A reoccuring pain in the....
April 18, 2010 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Pneumonia is bad enough, how can I best deal with the series of many shots in the ahem...rear? (YANMD)

(need to preface my question: I'm an expat in Istanbul, but my doctor seems good. In general, however, I am not maybe comfortable with the opinions of Turkish medicine 100%. I speak enough Turkish to communicate with my doctor, but not enough to completely understand the how and why. Seeing an American doctor is currently not an option)

I was sick for a week, finally went to see the doctor last Friday when my temperature was skyrocketing. Blood tests and chest xrays later, they diagnosed me with a bad case of pneumonia. Which is miserable and awful and makes me feel like shit.
I feel like the the treatment is even worse, though! For two days I was on IV drip antibiotics and oxygen, but now I need to go into the hospital for intramuscular injections of antibiotics in my behind, every 7 hours for a week!! 7am, 3pm, and 11pm. This is ridiculous!

My question is two fold: YANAD/YANMD, but is this kind of treatment normal? I mean I'm quite sick, but not on my deathbed or anything, and no other complicating illnesses. I'm 24 years old, and in good general health. Aren't oral antibiotics more common in the West?

Secondly, I'm assuming I'm just gonna have to suck it up and deal with it. What are some ways to minimize the pain, or focus on something else, or even just breathing techniques that might help. Shots in the arm aren't too painful for me, but for some reason my bottom is quite tender! And I can't sit down for about 2 hours after the injection. I'm pretty sure my doctor doesn't have the numbing cream or anything similar. Although there is lidocain the shot.

So anyone had to go through a similar experience? Advice?

Thanks mefites!
posted by hasna to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My question is two fold: YANAD/YANMD, but is this kind of treatment normal? I mean I'm quite sick, but not on my deathbed or anything, and no other complicating illnesses. I'm 24 years old, and in good general health. Aren't oral antibiotics more common in the West?

No, in the U.S. this would not be considered normal/typical. Patients hospitalized with pneumonia are typically transitioned from intravenous to oral antibiotics. If oral antibiotics are for some reason considered ineffective due to a resistant pathogen (which would be unusual for a healthy 24 year old), then either they typically stay in the hospital for continued IV medicines, or IV infusions are arranged for at their home.
posted by drpynchon at 11:55 AM on April 18, 2010

Agreeing with drpynchon - in the UK we step down from IV to oral antibiotics as well in pneumonia. Standard protocol in the hospital I study in is to step down to a twice daily oral antibiotic too (unless as said above it's resistant), so not even as frequent as the one you're being subjected to!
posted by Coobeastie at 12:27 PM on April 18, 2010

hasna - I had a similar experience back in the 1980s while on a trip in Spain organized through my high school; I'd had some dental work done shortly before the trip, and my gums got screwed up, so one of the teacher/chaperones took me to some clinic where the doctor gave me antibiotics via injection, and I had to go back daily for another shot. I was baffled as to why they couldn't just give me a prescription for pills (I don't remember the shots themselves being particularly painful, sorry) and a bit worried that I was being mistreated.

Once I was back in the US and told the story to my parents (a doctor & a former nurse) they were similarly baffled/worried, but another doctor who worked with Dad had originally practiced in Spain before emigrating here said it was just the custom -- either because most patients were Catholics who didn't believe that medicine worked unless it caused some pain, or because patients weren't trusted to follow the dosage properly. I don't know how valid either theory/sweeping generalization was, or if the same rationale is at play in Turkey, but, that's what I was told.
posted by oh yeah! at 12:41 PM on April 18, 2010

Not to be too TMI, but are they switching back and forth between buttocks for your shots (so you're not always get your shot in the left butt cheek, for example)? I give my partner an intramuscular injection weekly and he has learned a few tips for dealing with constant shots.

Positioning helps a lot, i.e. a slightly bent over position like over the back of a chair. My partner also does some kind of foot positioning where he bends one foot under the other one, which he says is uncomfortable but a nurse taught him this and he swears it makes the shot practically painless. Deep breathing and focusing on getting it done and getting out of there can also help.

If it continues to be so painful, don't be afraid to ask them if it's normal for the area to feel that way after your shot. Sorry you have to deal with being a pincushion!
posted by Wuggie Norple at 12:59 PM on April 18, 2010

IANAD, but in my experience in Syria and Jordan, intramuscular antibiotic injections for pneumonia are quite common, so it wouldn't surprise me to find that Turkey is similar. (Sample size = 2, so quite anecdotal...)

I would try to find out what you're being injected with, and search for a pharmaceutical reference for it, to reassure yourself that the chosen antibiotic and dosing schedule is reasonably appropriate, but as long as you're getting better, I wouldn't worry too much.
posted by dttocs at 5:03 PM on April 18, 2010

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