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ER visit, puzzling symptoms

belize44

Senior Member
Messages
1,646
I started to have pain in the upper left abdominal quadrant last Tuesday. It started as just tender when touched, but as the the evening progressed it began to be stabbing, sharp pains. Then, as I was getting ready for bed, the pains began to get unbearable; it felt as if someone were stabbing me in that area (just beneath my left rib cage.). I looked in my old anatomy book and saw that it was pretty close to where my spleen would be located so I grew concerned and went into the ER. Tests were performed, while I writhed in agony; urinalysis, blood drawn, CAT scan with contrast dye of abdomen, chest X ray, EKG.

The doctor suspected an ulcer but I have never had one and take GERD medication daily. She gave me a "GI cocktail, composed of antacid and a numbing agent. There was no relief, so next they gave me Morphine (which I really don't like because it feels like I am dying) and still the pain persisted. Finally towards dawn, they added 5 mg of Valium (which is way too much for me) and finally the pain started to relent. Just before being discharged, the doctor suspected shingles. I did recall having an episode of intense itching in that same spot about a month ago, and having to apply cortisone cream. The itching finally subsided, but then I started having flank pain and cloudy urine. No infection was discovered then, and nothing was found to have caused this pain either.

Worse, I am still drugged four days later, and very weak. Any speculations on what this could have been? I feel that if it had been shingles I would have broken out in a rash which I didn't. I am very puzzled.
 
Messages
10,157
I started to have pain in the upper left abdominal quadrant last Tuesday. It started as just tender when touched, but as the the evening progressed it began to be stabbing, sharp pains. Then, as I was getting ready for bed, the pains began to get unbearable; it felt as if someone were stabbing me in that area (just beneath my left rib cage.). I looked in my old anatomy book and saw that it was pretty close to where my spleen would be located so I grew concerned and went into the ER. Tests were performed, while I writhed in agony; urinalysis, blood drawn, CAT scan with contrast dye of abdomen, chest X ray, EKG.

The doctor suspected an ulcer but I have never had one and take GERD medication daily. She gave me a "GI cocktail, composed of antacid and a numbing agent. There was no relief, so next they gave me Morphine (which I really don't like because it feels like I am dying) and still the pain persisted. Finally towards dawn, they added 5 mg of Valium (which is way too much for me) and finally the pain started to relent. Just before being discharged, the doctor suspected shingles. I did recall having an episode of intense itching in that same spot about a month ago, and having to apply cortisone cream. The itching finally subsided, but then I started having flank pain and cloudy urine. No infection was discovered then, and nothing was found to have caused this pain either.

Worse, I am still drugged four days later, and very weak. Any speculations on what this could have been? I feel that if it had been shingles I would have broken out in a rash which I didn't. I am very puzzled.

I can't even begin to guess. There so many more GI things other than an ulcer. They should have ordered some kind of follow-up. Hope you find some answers. I am surprised they gave you morphine which shuts the bowel down which could have exacerbated things. :hug::hug::hug:
 

belize44

Senior Member
Messages
1,646
I can't even begin to guess. There so many more GI things other than an ulcer. They should have ordered some kind of follow-up. Hope you find some answers. I am surprised they gave you morphine which shuts the bowel down which could have exacerbated things. :hug::hug::hug:
I was surprised too, that they would give me Valium; not only that, to give it a couple of hours later on top of the Morphine. I guess the Dr. was feeling it was alright to do that since I had not experienced relief from the GI cocktail, which she said would mostly rule out gastro issues. I read about shingles and some of the symptoms (intense itching then stabbing pain) mimics that disorder, but there were no visible signs of it after that. :confused:
 

belize44

Senior Member
Messages
1,646
@belize44 I have no idea if it was shingles but you can get it without any visible rash and it's called herpete sine zoster.
That's interesting! My husband gets something like shingles but it presents differently. First he will get this sort of aura, then discomfort in the bowels, then these raised red blisters will erupt. He usually takes a Benedryl at the first sign of it, and it usually subsides within twenty four hours. I wonder if mine was just internal.
 

Gingergrrl

Senior Member
Messages
16,171
That's interesting! My husband gets something like shingles but it presents differently. First he will get this sort of aura, then discomfort in the bowels, then these raised red blisters will erupt. He usually takes a Benedryl at the first sign of it, and it usually subsides within twenty four hours. I wonder if mine was just internal.

It's hard to say, and I have never had it myself, but about 1-2 yrs ago I thought it was possible I had it b/c I had something around my left eye (pain and angiodema without rash) so eye doctor put me on Famvir for about a week as a precaution at that time. Nothing further happened and it went away so my eye doctor ultimately felt that it was not herpete sine zoster but b/c it was near the eye, she took it very seriously. If you Google it, they give a pretty good description which says that doctors often miss it which delays treatment w/anti-virals b/c there is no rash.
 

5150

Senior Member
Messages
360
perhaps SIBO ? for you, not your husband; haven't heard about "blisters" associated with SIBO. Dr. Axe has good info on his site.

I had similar issue as yours.---> Donna Gates has a probiotic that she says stops SIBO, called Thrive. / and the VSL#3 probiotic saved me.

you lucked out in the ER , that they gave you powerful pain help. that's unusual.

best wishes.
 

belize44

Senior Member
Messages
1,646
It's hard to say, and I have never had it myself, but about 1-2 yrs ago I thought it was possible I had it b/c I had something around my left eye (pain and angiodema without rash) so eye doctor put me on Famvir for about a week as a precaution at that time. Nothing further happened and it went away so my eye doctor ultimately felt that it was not herpete sine zoster but b/c it was near the eye, she took it very seriously. If you Google it, they give a pretty good description which says that doctors often miss it which delays treatment w/anti-virals b/c there is no rash.
I have read about this and it was somewhat alarming to think that I might have had that and it went undetected. I had been getting a dull ache behind my eyes but again that seems to be passing too.
 

belize44

Senior Member
Messages
1,646
perhaps SIBO ? for you, not your husband; haven't heard about "blisters" associated with SIBO. Dr. Axe has good info on his site.

I had similar issue as yours.---> Donna Gates has a probiotic that she says stops SIBO, called Thrive. / and the VSL#3 probiotic saved me.

you lucked out in the ER , that they gave you powerful pain help. that's unusual.

best wishes.
I would say that I shouldn't have used the word blisters, because in my husband's case it was more like raised red welts. And yes, I lucked out in ER but I took the advice someone else offered on this site and kept my husband with me. When there is a witness, they are a lot kinder; the time last year when I went to the ER with severe pain they were not nice at all, and my husband had decided to sit in the waiting room.
 

Gingergrrl

Senior Member
Messages
16,171
I have read about this and it was somewhat alarming to think that I might have had that and it went undetected. I had been getting a dull ache behind my eyes but again that seems to be passing too.

I guess if it comes back (the body pain or the eye pain), you could get it checked out again and ask your doctor if he or she thinks it would be appropriate to do a week of anti-virals as a precaution.

Edit: from what I remember reading, it seems to often be on just one side of the body.
 

belize44

Senior Member
Messages
1,646
Yes, the dull pain behind my eyes was going on for about a week but that was of course both eyes. But the itching and then pain was on the left side of the body. I will certainly ask about antivirals if it happens again!
 
Messages
5
I started to have pain in the upper left abdominal quadrant last Tuesday. It started as just tender when touched, but as the the evening progressed it began to be stabbing, sharp pains. Then, as I was getting ready for bed, the pains began to get unbearable; it felt as if someone were stabbing me in that area (just beneath my left rib cage.). I looked in my old anatomy book and saw that it was pretty close to where my spleen would be located so I grew concerned and went into the ER. Tests were performed, while I writhed in agony; urinalysis, blood drawn, CAT scan with contrast dye of abdomen, chest X ray, EKG.

The doctor suspected an ulcer but I have never had one and take GERD medication daily. She gave me a "GI cocktail, composed of antacid and a numbing agent. There was no relief, so next they gave me Morphine (which I really don't like because it feels like I am dying) and still the pain persisted. Finally towards dawn, they added 5 mg of Valium (which is way too much for me) and finally the pain started to relent. Just before being discharged, the doctor suspected shingles. I did recall having an episode of intense itching in that same spot about a month ago, and having to apply cortisone cream. The itching finally subsided, but then I started having flank pain and cloudy urine. No infection was discovered then, and nothing was found to have caused this pain either.

Worse, I am still drugged four days later, and very weak. Any speculations on what this could have been? I feel that if it had been shingles I would have broken out in a rash which I didn't. I am very puzzled.

ER visits are rough unless you have something obvious (read broken bone). I’d definitely follow up with your primary.
Just out of curiosity did they check for gallstones?

And I have had shingles a number of times. It is odd he would suggest it at the end. The shingles rash is very specific - not welts but blisters & insanely itchy. Don’t think the cortisol cream would have touched it. As I understand it, shingles ‘bloom’ in times of stress. The virus lives in nerve endings and when our immune system is weak the virus goes to town.

My husband has something similar to yours - the welts. We think it might be a mast cell issue.

Hope you get some clarity from your primary, my heart goes out to you for enduring the ER.