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Please help - DP ill, TB mentioned and supposed to be travelling soon!

(15 Posts)
StuffedOctopus Tue 04-Jun-13 13:25:19

Name changed as feel a bit uncomfortable about this - sorry if it's a bit long

DP and I have 4mo DC. DP feeling unwell for some time now (on and off for maybe 2 years?) and says it's asthma as he had it as a child (phlemmy (sp?) cough, limited energy and so on). Been back and forth to docs and just prescribed inhalers and steroids. Meanwhile, I have a gut feeling that it's something more serious.

At Xmas he was so bad I forced him to go to a walk-in centre and the GP there said he had a chest infection and gave him antibiotics. Some improvement, but then things gradually got worse again.

Fast forward to this month, DP now losing weight, coughing more than ever and now coughing up bits of blood (he's been a bit coy about this as realises he can no longer put symptoms down to stress of new baby)

He has finally had an xray and today has been told there is evidence of infection and TB mentioned as a possible cause. Tomorrow he is doing a sputum test, blood tests next week, and then a referral to a chest specialist or similar in the next few weeks.

All very worrying (although trying not to jump ahead of myself here as we don't have a diagnosis yet). However, in about 4 weeks' time we are supposed to be flying abroad (other side of the world) to accompany DP to a conference and making a bit of a holiday of it. It's a bit short notice as had to wait for DP to get approval to go, and supposed to be booking it this week.

I have told DP he is sufficiently seriously ill that we should be considering cancelling this trip. Also, if he does turn out to have TB, then surely having a communicable disease makes it a no-go anyway? Problem is, I have no idea what the timescales for diagnosis are and he may not find out til very close to departure date.

I have been so worried for so long about this - it was clear to me that something was v wrong. However, DP (although v intelligent) is the master of self-diagnosis but to be fair to him, I don't think he's been taken that seriously by the medical profession up until now!

Sorry for long post - can anyone reassure me that it would be daft to contemplate doing this trip now? DP devastated as was v important to him that we did this trip as a family. And does anyone know if TB diagnosis is quick? Thank you.

digerd Tue 04-Jun-13 16:40:08

TB in the lungs is usually contagious so cannot believe the GP is not rushing to determine whether it is or not.

My DH was found to have a cyst in the bronchial part of the lungs and he had a biopsy taken via Endoscopy. Dr said he had a 10% chance of it being non-malignant - TB/other- and 90% cancer. It turned out to be the lattersad

Sh1ney Tue 04-Jun-13 18:24:23

I'm not sure if your post is hugely reassuring digerd - I see a lot of this from you

OP could you maybe speak to the GP and ask?

CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 04-Jun-13 18:28:11

Don't book the trip. DP won't be able to go.

Travel insurance won't cover you if you have to cancel due to this, as it's a pre-existing condition, unless you have annual insurance. In which case, you should call them now to make sure both that they'd cover this, and that he is covered to a sufficient level.

Even then, you'll probably find that they'll only cover him to travel if a doctor will declare him fit to fly, and they are very unlikely too. They 100% won't if it's TB, as the flight could affect his breathing and cause issues, and TB is contagious.

You need to cancel the trip, because it's very unlikely you'll be able to go, and you don't need the extra stress. It's also more likely to make DP lie about his symptoms so that you can go, if he's that type of person. He won't want you to know that he's getting worse, because you'll miss the trip.

I hope it's not TB. Put some pressure on your GP to hurry the diagnosis, as it is supposed to be relatively quick, and this has been dragging on for a long time.

MegaClutterSlut Tue 04-Jun-13 23:10:15

My FIL took around 3 weeks to be diagnosed and we, including the dc's all had to be tested too as we had been in contact with him.

If it's TB you will not be allowed to travel

StuffedOctopus Tue 04-Jun-13 23:21:10

Thank you all for replying. I think it's beginning to sink in with him this eve that there may be something seriously wrong, although at this stage we still have absolutely no idea. Stupidly though, he forgot to mention the work trip to the GP today, so have asked him to get some advice re this at his appt tomorrow. Also need to know what implications there are for family members (ie us!)

I can't speak to the GP directly as DP works away during the week and his surgery is located there too. Also, not sure what they would actually be able to tell me (nothing probably). Am hoping the TB thing can be ruled out/diagnosed fairly quickly and I will then take advice from my own GP I guess re testing.

Beyond tomorrow's tests, things are frustratingly slow - can't get a blood appt til next week and the waiting time to see someone at the hospital is 6-8 weeks! It's frustrating - am normally quite assertive and would be asking for cancellations etc but DP tends to shrug his shoulders and sit at the back of the queue.

Am slightly annoyed with myself now for not making more of a fuss ages ago. Stupid bloody doctor handing out inhalers when it was so obvious (at least to me) that it wasn't asthma! He will be absolutely gutted not to make this trip (he's waited years for the opportunity) but hopefully we can go when he's better.

gingeroots Wed 05-Jun-13 09:00:41

Thinking of you Octupus ,don't be using the benefits of hindsight to be annoyed with yourself . IYSWIM .

It will be sorted and treated . And best that it's come to a head now ,rather than while abroad .

Let us know how it goes .

StuffedOctopus Fri 07-Jun-13 21:36:16

Quick update - DP got call today to say it is indeed TB. So on Monday we all have to go to the hospital for testing/treatment

DP in shock, I'm not much better but at least it's treatable. Cannot think how in earth he got it and when - just need to get rid of it now

gingeroots Fri 07-Jun-13 21:49:29

Thanks for up date .

You'll have a clearer picture on Monday ,but as you say the main thing is that it's treatable .

Thinking of you all .

rempy Fri 07-Jun-13 22:01:18

Random question - is your husband from south east asia originally (as in spent some of his childhood there?)

There is a phenomenon where people from a TB endemic area are actually exposed/infected as a child. They develop sufficient immunity/tolerance that they deal with it and aren't particularly ill. They then move away and after some years in an environment without lots of TB about, their dormant TB reactivates and becomes symptomatic. I know a couple of people who have had this happen.

There is actually quite a bit of TB now in this country, and in a spectrum of populations, so it is very possibly "local". It will be something that is addressed, as the team he gets cared for will want to try and understand it too. BCG is not that fantastic a vaccine either, not in the same league as dare I say it measles!

And there are several types of TB, so it may be that he has an "unusual" mycoplasma, some of which are transmitted by pets (avium from birds for example), or environments.

It is indeed treatable, but its a long long course of several different drugs, which may need switching about to find a combination to suit.

I hope he starts to pick up quickly, and that the family are OK.

rempy Fri 07-Jun-13 22:02:10

Not mycoplasma! Mycobacterium!!!! (I did sit at the back during Microbiology lectures......)

StuffedOctopus Sat 08-Jun-13 12:24:21

Interesting question Rempy - he isn't from SE Asia but did live out there for several years in his 20s/30s, but the country he was in is not a TB risk area.

Prior to DC, we have spent a fair bit of time in recent years in developing countries on holiday and have possibly taken a few more risks than the average holidaymaker - no idea though if this is the source of infection.

Interestingly, although he has been very aware of a physical deterioration over the last few months, he normally does a lot of physical activity and is still capable of more than the average person. It's just that his sporting performance had dropped enough to make him puzzled/worried (and then the terrible cough started)

Having spoken to him a bit more since the initial diagnosis yesterday and have discovered that the sputum sample has tested positive for TB or something similar to TB which isn't infectious (however treatment would be the same regardless)

DP slightly fascinated about the whole thing as he is a scientist, but also anxious about implications for baby, job, friends, family etc (as I am too) He has been signed off for 2+ weeks though, so trying to encourage him to take opportunity to relax, look after himself and then we will see what happens on monday at the hospital.

One quick question (in case anyone can help) - DM supposed to be arriving on tuesday for a 3 day stay. Haven't spoken to her yet and don't want to cause unnecessary alarm, but assume she will have to be told, and her visit will have to be postponed for 2 weeks? Obviously will get advice from hosp on Monday, but it's a bit late by then for her to cancel her plans.

BoreOfWhabylon Sat 08-Jun-13 12:44:20

I think it would be a good idea for DM to postpone the visit until you get the OK from you DP's specialist team. Elderly people are more susceptible, as are those with certain illnesses.

Some general info here, which you may find helpful (inluding the brief video).

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 08-Jun-13 17:32:54

Rempy the syndrome you describe is also recognised for people coming from certain parts of Southern Ireland where cattle TB is common. Though with the massive rise in cattle TB in the UK I suspect this is a disease we are all going to be touched by.

StuffedOctopus Mon 24-Jun-13 21:57:31

Hi - quite a lot has happened since I last posted, so thought I would add a postscript!

After a very worrying couple of weeks with DP at home in isolation, DD on precautionary antibiotics and me going mad with worry, we finally got a call to say it wasn't TB after all. It looked like TB in the initial tests, but subsequent tests to confirm came up negative. As we gradually started to suspect, it turned out to be an environmental mycobacteria (looks like TB, but is not contagious, but is harder to treat).

DP recovered quite quickly once he started on the drugs and is back at work already. X-rays show damage to lungs but at the moment we still don't know how much. He will be on drugs well into next year and really hope there isn't a recurrence of the infection.

We are currently supposed to be on the other side of the world, but hopefully we'll be able to make the trip another time smile

Meanwhile, if any of you have a sick DP who is a bit reluctant to see a doctor, drag him there by his ears for his own sake!

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