
Me: “Oh yes! Minocycline, penicillin, sulfamethoxazole, and oral clindamycin!”
Doctor: “Wait, what?” *looks in disbelief* *furiously tries to write them all down*
Me: “Do you want to see my medical alert bracelet? It might be easier for you to copy them down.”
Doctor: “Let me see, please. Oh, this is a cool bracelet!” *writes down allergies* *reads over list* *brow furrows* *stares off into space in contemplation*
After finally finding an antibiotic that didn’t make me break out in hives, I was put on it for many months straight. I was never told that I should be taking probiotics if I’m using antibiotics and my stomach was getting destroyed. The antibiotics also didn’t even stop my flares from coming so I’m not sure what the point really was for being on them for so long. On top of the oral antibiotics, I would go see the dermatologist every 2 weeks and she would open and inject my new flares with some type of antibiotic solution. Nothing worked, though, and they just kept coming. It seemed like I was wasting my time, my money, and my emotional stability.
Have you shared your HS story?