I am a 38 year old female. I started getting kidney stones when I was 17 years old - almost all of which have been in my left kidney. I was in an auto-accident six years ago and injured my upper back and neck, and after trying numerous medications, was placed on methadone for pain by a pain specialist. My highest dose of methadone was 90mg. About 3 months ago, I decided to go off the methadone - it didn't make me pain-free, and I don't like taking narcotics and feeling dopey. I have been weaning off of it and am down to 10mg/day and will be completely off methadone by the end of the month. I don't drink alcohol or use drugs recreationally, and never have.
For six days, I have been suffering from left kidney (flank) pain, which has become progressively more painful. I have also had terrible dizzy spells - to the point that just moving my eyes causes me to feel like the room is whirling, and I am going to pass out (I did lose consciousness once as a result). Two days ago, I started having severe stomach pains
(lower left area near my bellybutton) and I began vomiting and having diarrhea. It started intermittently around 11am, and by 1pm, I was burning up and soaked in sweat, having chest pains, shortness of breath, and throwing up liquid/bile and simultaneously having (liquid) diarrhea (it felt like food poisoning, only I have not been able to eat much since this started, and there was nothing I digested that could have been tainted.) The flank pain and vomiting and diarrhea were so bad that I could barely even call for help. I finally managed to get to my teen's bedroom and ask them to take me to the ER.
By the time I got to the ER, I was screaming from the pain - no matter how hard I tried to breathe and stay calm, I just couldn't - at one point, my boyfriend told me I was begging for help, and saying I wanted to die -something I (thankfully) don't remember. Since then, my family and boyfriend told me that the ER staff were not sympathetic - they said I was told to 'suck it up' and 'shut up' and when I said I was having chest pains and felt like I couldn't breathe, one of them yelled at me that if I could cry I could breathe. Apparently, the ER doctor also said he wasn't going to bother trying to get my pain under control because I take methadone, and 'methadone users have a high tolerance to drugs' - which isn't true in my case (I don't know about other people on methadone, but the few times I have been on pain medication - like when I had to take vicodin after having a tooth pulled, I've never needed an extra high dose, and it has always knocked my pain - and me! - out.) I'm glad I was so far gone from the pain that I didn't recognize their cruelty - no one deserves to be treated like that.
Once they got me to a room, they started an IV, checked my blood and did a CT scan of my abdomin and kidneys and said there was no kidney stone. My white blood cells were elevated. While there, I vomited until nothing was left and then had dry heaves. I also had diarrhea (and had to use a bedpan and be wiped like an infant - a horribly embarassing experience, compounded by the fact that my daughter, her boyfriend, and my boyfriend were there.) They took samples of the diarrhea and my urine, but did not test them: when I was discharged, they were still sitting on the counter in my room, and two days later I have not received any results from the tests - my boyfriend said my urine looked like dark beer and had white flakes in it.) My blood pressure was high (I have had high blood pressure off and on for a few years now), and remained high the entire time I was there. I was told to take ibuprofin and given a prescription for suppositores to prevent vomiting.
When my boyfriend asked why I wasn't being given anything for my pain, the nurse said it was because nothing was wrong with me. He pointed out that clearly *something* was wrong - I was obviously hurting, vomiting and having diarrhea, and the nurse asked if we wanted to talk to the doctor again. I just said no - that it wasn't like we could change his mind, and she shrugged and left.
About a year ago, I had similar symptoms, although no where near as severe as now. I went to the ER (same one as this time), and was told there was nothing wrong with me, when a CT scan showed no stone. I've had similar episodes over the past few years (again, mild compared to this one), all of which eventually went away. I've also had several unpleasant experiences having kidney stones removed going all the way back to my first stone at 17 years old, and as a result, I avoid urologists and going to the ER unless I absolutely have to. I have passed kidney stones with no pain medication (the worst was one in which it felt as though I literally 'squeezed' it out of my urethra), and typically just see a doctor for infections (kidney, bladder, UTI) to get antibiotics.
I am also currently in between primary care doctors - after a doctor botched a minor surgery on my son and we complained, we were both told not to return, and have since been sent letters stating that the medical group is denying us any care.
The ER doctor told me to follow up with my doctor the day after my ER visit, and when I told him I didn't have a doctor, he gave me the name of one. I called several doctors the next day, but none would see me that day, since I was not an established patient (even though I told them the ER doctor said I needed to be seen within 24 hours). The ibuprofin has done *nothing* to ease my flank pain, and if I try to eat, I have horrible stomach pains immediately, with gas and (again) liquid diarrhea. I am also experiencing urinary frequency and discomfort when urinating (this started after I left the ER.) I've tried hot baths, heating pads, ice packs, meditation, anything I can think of to ease some of the pain, and nothing helps. My friends and family keep saying I should go to a different ER and not tell them I am on methadone - they think I would have been treated better if the doctor and nurses didn't know I was taking it - and insist on being treated until they find what is wrong. But, I don't want to lie to the hospital staff, and knowing how I was treated (and having had similar treatment in the past), I am too scared to try again.
In the meantime, I am not able to function or eat, and I am miserable. I am feeling like no one believes me that there is something wrong. I've scoured the internet for my symptoms, but other than seeing that a lot of people have had similar problems (kidney pain, no kidney stone, abdominal pain, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, and elevated white blood cell count), I haven't found anything that says, 'this is what is wrong with you'.
I'm sorry this is so long - I'm hoping that these symptoms might sound familiar to someone, or that someone might have some advice on how to get appropriate care or relieve some of the pain I am experiencing.