Friday, July 29, 2011

Emmania Has Pharyngitis!

For the past two weeks I have had several lumps on my neck. Of course, things got worse the second week when I had to take ibuprofen just to get out of bed every morning to go to work. Closer to the end of the second week I not only had to take ibuprofen before I got to work, but once I came back home as well. Then yesterday, I felt worse than I have in the past two days. I started having difficulty swallowing, felt cold and totally exhausted. I kept wondering if I should go to the hospital because all these days I was trying to see a doctor but it was made nearly impossible because I am not from this city. The places I went wanted me to wait a month for an appointment as a new patient or would only take cash (no insurance) in order to tend to me right away. I thought to myself, "this is ridiculous...I have health insurance and on top of that I am going back home in a week. I may as well try to tough it out until I get back". Alas, I couldn't hold out anymore and decided to go to Howard University Hospital.

At first I was ambivalent about going because I had heard that they take anyone, regardless of if you have health insurance and so my initial thought was, "I am going to be here for a while". However, I was greatly mistaken and happily so. I got there at 7:30pm. By 8pm I had been seen.They took my vitals and noted I had a fever, several lumps on my neck and my heartbeat was fast. By 8:15pm they started to take blood, a culture test and a urine sample. By 8:40pm they put me on morphine and antibiotics which helped tremendously. I actually felt like myself. By 9:30pm I was diagnosed with Pharyngitis and am now on antibiotics, steroids and pain meds. If you don't know what pharyngitis is:

Pharyngitis is caused by swelling (inflammation) of the pharynx, which is in the back of the throat, between the tonsils and the voicebox (larynx).
Most sore throats are caused by a viral infection, such as the cold or flu. Some viruses can cause specific types of sore throat, such as coxsackie infection or mononucleosis.
Bacteria that can cause pharyngitis include Group A streptococcus, which leads to strep throat in some cases.

I have to give a shout out to Howard University Hospital because it is by far one of the best emergency doctor visits I have experienced and believe me, I have been to plenty of hospitals in my lifetime - what with my heart surgery, gallbladder removal, tonsil removal and eye surgery. One year when I was 12 I even developed chronic pneumonia in the summer and was admitted to the hospital. Anyway, the staff there was professional and nice. I have really difficult veins but the first nurse got it in 2 tries. The second time they needed more blood they sent someone who is really good with difficult veins and he got it the first time and I was very happy.

Let me also tell you guys a story about the significance of Howard University Hospital because I honestly think it is amazing yet unbelievable. Freedman Hospital which preceded Howard U Hospital played a significant role in the training of Howard University medical students and in providing quality heath care for the African-American community of Washington, especially during the era of segregation. Equally important during this era was its role in providing specialty training for African-American physicians. In that few white hospitals accepted black interns and residents, African-American physicians who completed postgraduate training did so largely at one of six black hospitals: Freedmen’s; Hubbard in Nashville, Tennessee; Provident in Chicago; Homer G. Phillips in St. Louis; Kansas City (Missouri) No. 2; and Mercy-Douglas in Philadelphia. Among the white hospitals that accepted blacks were Cook County in Chicago, Harlem and Bellevue in New York City, and Cleveland City Hospital. The other thing you won't find in many places even online is that during segregation it was the only hospital that cared for and looked after African Americans in the tri-state area during the era of segregation. I know no one wants to think about that terrible time in our country's history, but guess what, it happened and we must remember so that we don't do things like this ever again. We can't treat people like they are subhuman because they look different from us, they cry, feel pain and bleed too.

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