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Doctors: my friends, my enemies

Last week I took myself and my son to the surgery to see our GP. My son had a chest cold and I had a sore throat. My son got off the hook with the routine statement about babies getting an average of six colds a season lasting a few weeks each(….hmmmm….so basically all winter your baby will have a snotty nose {the things they don’t tell you…}) I, on the other hand, was strongly urged to have a flu shot as I’m on the high-risk list. While the doctor made a very convincing case for me to get the the shot and explained the highly unlikely side effects, I made the choice to get the shot with ambivalence (yes, they’re full of eggs).

This year they have merged the traditional flu shot with the swine flu vaccination (chicken eggs AND pigs, what a combination) and about 24 hours after getting the shot I couldn’t get out of bed and had all the signs of a full blown bronchial infection. What was stranger was my massively swollen arm where I’d gotten the shot the day before. I spent the next couple of days in bed before starting to feel better, but meanwhile, my arm was deteriorating quickly with the range of motion decreasing by the day.

Today I reached my pain threshold, realizing that my arm basically was in paralysis due to the pain. I went back to the doctor, and they couldn’t figure out what was going on. There was no longer pain at the site of the injection, but my rotator cuff seemed to be the fulcrum of the pain. It was a mystery to them; they’d never seen such a strong reaction to the shot, and after 5 days was still getting worse.

I was sent off to hospital to get an ultrasound and potential guided steroid injection. The ultrasound revealed that the rotator cuff was intact (whew!) but the glenohumeral joint appeared to be inflamed and arthritic. The doctor suspected some type of rheumatic reaction, but despite this he gave me some injections of cortisone to see if it would ease the pain. The plan is that tomorrow I’m due to check in and if pain hasn’t subsided, I’m off to see the rheumatologist.  In the meantime, the local anesthesia means that I can type and change nappies again, so I’m in business!

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