The last time I had a urinary tract infection was about ten years ago.
I used to get them every once in a while, and while I’m sure it was horrible at the time, these infections weren’t frequent enough to make a mark on my memory. I know that ‘feeling,’ of the twinge of pain after urinating when the muscles re-clench and how that was the hallmark sign that I needed to call my doctor and go in for a urinalysis ASAP, but overall, these infections were few and far between.
The one firm memory I have of these infections was how quickly they would come on for me – in a matter of hours, I would go from “fine” to “decidedly not fine.” My OB/GYN at the time confirmed what my endocrinologist had always told me: type 1 diabetes makes issues like yeast infections and urinary tract infections move quickly and aggressively.
The worse one I had was at my grandfather’s funeral, which took place in the midst of my parents’ divorce and during a time when diabetes was unattended to (<– massive understatement). I was slow in recognizing and responding to symptoms, slow in contacting a doctor, and pretty much slow to anything that even came close to self-care. These days, I’m better about self-care, but even still, things like a urinary tract infection can crop up in a matter of hours and make a mess of things.
Last Friday afternoon, Chris and I were preparing for Birdy’s birthday party and doing the whole clean things/bake things/set up things cycle that comes with party hosting. At 4.40 pm, I headed to the store to grab a few last minute things, and I felt fine. I came home around 5.30 pm and still felt completely fine. At 6.10 pm, I went to use the bathroom and had that weird twinge of pain while urinating. And by 6.45 pm, I was using the bathroom every three minutes (not an exaggeration) and in extreme pain, with a fever of 101 and a Dexcom graph that was doubly pointed north. By 7.30 pm, I was peeing blood and hosting every other symptom of a UTI (lower abdomen pain, constant and painful urge to urinate, pain when urinating, cloudy urine, blood in urine, shooting pain after peeing, fever, chills, and oh yeah, instant blood sugar issues).
“Decidedly not fine.”
Of course this happens on a Friday evening, when doctor’s offices are closed.
Which is why I am so, so thankful to be a patient in a doctor’s office where there is an on-call doctor who was able to return my message within 15 minutes and order a UTI test and also provide a prescription for antibiotics to kick the infection to the curb. Even though I had to stop en route to the pharmacy (six minutes away) to use the bathroom, I was diagnosed and medicated by 8.45 pm and feeling much more human by 11 pm. And by birthday party time (the next afternoon), I was almost completely better.
Thank you, excellent medical team, for being almost as quick as the onset of this urinary tract infection. You saved me from peeing in pain whilst serving birthday cake at my kid’s party, and I’m very grateful.
(Note: the frosting is yellow due to food coloring. After all this discussion about pee, I wanted to make sure that distinction was clear.)