Friday, February 27, 2009

The Dreaded PseudoExacerbation

Normally, I let the Carnival of MS Bloggers sit at the top of the page for at least two days. But today, I wanted to share something REALLY IMPORTANT.

Pseudoexacerbation brought on by Urinary Tract Infection.

If you read my post Tuesday about Comprehensive Rehabilitation, then you know I've been attending twice weekly physical therapy sessions. I have been gaining strength, endurance, and coordination. I was feeling good!!

That is until Wednesday. I woke up t.i.r.e.d and fatigued. It did not get any better throughout the day. I suffered through teaching my afternoon students, stopped for dinner, then canceled my final hour-long lesson of the day.

Thursday I woke up hoping to feel better. I tried really hard to WILL myself into feeling better. I even got my butt into PT only to be asked, "how are you today? what's your energy level?"

Of course, I had to be honest because my legs were HEAVY and WEAK. They were all numbly/tingly. I was walking kinda crooked and my toes were threatening to trip me up every other step.

My PT had me sit down, then she came over to take my blood pressure and asked me more about my symptoms. "Well, also my left foot has been vibrating for almost a week. I was just kinda ignoring it cause I felt good."

Are you coming down with anything? "Don't think so."

How's your bladder? "Well, actually my urine has been looking kinda dark, but it's hard to tell if that's not from the vitamins or meds."

You know that there's no way I'm going to let you work out today and leave what little energy you have here. Where's the positive experience in that?

Here's what I want you to do. Go get tested for a possible UTI (urinary tract infection.) If that's it, then you can start antibiotics and get to feeling better. If not, then you still have time to call Nurse Carol (my MS nurse) and get in tomorrow to see the neurologist. "I can do that."

So, that's what I did. I happened to walk into my PCP's office (which does not take walk-ins) asking if I could get a simple urine test for possible UTI. The receptionist said that I'd still have to see that doctor. "That's fine. Thanks."

Sure enough, there was blood in my urine (although it didn't look cloudy to me) and enough white blood cells to warrant a round of antibiotics. A culture has been sent off (probably just in case the antibiotics don't work, they know what it is).

I took a dose yesterday. Didn't feel any different, but continued to get a little worse. This morning I woke up early to relieve myself, went back to bed, and slept in a little.

After I got up and about, I noticed - "hey, I believe I do feel a bit better than yesterday."

Still not back to 100%, but thankful to not be in the neurologist's office getting a round of Solumedrol.

It was the enormous speed at which I felt so totally lousy and incapable of carrying out my normal activities which was utterly disturbing. I honestly felt as though the worse relapse yet had developed and I just hadn't seen it coming.

So here's my advice to you. If you suddenly do not feel well and have even the mildest hunch that it's a bladder infection developing, get yourself to the doctor and get treated.

If I had waited another day, I don't know how much worse it would have gotten. But I do know that I'd be one extremely unhappy camper.

Phew. Dodged an MS bullet this time.


  1. After my last UTI (which I'll swear to this day was completely asymptomatic), I've gotten ridiculously observant about my urine (LOL), to the point where I buy my own dipsticks and test myself weekly. Great post, Lisa! As per usual...


  2. Nurse Carol- do you by any chance go to Neurology Center of Fairfax- Dr. Simsarian? Probably a long shot by they are my doctors and I loooove them!

  3. Melissa, YES!!! Aren't we two of the luckiest MS patients around?

    The Neurology Center just happened to have the earliest available appointment between three places when my PCP referred me. I got in to see Dr. Castro first, then transferred to Dr. Simsarian after getting the diagnosis.

    Of course Carol is the best, but I've also developed a liking to Michelle (NP-C). I wish that everybody had the same quality of care that we get.