Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lung Infection - Part 4

I took the blood test for the Quantiferon TB Gold on 24th August. Thankfully I did not black out after my blood was drawn as the previous times. I took the very first blood test in February 2008 for some other cause and I almost black out about 15 minutes after the doctor drew my blood out from my arms. As I could still remember, my vision became blurred, my entire body was tingling and I felt nauseous for about 5 minutes.


The same thing happened again on 12th August 2010 when I took a blood test in General Hospital. Fortunately, I have reached home by then and I was untying my shoelaces when it suddenly happened. 30 minutes after the blood test, my vision was blurred, my body was tingling, I felt nauseous, I turned white as if I have seen a ghost, and I was sweating profusely as if someone has sprayed water on my entire body. I quickly took a bite of a bun that I have in my bag and I tried to chew and to swallow what I have put into my mouth but I could not. The bun remained in my mouth and I couldn't do anything. At that time, I felt like my entire body has shut down. I was sitting by the door and I couldn't move at all. This time the incident lasted for about 10 long minutes.

The lesson learnt was that I should have eaten something before or immediately after the blood test. On 24th August, I ate some Bee Hoon before I left for Island Hospital. I took the blood test and I went home and nothing happened. Phew! Thankfully!

On 26th August, I came back to the hospital to see the doctor for the results. There are crowds in Island Hospital but it is not as bad as General Hospital where you might have to wait for hours before the doctor sees you. Of course, in Island Hospital, you still have to wait for a couple of minutes before you can see the doctor because the business is good over there.

So I was waiting anxiously to find out whether the blood test result is positive or negative. And finally the nurse called my name to come in. It is time.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lung infection - Part 3

I shall rename the post as Lung infection instead of tuberculosis for reasons which I will reveal to you in the future.

Finally I decided to go to a private hospital on 23rd August. I choose Island Hospital because it is the only private hospital in Penang who provides the QuantiFERON TB Gold blood test!! You can choose to have your blood drawn in other hospitals like Pantai Hospital but they will still send your blood to the laboratory in Island Hospital for them to conduct the test. So I thought I might as well see a doctor in Island Hospital if the test is only provided there.

Thankfully there is a respiratory specialist in Island Hospital. Certain other private hospitals in Penang do not have any respiratory specialist.

The respiratory specialist in Island is Dr L. She seems to be a nice doctor. As usual, she listened to my breathing through the stethoscope, check my temperature, check my body, check my lymph nodes etc etc... Unfortunately, I couldn't show my x-ray to her because the General Hospital was keeping my x-ray and they earlier refused my requests to take it out, even temporarily. What I have to do is to buy the x-ray out from General Hospital and I had to pay RM50 to make it mine.

On that same day after I have managed to buy out the x-ray from GH, I went back to Island Hospital to show it to her. She looked at it and said that it looks like an infection and she advised me to do the bronchoscopy. Yikesss...bronchoscopy.

Trying to avoid the bronchoscopy I said that I will do the QuantiFERON TB Gold blood test first and we will see from there. In Island Hospital, the QuantiFERON TB Gold blood test is only performed every Wednesday to keep costs low to make it affordable to the patients. So the doctor told me that I have to come back the next day which is a Tuesday to have my blood drawn so that they can do the test on Wednesday.

Anyway, the consultation fee is RM80! And they charged registration fee at RM15!
Total bill = RM95. Everything lasted just about an hour. What a lucrative business. Hmmm.....I think I should have studied medicine 10 years ago.

The next day on 24th August, I went to the Hospital again to have my blood drawn. People will always say that taking a blood test is not painful, just like a bite of an ant. Nooooo....it is painful! Even an ant bite is painful! The pain maybe lasted for 20-30 seconds I think, but it is still painful. The cost for the QuantiFERON TB Gold blood test is RM310. Wow!! I could have bought three textbooks for that. I have so many books on my wishlist that I wanted to buy and RM310 is gone.

I was anxious to know the blood test results. Could I have TB? I will see the doctor again on 26th August to find out the results.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Tuberculosis Journey Part 2

I went to see the doctor yesterday (19th August). This time they gave me a female doctor, a different doctor from my first visit. What's wrong with General Hospital???

On my first visit on 12th August, they seem to be provide a very nice service. An intern was assigned to me to diagnose me. I told her my entire story about my coughing and she wrote it down in a piece of paper and she later presented the diagnosis to her boss, a male doctor. He is the head of the respiratory department of GH. The intern told me that he is the best chest specialist in Penang. Hmm...not bad.

On my second visit yesterday, I got a different doctor instead, unfortunately. She checked my chest x-ray, listen to my story, measure my weight, and checked my blood test results. The blood test I took last week was just a general blood test, not to check for TB. She told me nothing is wrong with my blood. Everything seems ok. She then asked me whether I'm keen on bronchoscopy. Bronchoscopy!!! Yikes!!!!!!!

What is bronchoscopy? It is a medical procedure where a doctor will insert a tube down your throat through your nostrils. The purpose is to check for those stuff in your lungs. Yikes!!!!! It is one effective way to check what has infected my lungs. But it will be uncomfortable and irritating. That was what the doctor said. Yikes!!!

Doctor V: Are you keen on doing a bronchoscopy?
Gabriel: Noooooooooooooo
Doctor V: I will set an appointment next month
Gabriel: Next week?
Doctor V: No, next month. It will be on 30th September.
Gabriel: (WTF...next month!!! 30th September!!! I might die by then....) Of course I just said it in my head.
Doctor V: We will monitor your culture of your sputum meanwhile.
Gabriel: (Still mumbling in the head.......WTF...Next month!!!!!!!)
Gabriel: Oh...ok. I will see you next month.

I'm going to a private hospital next week to do the QuantiFERON TB Gold blood test. I don't understand why this blood test is not provided by GH. I need to do this blood test to check whether I have TB or not. Alternatively, I can do the bronchoscopy to check for TB....yikes!!!! No no no no noooooooooooooo.

Before I leave GH, I asked the nurse in GH whether I can take out my chest x-ray to bring it home.

Gabriel: Boleh saya ambil x-ray pergi private hospital for second opinion
Nurse: Eh...tak boleh. Ini government....tak boleh ambil pi private.
Gabriel: (Bodoh!!!&#@@#@ GH)

Okaaayyy, looks like I have to take the chest x-ray again in a private hospital. That's not good. Taking too many chest x-ray will expose you to radiation. It is certainly no good. Stupid GH.

That's my experience yesterday at the respiratory department in GH.
QuantiFERON TB Gold blood test, here I come.....

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Tuberculosis Journey Part 1

I've not written anything here for a very long time. I have been hit by a writer's block, perhaps.So let's start writing. This shall be the start of the Tuberculosis (TB) journey.

I have been coughing since (if I could remember exactly) I would say 22nd May. It started as a dry cough. The dry cough went on for about two weeks and suddenly I started to cough out phlegm on the third week on 6th June. That was good. Having the phlegm was good because a dry cough is just irritating. It was a terrible week because I was having an exam that week!!

On the fourth week, the cough went violent and I began to have barking cough. Yea, barking like a dog while I'm coughing. What am I suffering from, I wonder.

This went on until 8th July when the cough began to subside, strangely. But the cough came back on 14th July, strangely again. So, the cough continues until today.

Starting August, my phlegm turns yellow and bloody, and I started to get slight fever now and then. This is the typical symptoms of TB. The one common symptom that I don't have is night sweats, where you will sweat profusely while you are sleeping to the extent that the bedsheet will be soaked with your sweat. Thankfully I don't suffer from that.

I went to see a general practitioner on 4th August and doctor told me it could be TB based on the chest x-ray I took. My heart sank...blooob. TB is an incurable disease until the 1940s when scientists discovered some antibiotics which could kill the TB bacteria.

I took the Tuberculin skin test on 6th August and the result was negative. I don't know why. My sputum samples were negative as well. Perhaps, the samples were weak.

I was referred to a specialist to the General Hospital and I went to see him on 12th August. He also suspected it is TB. I took the blood test on that day and I hate blood test very much! It is painful!....even though for 20 seconds.

So now I'm waiting for the results of the blood test. I hope it is positive so that I can start taking the medicines and get it done with this TB.

If it is negative....sigh...what could it be then? Then I have to take more test and that certainly sucks.

I hope I could get well again or I risk my gf running away from me because I keep falling sick.
I felt bad too that I couldn't celebrate her birthday because I'm not feeling well to hang out with her. I also get worried so much not for myself but for her, whether I have infected her.

I hope by this Thursday, the blood results will be out. I will wait.

Part 2 coming soon...