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Adventures in Ulcerative Colitis January 2013

**Warning, this is a post about my personal health (not gardening) disregard if uninterested**

So for the past month I had been doing all right with my ulcerative colitis. My bowel movements were pretty normal and I was feeling pretty good. There was one big problem, money. Unfortunately we live in a world where health decisions must have a financial component to any choice being made. So the Asacol that I was taking cost us over $200 each month (that’s after insurance).

In an attempt to curb these costs I wanted to try sulfasalazine. This is a generic drug so it wouldn’t cost is anything out of pocket. The difficulty with this drug is that it includes a sulfa chemical group that some people have allergic reactions to. So I started taking it just before the start of the new year. At first I didn’t have any problems. Then it hit me. Five days after starting to take the medicine I came down with a fever. My body started running at 102 F and all my insides felt terrible. I thought it might be a virus at first so I hoped it would pass and that would be that. But it only got worse.

The fever started on a Friday night and by Sunday night it was up to 103.8F. I had never run a fever so high. So my wife got worried and took me into the ER. They looked at me, drew blood, took urine, did a chest X-ray, and gave my a liter of IV saline to try and get me rehydrated. At he end they called it “Viral Illness-misc.”. Basically saying its probably one of the hundreds of viral illnesses that get people sick this time of year. So go home and rest and come back if it doesn’t get better.

Well, I didn’t get better.  Tuesday evening my fever hit 104 and back to the ER we go.  This time they did everything over again and gave me 2.5 liters of saline to get me rehydrated.  To make an even longer story short they sent me home with the same diagnosis.  That night my lovely and brilliant wife came up with the idea that the sulfasalazine might be causing the problems.  So I stopped taking and called the doctor the next day.  He agreed that it might be the problem and told me to stop taking it.  That was Wednesday and by Friday I was starting to feel better.  My fever started staying down and I was able to eat and drink more normally.  By Sunday my fever was gone, everything was back to normal, and I was back on the Asacol.

So moral of the story is that I am allergic to sulfa drugs and that everyone should be very careful in taking them.  They are cheap and would probably work, but can be dangerous.

I’ll get back to gardening soon so good growing everyone.

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