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Patrick Volkerding Battles Mystery Illness

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the two-aspirin-and-call-in-the-morning dept.

Science 675

sethadam1 writes "Calling all Slashdoctors! Pat Volkerding, maintainer of Slackware Linux, needs your help. This morning, he posted his very detailed account (mirror) of his battle with Actinomyces here on the Slackware FTP server. Patrick has given his blood, sweat, and tears to the open source community for years in Slackware, one of the oldest surviving Linux distributions. If you can, please help!"

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"Last Post" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833548)

At least he has a sense of humor.

Re:"Last Post" (1, Redundant)

McFly69 (603543) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833701)

"At least he has a sense of humor." I agree, exspeically when he knows when it might be his time.

I am not a doctor... (-1, Troll)

elhaf (755704) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833554)

but I play one on SlashDot.

Re:I am not a doctor... (-1, Offtopic)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833576)

but I play one on SlashDot.

ummm, don't look at me either.

I know wikipedia is hip and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833555)

but couldn't you post a useful link to something about the disease?

Re:I know wikipedia is hip and all (4, Informative)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833691)

WebMD [webmd.com] didn't have anything that I could find, but a google found this eMedicine [emedicine.com]
I am not anything near a Md so this makes no sence to me. But as they say the half of knowledge is knowing where to find knowledge.

Re:I know wikipedia is hip and all (2, Insightful)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833888)

Diagnosis is rarely suspected or made on clinical grounds. Usually, the clinical laboratory or the pathologist provides diagnosis.

Patients present with nonspecific symptoms and findings, such as fever, weight loss, diarrhea or constipation, and abdominal pain. Extension to the perirectal space is not uncommon and these patients present with defecation complaints.

-----------------------

So basically we have a disease that doctors can't even disgnose reliably most of the time, with very nonspecific symptoms ranging over a huge range.

I hope he gets a good doctor that totally ignores his self-diagnosis. The ones he has dealt with in the past seemed way too likely to just give him what he wanted without making a real diagnosis.

Get Help Now, Maybe? (4, Insightful)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833556)

This man does not need his story posted on Slashdot, he needs emergency intervention from the specialist RIGHT NOW even if that means he gets screwed on some BS clause in his insurance contract. He's been running around with this infection for so long it's getting critical and he needs to skip out on all the nonsense and get help IMMEDIATELY. When you're talking about spreading infections the last thing you want to do is roll the dice by delaying treatment. Yea, it might slow enough for him to be okay, but it's an infection, so maybe not.

Christ, if he's going to get screwed by some stupid HMO if he doesn't play their little game or something, I'll toss a couple bucks into a donation fund for the medical bills if someone sets one up.

Re:Get Help Now, Maybe? (0)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833634)

I second that! If you want advice on a stubbed toe, you post to a website. If you have an infection, you go to a real doctor ASAP! And sort out the costs whenever.

Re:Get Help Now, Maybe? (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833646)

Yeah.
"I have an appointment on Friday."
Jesus. Hope he makes it.

Re:Get Help Now, Maybe? (1)

Ignorant Aardvark (632408) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833647)

I totally agree with you. It's not worth fighting against an HMO if your life is at stake. I'd be willing to contribute money to a donation fund too - if it was run by someone reputable (I wouldn't trust some random person to get the money to where it needs to go). Maybe /. could take up a collection?

Re:Get Help Now, Maybe? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833884)

I'd be willing to contribute money to a donation fund too - if it was run by someone reputable (I wouldn't trust some random person to get the money to where it needs to go).

Maybe /. could take up a collection?


Your logic baffles me.

Re:Get Help Now, Maybe? (3, Insightful)

Nurseman (161297) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833648)

he needs emergency intervention from the specialist RIGHT NOW

Ditto, get thee to an ID (Infectious Disease Fellow) Right now. I know many in the NY area, but if your dad "is in the medical community" find someone. This type of infection needs to be treated agressively.

Re:Get Help Now, Maybe? (5, Insightful)

notthepainter (759494) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833678)

From the article, it isn't clear if the infection is in his lungs or not. If it is, he is also likely not getting enough oxygen to the brain. I should know. I had a pulmonary embolism a few years back. I almost died. The day I was admitted to the hospital I emailed my wife telling her to come home and take me there, I didn't dial 911. Why? My brain was starting to shutdown. I realized this years later when reading "Into Thin Air." I was essentially above 28,000 on Everest without oxygen. I don't know Patrick, but I hope someone who does can convince him, on the phone, that he should not necessarily be making decisions right now, he may not be in the space to. It does sound like he needs to be admitted.

I was lucky, I lived.

Re:Get Help Now, Maybe? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833765)

> he is also likely not getting enough oxygen to the brain

Clearly. He's asking /. for medical advice. Seriously, here even the HC professionals are fucking retarded.

Re:Get Help Now, Maybe? (5, Interesting)

Delita (300714) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833789)

Something similar happened to me when I had an asthma attack in the middle of a case of pneumonia. I ended up sending my brother some IMs via AIM telling him to get help for me. Even if I were coherent enough to talk on the phone, my lungs were at less than 10% of normal capacity, and I couldn't make any sounds anyway. It's a strange feeling to know that something from AOL actually saved my life.

Re:Get Help Now, Maybe? (1)

MikTheUser (761482) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833793)

I don't know Patrick, but I hope someone who does can convince him, on the phone, that he should not necessarily be making decisions right now, he may not be in the space to. It does sound like he needs to be admitted.

Since he says he's at his parent's house, that shouldn't be neccessary. However, if you know a specialist using Slackware, _that_ might help...

Re:Get Help Now, Maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833687)

I just wonder if he doesn't have medical insurance to cover it. He just needs massive doses of *cillin and some probiotics to rebuild his bacterial flora when he's done.

I'm sysadmin at a medical clinic, but I don't need to ask the docs about this one, it's obvious now.

RTFA (-1, Troll)

Astrorunner (316100) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833740)

It's ribbed for your pleasure.

Re:RTFA (3, Insightful)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833808)

See that star next to my name idiot-boy? I already RTFA. He needs to go to the specialist right now not wait until Friday.

Infections can and do spread through the body at an exponential rate once they break loose. This man CANNOT afford to wait until Friday, he needs to go the ID specialist IMMEDIATELY or he could well be dead or permanently injured before he has a chance Friday.

Go to the ER Right Now (2, Informative)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833795)

Don't wait until Friday! Are you nuts? Go to the ER right now or call 9-11 if you can't drive yourself. Hell, post your address and a Slashdotter will be there in 5 minutes to give you a lift.

Helpful tip: If you're feeling like you might die, you just might. Seek immediate medical attention, not advice from /.'ers.

Interesting... (3, Funny)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833825)

Interesting how I tried to type "911" and it automatically came out "9-11", eh? Too much election makes Skyshadow something something.

Re:Go to the ER Right Now (1)

drb000 (761618) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833867)

1001 Southwood Dr Fargo, ND 58103-6023 (701) 237-0771

Re:Get Help Now, Maybe? (1, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833802)

And the worst of it is, it sounds to me exactly like when my step-grandfather had siliconitis- and ignored it for 50 years. Did so much damage to his lungs that he was on oxygen for the rest of his life. If I was this guy, I'd keep taking the amoxycillian until all the little beasties were dead, but I'd also INSIST upon living in an oxy-enriched atmosphere, perhaps even a bubble, for a while until the lungs healed.

And damnit- eat something- 145 lbs and 6'2" is NOT a healthy weight when dealing with major lung damage.

Re:Get Help Now, Maybe? (3, Informative)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833818)

One of my old bosses had something like what he has. He ended up having this thing hooked to his waist belt that pumped him full of a antibiotics for months on end.

My boss did get better, it just took him a long time. Patrick should be ready for a very long recovery time with some nasty side effects along the way.

Though I'd take shitty side effects to worm food anyday...

Re:Get Help Now, Maybe? (3, Insightful)

nkh (750837) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833820)

I'm scared of the last part of the message:
While almost everything looks normal there, the following white cell counts are (barely) out of the normal range:

A friend who is studying medecine said to me once: Don't you EVER try to do or reaching any conclusion on your own if you have not studied for at least 5 years. I'd like to add: DON'T ASK /.! IT'S NOT FUNNY, ASK A F***ING SPECIALIST!

Re:Get Help Now, Maybe? (5, Informative)

AnonymousCohort (305978) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833929)

From a doctor:

Thats absolutely correct. He may be a brilliant computer programer but he should not try to be his own physician. By his own admission he has already significantly delayed his care trying to treat himself.

The signs and symptoms he describes are consistant with pulmonary actinomycosis but there are also a number of other infections and other conditions that could cause this.

While his own description of 'yellow nodules' is interesting and possibly significant no one has examined any of these nodules and no one has definitively diagnosed him yet.

There is a good reason his doctor is required to consult an ID specialist before hospitalizing him.

He should follow this advice, contact the best physicians he knows, and let them decide what he has and how it should be treated.

If he does turn out to have actinomycosis his prognosis is very good for a complete cure and good recovery. I wish him the best.

Netcraft confirms... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833567)

Sorry. Hadda do it.

Ripping off quote (0, Redundant)

clinko (232501) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833589)

I'm going to rip off his quote but here's what's at the end of his msg:

"
BTW, my login quote tonight was "Snow and adolescence are the only
problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough." heh.

"

The doctor's advice (-1, Troll)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833593)

Format hard drive
apt-get update
apt-get dist-upgrade

and call me in the morning

Re:The doctor's advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833632)

wouldn't apt-get take me to a previous unusable state?

This is Slackware! (4, Funny)

sethadam1 (530629) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833720)

"Format hard drive
apt-get update
apt-get dist-upgrade

and call me in the morning
"

That might work for one of the Debian developers, but not here. Pat's doctor has to configure him cell by cell.

"if you can, please help" (1, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833605)

How am I supposed to help?
  • Provide medical advice?
  • Drive him to the hospital?
  • Send money to pay for his treatment?
  • Develop a miracle drug to cure him?
  • Contribute time or money to Slackware Linux?
With TFA slashdotted, I don't know exactly what he wants. How do I know if I can help?

Re:"if you can, please help" (3, Insightful)

killjoe (766577) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833641)

I figure "send money" is the all purpose help. I don't know anybody (other then Bill Gates) where send money won't work.

Re:"if you can, please help" (4, Informative)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833674)

You can start by pulling your head out and clicking on the mirror [osuosl.org] which works fine for me and probably everybody else that clicked on it. Since that didn't work for you or you didn't see it, read below.

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Tuesday, November 16, 2004, 10:43

"Last post?"

Hi folks. If you're reading this, I thank you. Perhaps you'll have a role
to play in bringing about the miracle that I desperately need. First, I'd
like to apologize for the lack of updates lately in Slackware -current and
stable... I know there are a few outstanding issues that need to be
addressed. However, I've been too sick to work for a couple of weeks and
now I am away from my computers and at my parents' house in Fargo, North
Dakota where my only online access is through an AOL dialup. I have told
only a select few people about what's going on thinking that I did not want
the internet at large to know about this, that I'd get it taken care of
and get back on track without a major problem. Now, I'm hoping that this
will get seen by a lot of people and that if it hits Slashdot that some
kind medical geek will help save my life.

I've generally been a pretty healthy guy. Nobody I know would characterize
me as a hypochondriac by any stretch, so when I raise an alarm it tends to
be for real. I'm going to give a timeline and run through all the
symptoms I've had (so if that sort of thing grosses you out, you can stop
reading right now). For the rest of you, here goes. This is going to be
long, but hopefully somebody who can help will read it...

This all began quite some time ago, perhaps as long ago as May of 2001.
I was preparing Slackware 8.0 for release and working really hard. A pain
developed in my shoulder, and (too busy to do anything about it right
away) I ignored it and continued to keep working. It got to be pretty
bad and one afternoon in early June I was rushed to the emergency room
at a hospital in Concord, California. I was sweating, feverish, with a
weak pulse of around 50, experiencing chills and seeming to be on the
verge of passing out. The doctor who saw me did a chest X-ray and didn't
think it was too unusual. I was told it was probably bronchitis and was
sent home with a presription for ciprofloxacin which mostly cleared up
the problem. Still the pain in my shoulder seemed to vaguely remain.
By mid October of 2001, I was in bad shape again. My parents asked me
what I wanted for my birthday and I told them some more Cipro. They
found someone who was able to help me out with a 60 day supply (no small
task as this was right after the infamous Anthrax mailings when all the
newspapers were running articles about Cipro and people were trying to
horde it). I finished the two month course of antibiotics and felt
better. Not perfect, but significantly improved. I chalked the events
of 2001 up to stress, but in retrospect I am not so sure. I had
similar problems in 2002 and 2003 that were also knocked back with some
antibiotics, but the pain in my left upper back (and some kind of
"presence" there) never did fully clear up. Tests for TB came back
negative.

Fast forward to May of this year. I found myself complaining about "my
usual pain", as I had started to call it, more and more. I was starting
to wonder if I was even going to be able to make my annual camping trip
out in western New York state at the beginning of July, but I did go.
I figured the sun and a little exercise would do me some good, and I
did feel a little less like I was "fixin' to die," but upon my return
to California things started to do downhill for me again. This whole
time I was coughing up some strange stuff. Some of it was white and
reminded me of dental plaque. In spite of being a dentist's son I've
never had the best oral hygiene so I'm familiar with plaque. The
"plaque" I was getting out of my lungs was some nasty stuff and
smelled just like dental floss used after a couple of days without
brushing. Yeah, I know I should be better about that, but tend to
stay up late and if my wife is already asleep don't always turn the
light on and wake her up so I can brush before bed. To help me avoid
more tooth decay my dad bought me one of those fancy rechargable
electric toothbrushes that really powers away the plaque. It also
creates a fine aerosol mist of plaque, and I started to wonder if 4
years of using this brush had caused me to breathe in some of this
plaque mist and moved an infection into my lungs. I inquired with
several physicians about "lung plaque" and most of them had never
heard of such a thing. One told me he had heard of something like
that in people who were exposed to asbestos, though. Searching on
Google didn't turn up any relevant hits on the subject.

By early September 2004, I was spending a good portion of the time
I'd normally be working online flat on my back instead. The pain
that had started in my left upper back had moved into my left side
below the ribs, and my right side just under my armpit, too. Being
an ex-smoker, worries of lung cancer were starting to consume my
thoughts. A close friend of my father's had recently died from that
disease, and his initial symptom was also shoulder pain -- in fact,
they treated him for a presumed pulled muscle for many months while
the real problem went undiagnosed. Sometime in October I decided
that it was time to pull my head out of the sand and get in to see
my usual physician who runs a small clinic in Concord, tell him all
of this stuff, and at least try to get cancer ruled out. He ordered
chest X-rays, blood work, ran an EKG, and checked all my usual vital
signs. I told him about the "lung plaque" and reported feeling weak
all the time with no appetite. Being 6'2" and about 145 pounds I
knew I didn't want to be losing any weight. He also listened to my
chest and like all the doctors I've seen this year thought it sounded
mostly clear, like there wasn't anything major going on there. The
X-ray was a little different story though. It was taken on a
Thursday and I was told not to expect to hear anything until sometime
the next week. Well, the next morning the phone rang and it was my
doctor. He told me there was something "suspicious" seen in my left
upper lung (right about where the long-standing pain was), and that
I needed to get some more X-rays at the local hospital instead of
the imaging center I'd gone to before. They weren't going to be able
to get me in there until the next Monday.

The next morning I decided that I'd better FedEx some T-shirts that
my friends at the GUS in Brazil had been waiting for (not knowing
how much longer I could procrastinate on that, etc). While driving
back I felt a sharp pain in my left side and felt something in there
pop and drain (maybe into the pleura?), and since cancer was well on
my mind, as well as the fact that this had been going on for way too
long, I headed straight to the nearest ER hoping I wasn't bleeding
internally or something like that. By the time the doctor there saw
me I was holding onto my left side which seemed to help the pain a
bit. He ran a UA (and called it "questionable") and sent me down for
a CT scan. No iodine dye -- just a lower abdominal scan to see if I
had any kidney stones (and yes, I related as much of this other info
as he had time to hear in a busy ER). No stones were found, but he
wrote me a script for Cipro and some pain medication. I showed up
at the hospital the next day (in only slightly better shape) to try
to schedule additional X-rays, but they had misplaced the fax my
doctor had sent in, and they didn't want to schedule additional images
until they had seen the first ones. I never did see those myself,
and the imaging center requires a 48 hour notice to check out films.
It was starting to look like going through this medical center was
going to be a slow process, and I wasn't sure I had that kind of time.

So, I made the decision to pack up the car and drive back to North
Dakota from California. My Dad has been part of the medical community
for years there, and knows a lot of people. I figured he would know
who I should be seeing, and could help me set something up. A week
ago Sunday (Nov. 7) my wife Andrea and I set out to make the 1680 mile
drive to Fargo. We made it as far as Monida Pass. This is a mountain
pass on the Idaho/Montana border with an elevation of 6820 feet. On
the way up the grade I knew it wasn't going to be kind to me. I felt
an intense squeezing under my sternum and started to sweat and nearly
passed out. I've never previously had any trouble with high elevations
and have done hiking and mountain biking at much higher ones than this
particular pass. Luckily Andrea was driving at the time! We decided
that we would stop at the next fairly large town with a hospital and
see what they could do for me. This was Butte, Montana, an old mining
town, and home of St. James Hospital. The folks there were absolutely
wonderful to me. They did some more blood work (finding only a slightly
low potassium level), chest X-rays, and a CT with the iodine. They
didn't wait long for the dye to circulate because they said the main
goal there was to insure I didn't have a pulmonary embolism. I did not
have that. The doctor and radiologist also told me my lungs looked
"slightly inflamed" and to stay on the Cipro, but that I was unlikely
to keel over before making it to Fargo, especially as I'd be losing
elevation rapidly upon heading east. They packed the X-rays and CT
scans into a big envelope and told me I could borrow it to take to
my doctor in Fargo, and that they see a lot of people come in from that
pass with similar problems. So, off we went. I was mostly ok getting
back to Fargo, but never lost the feeling that someone was leaning on
my chest pressing on my sternum, and was occasionally short of breath
even after getting down to the 1000 foot elevation.

Back in Fargo, I had an appointment with an internal MD on Thursday
morning. By Wednesday night the pressure under my sternum was so
bad that it felt like I was having a heart attack, and was again
taken to an ER (the Slackware 2004 ER tour continues). While there
I started to feel better, and the pressure was letting up, and I
did not want to be a GOMER in their emergency room. The doctor I saw
the next day focused on the possibility of a thyroid or liver problem,
and ran some more tests that came back looking ok. He thought the CT
from Butte looked "within normal limits". That night I again got the
squeeze (pericardis?) but suffered through it because I did not want
to go back to the ER. I've had at least one strong attack every day
since, along with the sensation of "pop and drain" in all the original
pain points and under my sternum. The next day (Saturday, 13th) I went
to a local clinic with an MD in private practice. This guy was/is
great, and has seen me about a half dozen times since. He agreed
that I had signs of serious infection, including a disgusting
garlic/sulfur smell you could detect at 50 paces. He put me on
levaquinone and metronidazole hoping to have a better chance of
covering whatever the responsible bacteria was. Took more X-rays
but couldn't see anything obvious. We discussed getting an
echocardiogram to look for pericardius.

Then, I got my Google breakthrough. One of the symptoms I'd
noticed over a year ago was feeling like something hard was stuck
in my throat causing me to cough. Maybe 4 times I was able to
recover was looked like a small (

Re:"if you can, please help" (0)

catbutt (469582) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833729)

According to his article he is looking for someone with a clue what it might be. Maybe its something weird his doctors haven't heard of, but if enough people look, someone will have seen it and provide a reference.

How To Help: Be an MD. Admit him to a hospital. (5, Informative)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833750)

> How am I supposed to help?
>With TFA slashdotted, I don't know exactly what he wants. How do I know if I can help?

TFA has already been cut-and-pasted into the Slashdot thread. To summarize:

If you are an infectious disease specialist who can prescribe high doses of antibiotics (presumably penicillin-based, delivered by IV), and/or admit him to a hospital, you're supposed to call him or email him, and that goes double if you have experience treating Actinomycosis.

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833832)

This is the perfect summary for those who don't know if they can help or not and didn't RTFA

Re:How To Help: Be an MD. Admit him to a hospital. (1)

SlayerofGods (682938) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833946)

Actually he said he already found one.
"Rodney has no ability to directly admit me to a hospital without first sending me to an infectious disease MD there who would have to agree with all of this. I have an appointment on Friday."

What I got from the article is he just wants us to send him some drugs....
"Please call only if you can help get me some high-dose antibiotic treatment."

Ooh, a Wikipedia link, watch for that page to be (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833609)

repeatedly defaced for the next few hours.

Open source doctors? (3, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833614)

This is open source on the extreme level... who wants to sign up for open heart surgery open source?

Re:Open source doctors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833698)

No, that's open sores you're thing of.
-rylin

AAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833629)

...Slashdotters around the world frantically click their way over to help but turns out he had just been /.'d.......

Back to work you Slackers! Nothing to see here.

Keep a good thought for him with your deity (5, Interesting)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833660)

That's the least all of us can do that believe in such things. He's done great work. Without his Slackware books and releases, I'd probably not be involved with Linux.

Re:Keep a good thought for him with your deity (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833837)

Prayer is nothing but superstitious nonsense favored by those who choose to be ignorant of the reality of their surroundings.

Intellectuals like myself know that the only way to solve a real problem is to throw money at it, preferably other peoples' money.

Maybe he's just searching google too much? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833665)

Being 6'2" and about 145 pounds I knew I didn't want to be losing any weight.

Is that even remotely healthy? After my grandfather passed away earlier this year he weighed in at 102 pounds at his nursing home. He hadn't walked or moved in over 5 years. He looked absolutely sickly as it was. I can't imagine if he was 6'2" and active.

I inquired with several physicians about "lung plaque" and most of them had never heard of such a thing.

He claims in the story that he's not a hypochondriac but this sure does sound like a partial one.

While driving back I felt a sharp pain in my left side and felt something in there pop and drain (maybe into the pleura?), and since cancer was well on my mind, as well as the fact that this had been going on for way too long, I headed straight to the nearest ER hoping I wasn't bleeding internally or something like that.

While I'm lucky I have never had something like this happen to me I just can't imagine that you would be able to feel yourself "pop" and bleed internally.

He keeps getting prescriptions for ciprofloxacin (and at one point apparently got one w/o really meeting with a doctor) and taking them and saying he's feeling better. Perhaps he's just aggravating the issues?

They have a whole new classification of people that think they are sick with something and search the Internet until they find out what fits them best. I really believe that this may be part of his problem. Then again I'm just reading what some guy says on the Internet and I'm not a doctor ;)

145 lbs. (0, Offtopic)

raygundan (16760) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833890)

I'm 6'1" and 145 lbs, which is close. I'm a runner and a triathlete, and can at least vouch for the fact that you *can* be quite healthy at that height and weight. It's just how I'm built.

Not that this has anything to do with the story, really, but you asked.

Re:145 lbs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833927)

I'm 6'1" and 145 lbs, which is close. I'm a runner and a triathlete, and can at least vouch for the fact that you *can* be quite healthy at that height and weight. It's just how I'm built.

I suppose that sort of build would be acceptable for a triathlete. For someone that has been (for thier account) nearly inactive for two+ years it seems odd.

Re:Maybe he's just searching google too much? (1)

Vilim (615798) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833912)

Great now you have me worried about my health! (That is about my height and weight). Although I fell fine and am active and stuff, just quite skinny. Some people are just naturally skinny, I eat quite a bit, never skip any meals and never gain a pound. Although I have been like this all my life.

Re:Maybe he's just searching google too much? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833914)

Being 6'2" and about 145 pounds I knew I didn't want to be losing any weight.

Is that even remotely healthy?


Breaking news: Half of Slashdot is ~ 6 foot and 150lbs.

Proof (5, Interesting)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833668)

Actions like this (trying to help another) are what really make a community. The fact that people pull together to help another person, whom they probably don't know, proves incorrect those who criticize this community as many takers feeding off of a few givers.

At times, I can see their point. Many people download software/use manuals written by other people, while relatively few contribute actual code (guilty myself). But actions like this allay my concerns and show there really is a true community here.

More information (1)

lecuyerjm (778596) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833670)

Here's more info about this desease [slashdot.org]

Re:More information (2, Informative)

lecuyerjm (778596) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833734)

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr http://www.henryfordhealth.org/14777.cfm

Pray (2)

thefatz (97467) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833681)

Patrick, thanks for keep us in the loop. Im praying for you. Good luck guy and God bless.

NetCraft Confirms, Slack Author Dying. (0, Redundant)

Mad_Rain (674268) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833689)

Hey, if he could joke "Last Post" then we can too.

Karma-whoring article text:
Tuesday, November 16, 2004, 10:43

"Last post?"

Hi folks. If you're reading this, I thank you. Perhaps you'll have a role to play in bringing about the miracle that I desperately need. First, I'd like to apologize for the lack of updates lately in Slackware -current and stable... I know there are a few outstanding issues that need to be addressed. However, I've been too sick to work for a couple of weeks and now I am away from my computers and at my parents' house in Fargo, North Dakota where my only online access is through an AOL dialup. I have told only a select few people about what's going on thinking that I did not want the internet at large to know about this, that I'd get it taken care of and get back on track without a major problem. Now, I'm hoping that this will get seen by a lot of people and that if it hits Slashdot that some kind medical geek will help save my life.

I've generally been a pretty healthy guy. Nobody I know would characterize me as a hypochondriac by any stretch, so when I raise an alarm it tends to be for real. I'm going to give a timeline and run through all the symptoms I've had (so if that sort of thing grosses you out, you can stop reading right now). For the rest of you, here goes. This is going to be long, but hopefully somebody who can help will read it...

This all began quite some time ago, perhaps as long ago as May of 2001. I was preparing Slackware 8.0 for release and working really hard. A pain developed in my shoulder, and (too busy to do anything about it right away) I ignored it and continued to keep working. It got to be pretty bad and one afternoon in early June I was rushed to the emergency room at a hospital in Concord, California. I was sweating, feverish, with a weak pulse of around 50, experiencing chills and seeming to be on the verge of passing out. The doctor who saw me did a chest X-ray and didn't think it was too unusual. I was told it was probably bronchitis and was sent home with a presription for ciprofloxacin which mostly cleared up the problem. Still the pain in my shoulder seemed to vaguely remain. By mid October of 2001, I was in bad shape again. My parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I told them some more Cipro. They found someone who was able to help me out with a 60 day supply (no small task as this was right after the infamous Anthrax mailings when all the newspapers were running articles about Cipro and people were trying to horde it). I finished the two month course of antibiotics and felt better. Not perfect, but significantly improved. I chalked the events of 2001 up to stress, but in retrospect I am not so sure. I had similar problems in 2002 and 2003 that were also knocked back with some antibiotics, but the pain in my left upper back (and some kind of "presence" there) never did fully clear up. Tests for TB came back negative.

Fast forward to May of this year. I found myself complaining about "my usual pain", as I had started to call it, more and more. I was starting to wonder if I was even going to be able to make my annual camping trip out in western New York state at the beginning of July, but I did go. I figured the sun and a little exercise would do me some good, and I did feel a little less like I was "fixin' to die," but upon my return to California things started to do downhill for me again. This whole time I was coughing up some strange stuff. Some of it was white and reminded me of dental plaque. In spite of being a dentist's son I've never had the best oral hygiene so I'm familiar with plaque. The "plaque" I was getting out of my lungs was some nasty stuff and smelled just like dental floss used after a couple of days without brushing. Yeah, I know I should be better about that, but tend to stay up late and if my wife is already asleep don't always turn the light on and wake her up so I can brush before bed. To help me avoid more tooth decay my dad bought me one of those fancy rechargable electric toothbrushes that really powers away the plaque. It also creates a fine aerosol mist of plaque, and I started to wonder if 4 years of using this brush had caused me to breathe in some of this plaque mist and moved an infection into my lungs. I inquired with several physicians about "lung plaque" and most of them had never heard of such a thing. One told me he had heard of something like that in people who were exposed to asbestos, though. Searching on Google didn't turn up any relevant hits on the subject.

By early September 2004, I was spending a good portion of the time I'd normally be working online flat on my back instead. The pain that had started in my left upper back had moved into my left side below the ribs, and my right side just under my armpit, too. Being an ex-smoker, worries of lung cancer were starting to consume my thoughts. A close friend of my father's had recently died from that disease, and his initial symptom was also shoulder pain -- in fact, they treated him for a presumed pulled muscle for many months while the real problem went undiagnosed. Sometime in October I decided that it was time to pull my head out of the sand and get in to see my usual physician who runs a small clinic in Concord, tell him all of this stuff, and at least try to get cancer ruled out. He ordered chest X-rays, blood work, ran an EKG, and checked all my usual vital signs. I told him about the "lung plaque" and reported feeling weak all the time with no appetite. Being 6'2" and about 145 pounds I knew I didn't want to be losing any weight. He also listened to my chest and like all the doctors I've seen this year thought it sounded mostly clear, like there wasn't anything major going on there. The X-ray was a little different story though. It was taken on a Thursday and I was told not to expect to hear anything until sometime the next week. Well, the next morning the phone rang and it was my doctor. He told me there was something "suspicious" seen in my left upper lung (right about where the long-standing pain was), and that I needed to get some more X-rays at the local hospital instead of the imaging center I'd gone to before. They weren't going to be able to get me in there until the next Monday.

The next morning I decided that I'd better FedEx some T-shirts that my friends at the GUS in Brazil had been waiting for (not knowing how much longer I could procrastinate on that, etc). While driving back I felt a sharp pain in my left side and felt something in there pop and drain (maybe into the pleura?), and since cancer was well on my mind, as well as the fact that this had been going on for way too long, I headed straight to the nearest ER hoping I wasn't bleeding internally or something like that. By the time the doctor there saw me I was holding onto my left side which seemed to help the pain a bit. He ran a UA (and called it "questionable") and sent me down for a CT scan. No iodine dye -- just a lower abdominal scan to see if I had any kidney stones (and yes, I related as much of this other info as he had time to hear in a busy ER). No stones were found, but he wrote me a script for Cipro and some pain medication. I showed up at the hospital the next day (in only slightly better shape) to try to schedule additional X-rays, but they had misplaced the fax my doctor had sent in, and they didn't want to schedule additional images until they had seen the first ones. I never did see those myself, and the imaging center requires a 48 hour notice to check out films. It was starting to look like going through this medical center was going to be a slow process, and I wasn't sure I had that kind of time.

So, I made the decision to pack up the car and drive back to North Dakota from California. My Dad has been part of the medical community for years there, and knows a lot of people. I figured he would know who I should be seeing, and could help me set something up. A week ago Sunday (Nov. 7) my wife Andrea and I set out to make the 1680 mile drive to Fargo. We made it as far as Monida Pass. This is a mountain pass on the Idaho/Montana border with an elevation of 6820 feet. On the way up the grade I knew it wasn't going to be kind to me. I felt an intense squeezing under my sternum and started to sweat and nearly passed out. I've never previously had any trouble with high elevations and have done hiking and mountain biking at much higher ones than this particular pass. Luckily Andrea was driving at the time! We decided that we would stop at the next fairly large town with a hospital and see what they could do for me. This was Butte, Montana, an old mining town, and home of St. James Hospital. The folks there were absolutely wonderful to me. They did some more blood work (finding only a slightly low potassium level), chest X-rays, and a CT with the iodine. They didn't wait long for the dye to circulate because they said the main goal there was to insure I didn't have a pulmonary embolism. I did not have that. The doctor and radiologist also told me my lungs looked "slightly inflamed" and to stay on the Cipro, but that I was unlikely to keel over before making it to Fargo, especially as I'd be losing elevation rapidly upon heading east. They packed the X-rays and CT scans into a big envelope and told me I could borrow it to take to my doctor in Fargo, and that they see a lot of people come in from that pass with similar problems. So, off we went. I was mostly ok getting back to Fargo, but never lost the feeling that someone was leaning on my chest pressing on my sternum, and was occasionally short of breath even after getting down to the 1000 foot elevation.

Back in Fargo, I had an appointment with an internal MD on Thursday morning. By Wednesday night the pressure under my sternum was so bad that it felt like I was having a heart attack, and was again taken to an ER (the Slackware 2004 ER tour continues). While there I started to feel better, and the pressure was letting up, and I did not want to be a GOMER in their emergency room. The doctor I saw the next day focused on the possibility of a thyroid or liver problem, and ran some more tests that came back looking ok. He thought the CT from Butte looked "within normal limits". That night I again got the squeeze (pericardis?) but suffered through it because I did not want to go back to the ER. I've had at least one strong attack every day since, along with the sensation of "pop and drain" in all the original pain points and under my sternum. The next day (Saturday, 13th) I went to a local clinic with an MD in private practice. This guy was/is great, and has seen me about a half dozen times since. He agreed that I had signs of serious infection, including a disgusting garlic/sulfur smell you could detect at 50 paces. He put me on levaquinone and metronidazole hoping to have a better chance of covering whatever the responsible bacteria was. Took more X-rays but couldn't see anything obvious. We discussed getting an echocardiogram to look for pericardius.

Then, I got my Google breakthrough. One of the symptoms I'd noticed over a year ago was feeling like something hard was stuck in my throat causing me to cough. Maybe 4 times I was able to recover was looked like a small (
There you have it. That's where I am today. If anyone out there is familiar with this and is able to help, please let me know. I'll travel anywhere I have to at this point. I can be reached on my cell phone at (925) 535-9062. Please call only if you can help get me some high-dose antibiotic treatment. I have been trying to check email at least once a day at volkerdi@slackware.com as well. I'll accept whatever you'd like to send me at that address (as usual :-), but if you're contacting me with an offer of help please add [HELP] to the subject so that I'll be able to find those emails more easily. Say prayers, knock on wood, whatever. I need all the help I can get. Anything sent here will be confidential unless you say otherwise, too. I also hope if I'm off the job for a couple more weeks that the Slackware community will still support me until I can return to the job, which I'm really itching to do ASAP. This experience has changed my perspective on a lot of things, and I think the future will be different (and better).

Oh, there's this blood test result which I should also mention. While almost everything looks normal there, the following white cell counts are (barely) out of the normal range: Neutrophils 79 (high) NormalRange = 40-75 Lymphocytes 16 (low) = 20-45 Absolute Eosinophil 0.00 (low) = 0.015-0.500 BTW, my login quote tonight was "Snow and adolescence are the only problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough." heh.

Thanks for listening. - --- Patrick J. Volkerding

This just in from Redmond .... (3, Funny)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833690)

"Extended Exposure To Linux Proven to be Dangerous to Your Health!"

Not only is Linux less secure than Windows for computer bourne infectants, but recent studies have shown that users who have extended exposure to the operating system come down with other human based diseases at a rate greater than 100% greater than Windows users.

In related news, SCO guarantees safety from infection by end users who pay their modest licensing fee.

Another mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833695)

ftp.slackware.com really needs to not be hammered... if the other site goes down in case this makes it to the front somehow, I've got a little bit of bandwidth to spare:

http://uml.axpr.net/
http://uml.axpr.net/PAT-NE EDS-YOUR-HELP.txt

chest pains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833700)

hiatal hernia?

I feel for the guy... (4, Insightful)

handorf (29768) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833710)

But self-medicating like he did with the Cipro is part of the problem with medical care in this country.

If you have a multi-year problem, go do the doctor! Do what they tell you! DON'T think you know more than them. Doing research on your own is one thing (good-on-ya there) but antibiotics are not toys!

Hope you get better, though. /waiting for the superbug

It Was HIS Mistake... not the Health System (1)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833811)

Why in the hell would anyone self-medicate themselves with cipro? Antibiotic abuse is bad enough among physicians, let alone some guy self-medicating himself.

But he learned a hard lesson. 1. don't self-medicate and 2. research yourself when in doubt. take your findings to your primary care physician whom you have a relationship with.

Re:I feel for the guy... (5, Funny)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833921)

If you have a multi-year problem, go do the doctor!

Ah, so is that the secret to getting good health care in the US? ;)

Yaz.

Here's the prescription: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833712)

Take one slashdotting and call me in the morning.

Text (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833714)

complete text:
------
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Tuesday, November 16, 2004, 10:43

"Last post?"

Hi folks. If you're reading this, I thank you. Perhaps you'll have a role
to play in bringing about the miracle that I desperately need. First, I'd
like to apologize for the lack of updates lately in Slackware -current and
stable... I know there are a few outstanding issues that need to be
addressed. However, I've been too sick to work for a couple of weeks and
now I am away from my computers and at my parents' house in Fargo, North
Dakota where my only online access is through an AOL dialup. I have told
only a select few people about what's going on thinking that I did not want
the internet at large to know about this, that I'd get it taken care of
and get back on track without a major problem. Now, I'm hoping that this
will get seen by a lot of people and that if it hits Slashdot that some
kind medical geek will help save my life.

I've generally been a pretty healthy guy. Nobody I know would characterize
me as a hypochondriac by any stretch, so when I raise an alarm it tends to
be for real. I'm going to give a timeline and run through all the
symptoms I've had (so if that sort of thing grosses you out, you can stop
reading right now). For the rest of you, here goes. This is going to be
long, but hopefully somebody who can help will read it...

This all began quite some time ago, perhaps as long ago as May of 2001.
I was preparing Slackware 8.0 for release and working really hard. A pain
developed in my shoulder, and (too busy to do anything about it right
away) I ignored it and continued to keep working. It got to be pretty
bad and one afternoon in early June I was rushed to the emergency room
at a hospital in Concord, California. I was sweating, feverish, with a
weak pulse of around 50, experiencing chills and seeming to be on the
verge of passing out. The doctor who saw me did a chest X-ray and didn't
think it was too unusual. I was told it was probably bronchitis and was
sent home with a prescription for ciprofloxacin which mostly cleared up
the problem. Still the pain in my shoulder seemed to vaguely remain.
By mid October of 2001, I was in bad shape again. My parents asked me
what I wanted for my birthday and I told them some more Cipro. They
found someone who was able to help me out with a 60 day supply (no small
task as this was right after the infamous Anthrax mailings when all the
newspapers were running articles about Cipro and people were trying to
horde it). I finished the two month course of antibiotics and felt
better. Not perfect, but significantly improved. I chalked the events
of 2001 up to stress, but in retrospect I am not so sure. I had
similar problems in 2002 and 2003 that were also knocked back with some
antibiotics, but the pain in my left upper back (and some kind of
"presence" there) never did fully clear up. Tests for TB came back
negative.

Fast forward to May of this year. I found myself complaining about "my
usual pain", as I had started to call it, more and more. I was starting
to wonder if I was even going to be able to make my annual camping trip
out in western New York state at the beginning of July, but I did go.
I figured the sun and a little exercise would do me some good, and I
did feel a little less like I was "fixin' to die," but upon my return
to California things started to go downhill for me again. This whole
time I was coughing up some strange stuff. Some of it was white and
reminded me of dental plaque. In spite of being a dentist's son I've
never had the best oral hygiene so I'm familiar with plaque. The
"plaque" I was getting out of my lungs was some nasty stuff and
smelled just like dental floss used after a couple of days without
brushing. Yeah, I know I should be better about that, but tend to
stay up late and if my wife is already asleep don't always turn the
light on and wake her up so I can brush before bed. To help me avoid
more tooth decay my dad bought me one of those fancy rechargable
electric toothbrushes that really powers away the plaque. It also
creates a fine aerosol mist of plaque, and I started to wonder if 4
years of using this brush had caused me to breathe in some of this
plaque mist and moved an infection into my lungs. I inquired with
several physicians about "lung plaque" and most of them had never
heard of such a thing. One told me he had heard of something like
that in people who were exposed to asbestos, though. Searching on
Google didn't turn up any relevant hits on the subject.

By early September 2004, I was spending a good portion of the time
I'd normally be working online flat on my back instead. The pain
that had started in my left upper back had moved into my left side
below the ribs, and my right side just under my armpit, too. Being
an ex-smoker, worries of lung cancer were starting to consume my
thoughts. A close friend of my father's had recently died from that
disease, and his initial symptom was also shoulder pain -- in fact,
they treated him for a presumed pulled muscle for many months while
the real problem went undiagnosed. Sometime in October I decided
that it was time to pull my head out of the sand and get in to see
my usual physician who runs a small clinic in Concord, tell him all
of this stuff, and at least try to get cancer ruled out. He ordered
chest X-rays, blood work, ran an EKG, and checked all my usual vital
signs. I told him about the "lung plaque" and reported feeling weak
all the time with no appetite. Being 6'2" and about 145 pounds I
knew I didn't want to be losing any weight. He also listened to my
chest and like all the doctors I've seen this year thought it sounded
mostly clear, like there wasn't anything major going on there. The
X-ray was a little different story though. It was taken on a
Thursday and I was told not to expect to hear anything until sometime
the next week. Well, the next morning the phone rang and it was my
doctor. He told me there was something "suspicious" seen in my left
upper lung (right about where the long-standing pain was), and that
I needed to get some more X-rays at the local hospital instead of
the imaging center I'd gone to before. They weren't going to be able
to get me in there until the next Monday.

The next morning I decided that I'd better FedEx some T-shirts that
my friends at the GUS in Brazil had been waiting for (not knowing
how much longer I could procrastinate on that, etc). While driving
back I felt a sharp pain in my left side and felt something in there
pop and drain (maybe into the pleura?), and since cancer was well on
my mind, as well as the fact that this had been going on for way too
long, I headed straight to the nearest ER hoping I wasn't bleeding
internally or something like that. By the time the doctor there saw
me I was holding onto my left side which seemed to help the pain a
bit. He ran a UA (and called it "questionable") and sent me down for
a CT scan. No iodine dye -- just a lower abdominal scan to see if I
had any kidney stones (and yes, I related as much of this other info
as he had time to hear in a busy ER). No stones were found, but he
wrote me a script for Cipro and some pain medication. I showed up
at the hospital the next day (in only slightly better shape) to try
to schedule additional X-rays, but they had misplaced the fax my
doctor had sent in, and they didn't want to schedule additional images
until they had seen the first ones. I never did see those myself,
and the imaging center requires a 48 hour notice to check out films.
It was starting to look like going through this medical center was
going to be a slow process, and I wasn't sure I had that kind of time.

So, I made the decision to pack up the car and drive back to North
Dakota from California. My Dad has been part of the medical community
for years there, and knows a lot of people. I figured he would know
who I should be seeing, and could help me set something up. A week
ago Sunday (Nov. 7) my wife Andrea and I set out to make the 1680 mile
drive to Fargo. We made it as far as Monida Pass. This is a mountain
pass on the Idaho/Montana border with an elevation of 6820 feet. On
the way up the grade I knew it wasn't going to be kind to me. I felt
an intense squeezing under my sternum and started to sweat and nearly
passed out. I've never previously had any trouble with high elevations
and have done hiking and mountain biking at much higher ones than this
particular pass. Luckily Andrea was driving at the time! We decided
that we would stop at the next fairly large town with a hospital and
see what they could do for me. This was Butte, Montana, an old mining
town, and home of St. James Hospital. The folks there were absolutely
wonderful to me. They did some more blood work (finding only a slightly
low potassium level), chest X-rays, and a CT with the iodine. They
didn't wait long for the dye to circulate because they said the main
goal there was to insure I didn't have a pulmonary embolism. I did not
have that. The doctor and radiologist also told me my lungs looked
"slightly inflamed" and to stay on the Cipro, but that I was unlikely
to keel over before making it to Fargo, especially as I'd be losing
elevation rapidly upon heading east. They packed the X-rays and CT
scans into a big envelope and told me I could borrow it to take to
my doctor in Fargo, and that they see a lot of people come in from that
pass with similar problems. So, off we went. I was mostly ok getting
back to Fargo, but never lost the feeling that someone was leaning on
my chest pressing on my sternum, and was occasionally short of breath
even after getting down to the 1000 foot elevation.

Back in Fargo, I had an appointment with an internal MD on Thursday
morning. By Wednesday night the pressure under my sternum was so
bad that it felt like I was having a heart attack, and was again
taken to an ER (the Slackware 2004 ER tour continues). While there
I started to feel better, and the pressure was letting up, and I
did not want to be a GOMER in their emergency room. The doctor I saw
the next day focused on the possibility of a thyroid or liver problem,
and ran some more tests that came back looking ok. He thought the CT
from Butte looked "within normal limits". That night I again got the
squeeze (pericardis?) but suffered through it because I did not want
to go back to the ER. I've had at least one strong attack every day
since, along with the sensation of "pop and drain" in all the original
pain points and under my sternum. The next day (Saturday, 13th) I went
to a local clinic with an MD in private practice. This guy was/is
great, and has seen me about a half dozen times since. He agreed
that I had signs of serious infection, including a disgusting
garlic/sulfur smell you could detect at 50 paces. He put me on
levaquinone and metronidazole hoping to have a better chance of
covering whatever the responsible bacteria was. Took more X-rays
but couldn't see anything obvious. We discussed getting an
echocardiogram to look for pericardius.

Then, I got my Google breakthrough. One of the symptoms I'd
noticed over a year ago was feeling like something hard was stuck
in my throat causing me to cough. Maybe 4 times I was able to
recover was looked like a small (= 1mm), round, hard granule that
was light yellow in color. I'm sure I swallowed a bunch of them,
but hadn't seen too many examples and had not remembered to
mention this to any MDs along the way. I googled for "yellow lung
granule" and maybe the third hit mentioned something called
Actinomycosis. There it was, a laundry list of the symptoms I'd
been experiencing. Furthermore, the disease is caused by the
same bacteria that normally lives in the mouth and in dental
plaque. Infections are most common in the jaw, but sometimes
occur in the lungs and spread elsewhere through the body. The
hallmark of the disease is the finding of small granules of
sulfur. Aha, I thought. Now that I know what this is, I should
be able to get some treatment. I tried "sulfur lung granule" on
Google instead and had a ton of hits, all highly relevant to
the situation I was experiencing. I printed out one of the hits
from the Johns Hopkins Microbiology newsletter and raced back to
the clinic to tell Rodney about it. He looked it over and
thanked me for doing so much work for him (whatta guy :-), and
on the basis of what I'd told him felt there was a good chance
that we were looking at the answer right there. None of the
antibiotics I was on would touch this -- they were all too modern.
That was one of the terrible side effects of old antibiotics;
they would kill the natural flora in the mouth and GI tract and
you have all kinds of problems like fungal and yeast infections
as a result. So the newer classes of antibiotics are carefully
chosen to avoid killing those types of bacteria, and this was
probably caused by Actinomyces, the most common bacteria in the
mouth. When found in a lab culture, its presence tends to be
discounted as normal. So, what kills this stuff? Good old
penicillin. Yup, while everything else in the world became
resistant to penicillin and amoxicillin, Actinomyces israelii
never did. Rodney had me quit taking the other antibiotics and
put me on amoxicillin (even though V-cillin-K 1g qid might have
been a better choice). I've been on it for a couple of days and
I'm doing a bit better. I don't stink anymore and the palms of
my hands have quit sweating. He also gave me five days of
prednisone which seems to be lessening the frequency of the
chest attacks, although one did get me out of bed at 03:00 last
night (and I took the opportunity to start working on this report
hoping to save myself). Problem is, things are somewhat
contained, but still appear to be spreading. I'm getting sudden
pressure releases occasionally that seem to be coming from the
pleura or pericardium, and this morning had one that seemed to
be inside my head. This has me more than a little concerned.
- From everything I've read about this, it is a really tough
thing to treat. Oral penicillin generally does not do it. What
is needed is 2 to 6 weeks of IV penicillin G (12 to 24 million
units a day), followed by 12 months of V-cillin-K 1g four times
a day. Amoxicillin 500mg 3 times a day has me in a holding pattern,
but it's probably not going to do the trick. Rodney has no ability
to directly admit me to a hospital without first sending me to an
infectious disease MD there who would have to agree with all of this.
I have an appointment on Friday.

There you have it. That's where I am today. If anyone out there
is familiar with this and is able to help, please let me know.
I'll travel anywhere I have to at this point. I can be reached on
my cell phone at (925) 535-9062. Please call only if you can help
get me some high-dose antibiotic treatment. I have been trying to
check email at least once a day at volkerdi@slackware.com as well.
I'll accept whatever you'd like to send me at that address (as
usual :-), but if you're contacting me with an offer of help please
add [HELP] to the subject so that I'll be able to find those emails
more easily. Say prayers, knock on wood, whatever. I need all the
help I can get. Anything sent here will be confidential unless you
say otherwise, too. I also hope if I'm off the job for a couple
more weeks that the Slackware community will still support me when
I can return to the job, which I'm really itching to do ASAP (I'm
not looking for donations though). This experience has changed my
perspective on a lot of things, and I think the future will be
different (and better).

Oh, there's this blood test result which I should also mention.
While almost everything looks normal there, the following white
cell counts are (barely) out of the normal range:
Neutrophils 79 (high) NormalRange = 40-75
Lymphocytes 16 (low) = 20-45
Absolute Eosinophil 0.00 (low) = 0.015-0.500

BTW, my login quote tonight was "Snow and adolescence are the only
problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough." heh.

Thanks for listening.

- ---
Patrick J. Volkerding

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The Regular Cure is needed! (-1, Troll)

McFly69 (603543) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833742)

Usually one cure and one cure works the best; a visit from Dr. Jack. A tall bottle (1.75 liter) of Dr. Jack Daniels will fix anyone right up!

this is why i dont use slackware (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833746)

Slackware is basically a one man show.

The "what if he's hit by a bus" factor was just too high with slackware.

Now that he's sick I'm glad I never commited any amount of servers to slackware.

Telling you boss you need to migrate the servers to another distro because the guy who maintains your distro just came down with a mystery illness ain't gonna go over too well.

Re:this is why i dont use slackware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833934)

It ain't a troll, it's real life.

Move out of yor momma's basement.

Treating yourself with antibiotics (3, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833748)

Although he doesn't come out and say it, it appears that he was treating himself with antibiotics.

This is astonishing, and I'd go as far to say this is stupid, and even immoral.

Stupid, because you could create a drug resistant strain of whatever it is and kill yourself. Who know, he probably already has. Immoral, because that drug resistant strain of whatever is now a threat to everyone else if they catch it.

Folks, don't be treating yourself with antibiotics. Unless you're a doctor, you don't know what you're doing.

You could have said it more politely (2, Informative)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833863)

But yes, you really shouldn't self-prescribe antibiotics. Even if you think you know what it is you have, go see a doctor anyway.

And while I'm at it: take the whole course. Don't stop just because your symptoms go away.

Support Patrick with Penguins (3, Informative)

Andrew Sterian (182) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833753)

Go to The Slackware Store [slackware.com] and get a cute little penguin, or preorder Slackware 10.1. This is not a bad time to show Patrick some appreciation for what is IMHO still the best distribution out there.

He's sick... so you slashdot his ass (0, Troll)

digitalgimpus (468277) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833764)

He's sick... so you slashdot his ass

I'm sure he appreciates that though... even if his ISP doesn't.

Anyway... I'll be sure to keep him in mind. A real terrible ordeal.

Hopefully thanks to a slashdot linking, google will index that ASAP, and the next person to have these symptoms will benefit from his detailed posting.

Text of the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833771)

Posted anonymously so as not to Karma Whore....

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Tuesday, November 16, 2004, 10:43

"Last post?"

Hi folks. If you're reading this, I thank you. Perhaps you'll have a role
to play in bringing about the miracle that I desperately need. First, I'd
like to apologize for the lack of updates lately in Slackware -current and
stable... I know there are a few outstanding issues that need to be
addressed. However, I've been too sick to work for a couple of weeks and
now I am away from my computers and at my parents' house in Fargo, North
Dakota where my only online access is through an AOL dialup. I have told
only a select few people about what's going on thinking that I did not want
the internet at large to know about this, that I'd get it taken care of
and get back on track without a major problem. Now, I'm hoping that this
will get seen by a lot of people and that if it hits Slashdot that some
kind medical geek will help save my life.

I've generally been a pretty healthy guy. Nobody I know would characterize
me as a hypochondriac by any stretch, so when I raise an alarm it tends to
be for real. I'm going to give a timeline and run through all the
symptoms I've had (so if that sort of thing grosses you out, you can stop
reading right now). For the rest of you, here goes. This is going to be
long, but hopefully somebody who can help will read it...

This all began quite some time ago, perhaps as long ago as May of 2001.
I was preparing Slackware 8.0 for release and working really hard. A pain
developed in my shoulder, and (too busy to do anything about it right
away) I ignored it and continued to keep working. It got to be pretty
bad and one afternoon in early June I was rushed to the emergency room
at a hospital in Concord, California. I was sweating, feverish, with a
weak pulse of around 50, experiencing chills and seeming to be on the
verge of passing out. The doctor who saw me did a chest X-ray and didn't
think it was too unusual. I was told it was probably bronchitis and was
sent home with a presription for ciprofloxacin which mostly cleared up
the problem. Still the pain in my shoulder seemed to vaguely remain.
By mid October of 2001, I was in bad shape again. My parents asked me
what I wanted for my birthday and I told them some more Cipro. They
found someone who was able to help me out with a 60 day supply (no small
task as this was right after the infamous Anthrax mailings when all the
newspapers were running articles about Cipro and people were trying to
horde it). I finished the two month course of antibiotics and felt
better. Not perfect, but significantly improved. I chalked the events
of 2001 up to stress, but in retrospect I am not so sure. I had
similar problems in 2002 and 2003 that were also knocked back with some
antibiotics, but the pain in my left upper back (and some kind of
"presence" there) never did fully clear up. Tests for TB came back
negative.

Fast forward to May of this year. I found myself complaining about "my
usual pain", as I had started to call it, more and more. I was starting
to wonder if I was even going to be able to make my annual camping trip
out in western New York state at the beginning of July, but I did go.
I figured the sun and a little exercise would do me some good, and I
did feel a little less like I was "fixin' to die," but upon my return
to California things started to do downhill for me again. This whole
time I was coughing up some strange stuff. Some of it was white and
reminded me of dental plaque. In spite of being a dentist's son I've
never had the best oral hygiene so I'm familiar with plaque. The
"plaque" I was getting out of my lungs was some nasty stuff and
smelled just like dental floss used after a couple of days without
brushing. Yeah, I know I should be better about that, but tend to
stay up late and if my wife is already asleep don't always turn the
light on and wake her up so I can brush before bed. To help me avoid
more tooth decay my dad bought me one of those fancy rechargable
electric toothbrushes that really powers away the plaque. It also
creates a fine aerosol mist of plaque, and I started to wonder if 4
years of using this brush had caused me to breathe in some of this
plaque mist and moved an infection into my lungs. I inquired with
several physicians about "lung plaque" and most of them had never
heard of such a thing. One told me he had heard of something like
that in people who were exposed to asbestos, though. Searching on
Google didn't turn up any relevant hits on the subject.

By early September 2004, I was spending a good portion of the time
I'd normally be working online flat on my back instead. The pain
that had started in my left upper back had moved into my left side
below the ribs, and my right side just under my armpit, too. Being
an ex-smoker, worries of lung cancer were starting to consume my
thoughts. A close friend of my father's had recently died from that
disease, and his initial symptom was also shoulder pain -- in fact,
they treated him for a presumed pulled muscle for many months while
the real problem went undiagnosed. Sometime in October I decided
that it was time to pull my head out of the sand and get in to see
my usual physician who runs a small clinic in Concord, tell him all
of this stuff, and at least try to get cancer ruled out. He ordered
chest X-rays, blood work, ran an EKG, and checked all my usual vital
signs. I told him about the "lung plaque" and reported feeling weak
all the time with no appetite. Being 6'2" and about 145 pounds I
knew I didn't want to be losing any weight. He also listened to my
chest and like all the doctors I've seen this year thought it sounded
mostly clear, like there wasn't anything major going on there. The
X-ray was a little different story though. It was taken on a
Thursday and I was told not to expect to hear anything until sometime
the next week. Well, the next morning the phone rang and it was my
doctor. He told me there was something "suspicious" seen in my left
upper lung (right about where the long-standing pain was), and that
I needed to get some more X-rays at the local hospital instead of
the imaging center I'd gone to before. They weren't going to be able
to get me in there until the next Monday.

The next morning I decided that I'd better FedEx some T-shirts that
my friends at the GUS in Brazil had been waiting for (not knowing
how much longer I could procrastinate on that, etc). While driving
back I felt a sharp pain in my left side and felt something in there
pop and drain (maybe into the pleura?), and since cancer was well on
my mind, as well as the fact that this had been going on for way too
long, I headed straight to the nearest ER hoping I wasn't bleeding
internally or something like that. By the time the doctor there saw
me I was holding onto my left side which seemed to help the pain a
bit. He ran a UA (and called it "questionable") and sent me down for
a CT scan. No iodine dye -- just a lower abdominal scan to see if I
had any kidney stones (and yes, I related as much of this other info
as he had time to hear in a busy ER). No stones were found, but he
wrote me a script for Cipro and some pain medication. I showed up
at the hospital the next day (in only slightly better shape) to try
to schedule additional X-rays, but they had misplaced the fax my
doctor had sent in, and they didn't want to schedule additional images
until they had seen the first ones. I never did see those myself,
and the imaging center requires a 48 hour notice to check out films.
It was starting to look like going through this medical center was
going to be a slow process, and I wasn't sure I had that kind of time.

So, I made the decision to pack up the car and drive back to North
Dakota from California. My Dad has been part of the medical community
for years there, and knows a lot of people. I figured he would know
who I should be seeing, and could help me set something up. A week
ago Sunday (Nov. 7) my wife Andrea and I set out to make the 1680 mile
drive to Fargo. We made it as far as Monida Pass. This is a mountain
pass on the Idaho/Montana border with an elevation of 6820 feet. On
the way up the grade I knew it wasn't going to be kind to me. I felt
an intense squeezing under my sternum and started to sweat and nearly
passed out. I've never previously had any trouble with high elevations
and have done hiking and mountain biking at much higher ones than this
particular pass. Luckily Andrea was driving at the time! We decided
that we would stop at the next fairly large town with a hospital and
see what they could do for me. This was Butte, Montana, an old mining
town, and home of St. James Hospital. The folks there were absolutely
wonderful to me. They did some more blood work (finding only a slightly
low potassium level), chest X-rays, and a CT with the iodine. They
didn't wait long for the dye to circulate because they said the main
goal there was to insure I didn't have a pulmonary embolism. I did not
have that. The doctor and radiologist also told me my lungs looked
"slightly inflamed" and to stay on the Cipro, but that I was unlikely
to keel over before making it to Fargo, especially as I'd be losing
elevation rapidly upon heading east. They packed the X-rays and CT
scans into a big envelope and told me I could borrow it to take to
my doctor in Fargo, and that they see a lot of people come in from that
pass with similar problems. So, off we went. I was mostly ok getting
back to Fargo, but never lost the feeling that someone was leaning on
my chest pressing on my sternum, and was occasionally short of breath
even after getting down to the 1000 foot elevation.

Back in Fargo, I had an appointment with an internal MD on Thursday
morning. By Wednesday night the pressure under my sternum was so
bad that it felt like I was having a heart attack, and was again
taken to an ER (the Slackware 2004 ER tour continues). While there
I started to feel better, and the pressure was letting up, and I
did not want to be a GOMER in their emergency room. The doctor I saw
the next day focused on the possibility of a thyroid or liver problem,
and ran some more tests that came back looking ok. He thought the CT
from Butte looked "within normal limits". That night I again got the
squeeze (pericardis?) but suffered through it because I did not want
to go back to the ER. I've had at least one strong attack every day
since, along with the sensation of "pop and drain" in all the original
pain points and under my sternum. The next day (Saturday, 13th) I went
to a local clinic with an MD in private practice. This guy was/is
great, and has seen me about a half dozen times since. He agreed
that I had signs of serious infection, including a disgusting
garlic/sulfur smell you could detect at 50 paces. He put me on
levaquinone and metronidazole hoping to have a better chance of
covering whatever the responsible bacteria was. Took more X-rays
but couldn't see anything obvious. We discussed getting an
echocardiogram to look for pericardius.

Then, I got my Google breakthrough. One of the symptoms I'd
noticed over a year ago was feeling like something hard was stuck
in my throat causing me to cough. Maybe 4 times I was able to
recover was looked like a small (= 1mm), round, hard granule that
was light yellow in color. I'm sure I swallowed a bunch of them,
but hadn't seen too many examples and had not remembered to
mention this to any MDs along the way. I googled for "yellow lung
granule" and maybe the third hit mentioned something called
Actinomycosis. There it was, a laundry list of the symptoms I'd
been experiencing. Furthermore, the disease is caused by the
same bacteria that normally lives in the mouth and in dental
plaque. Infections are most common in the jaw, but sometimes
occur in the lungs and spread elsewhere through the body. The
hallmark of the disease is the finding of small granules of
sulfur. Aha, I thought. Now that I know what this is, I should
be able to get some treatment. I tried "sulfur lung granule" on
Google instead and had a ton of hits, all highly relevant to
the situation I was experiencing. I printed out one of the hits
from the Johns Hopkins Microbiology newsletter and raced back to
the clinic to tell Rodney about it. He looked at over and
thanked me for doing so much work for him (whatta guy :-), and
on the basis of what I'd told him felt there was a good chance
that we were looking at the answer right there. None of the
antibiotics I was on would touch this -- they were all too modern.
That was one of the terrible side effects of old antibiotics;
they would kill the natural flora in the mouth and GI tract and
you have all kinds of problems like fungal and yeast infections
as a result. So the newer classes of antibiotics are carefully
chosen to avoid killing those types of bacteria, and this was
probably caused by Actinomyces, the most common bacteria in the
mouth. When found in a lab culture, its precense tends to be
discounted as normal. So, what kills this stuff? Good old
penicillin. Yup, while everything else in the world became
resistant to penicillin and amoxicillin, Actinomyces israelii
never did. Rodney had me quit taking the other antibiotics and
put me on amoxicillin (even though V-cillin-K 1g qid might have
been a better choice). I've been on it for a couple of days and
I'm doing a bit better. I don't stink anymore and the palms of
my hands have quit sweating. He also gave me five days of
prednisone which seems to be lessening the frequency of the
chest attacks, although one did get me out of bed at 03:00 last
night (and I took the opportunity to start working on this report
hoping to save myself). Problem is, things are somewhat
contained, but still appear to be spreading. I'm getting sudden
pressure releases occasionally that seem to be coming from the
pleura or pericardium, and this morning had one that seemed to
be inside my head. This has me more than a little concerned.
- From everything I've read about this, it is a really tough
thing to treat. Oral penicillin generally does not do it. What
is needed is 2 to 6 weeks of IV penicillin G (12 to 24 million
units a day), followed by 12 months of V-cillin-K 1g four times
a day. Amoxicillin 500mg 3 times a day has me in a holding pattern,
but it's probably not going to do the trick. Rodney has no ability
to directly admit me to a hospital without first sending me to an
infectious disease MD there who would have to agree with all of this.
I have an appointment on Friday.

There you have it. That's where I am today. If anyone out there
is familiar with this and is able to help, please let me know.
I'll travel anywhere I have to at this point. I can be reached on
my cell phone at (925) 535-9062. Please call only if you can help
get me some high-dose antibiotic treatment. I have been trying to
check email at least once a day at volkerdi@slackware.com as well.
I'll accept whatever you'd like to send me at that address (as
usual :-), but if you're contacting me with an offer of help please
add [HELP] to the subject so that I'll be able to find those emails
more easily. Say prayers, knock on wood, whatever. I need all the
help I can get. Anything sent here will be confidential unless you
say otherwise, too. I also hope if I'm off the job for a couple
more weeks that the Slackware community will still support me until
I can return to the job, which I'm really itching to do ASAP. This
experience has changed my perspective on a lot of things, and I think
the future will be different (and better).

Oh, there's this blood test result which I should also mention.
While almost everything looks normal there, the following white
cell counts are (barely) out of the normal range:
Neutrophils 79 (high) NormalRange = 40-75
Lymphocytes 16 (low) = 20-45
Absolute Eosinophil 0.00 (low) = 0.015-0.500

BTW, my login quote tonight was "Snow and adolescence are the only
problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough." heh.

Thanks for listening.

- ---
Patrick J. Volkerding

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ew.... (1)

SilveRo_kun (741555) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833773)

Man, reading the whole thing almost made me sick...
Poor guy, I really hope he gets cured soon, and I also home his health insurance is covering it all...

IF ANYONE OUT THERE KNOWS PAT PERSONALLY (1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833775)

Please take him to a doctor/hospital immediately. Forcibly, if necessary.

Here is what you can do: (1)

UnixSphere (820423) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833780)

Please call only if you can help get me some high- dose antibiotic treatment. I have been trying to check email at least once a day at volkerdi@slackware.com as well. I'll accept whatever you'd like to send me at that address (as usual :-), but if you're contacting me with an offer of help please add [HELP] to the subject so that I'll be able to find those emails more easily. Say prayers, knock on wood, whatever. I need all the help I can get. I also hope if I'm off the job for a couple more weeks that the Slackware community will still support me until I can return to the job, which I'm really itching to do ASAP.

BTW, the mirror is now down, here is another:

http://www.unixsphere.net/~devnull/PAT-NEEDS-YOUR- HELP.txt [unixsphere.net]

Horses and Zebras (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833784)

I don't know if this is just the state of health care in the US, but more and more doctors only seem to be able to recognize "the normal stuff". They write you a scrip and send you home with the easiest diagnosis. I watched my mom suffer from extreme vertigo which went untreated until she found a NYT article about it and took it to her neurologist (they were testing her for allergies). My SO was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and I listed in on the phone as his MD explained it to him. Not uncommon, but I was was interested to note he was pretty much reading from webmd. I know doctors are taught that hoofbeats are horses, not zebras, but with only 10 min/patient they don't seem intersted in much else. Great if you just want a scrip and can parrot the right symptoms; not so good if you need a real diagnosis.

Slashdot, mirrors, and clarifications (4, Informative)

fred87 (720738) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833797)

- RE those "It's inconsiderate to post this on slashdot":
"Now, I'm hoping that this will get seen by a lot of people and that if it hits Slashdot that some kind medical geek will help save my life."

- Mirrors:
http://uml.axpr.net/ [axpr.net]
http://slackware.osuosl.org/slackware-current/PAT- NEEDS-YOUR-HELP.txt [osuosl.org]
ftp://ftp.slackware.com/pub/slackware/slackware-cu rrent/PAT-NEEDS-YOUR-HELP.txt [slackware.com]

- Clarifications:
--he does not want a help fund - we've asked him.
--the gpg signature is valid, key is on the slackware 10 disc, and he keeps the private keys on a computer which is not attached to the internet.

He should be in a hospital (2)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833801)

On an IV antibiotic drip. My wife had complications after an appendectomy. The resulting infection took 2 weeks in the hospital with an antibiotic IV, plus 2 drain tubes into her belly. The doctors were quite clear that the only way to fix an internal infection is with drains and IV antibiotics. I hope he'll get in and get fixed.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advise.

Re:He should be in a hospital (1)

Vamphyri (26309) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833847)

Feel Better Patrick! We are all praying for you to get well soon.

Sounds like a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833803)

...chestburster.

my thoughts... (1)

Shant3030 (414048) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833812)

may God be with you.

Wow. (0, Troll)

Hank Reardon (534417) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833814)

Repeat after me: self medicating for 3 years is a bad idea. I hope he gets the attention he needs in time now.

That being said, it looks like Google may have saved his life...

Ummmmm (1, Troll)

SlayerofGods (682938) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833817)

"Please call only if you can help get me some high-dose antibiotic treatment."
I'm sure this guy is a good guy in all.... but who here is really ready to commit a felony just to help him save a few bucks?
Don't ask us for medical help. Get you ass to a doctor and then ask for money.

Cross the border (3, Insightful)

djdos (521469) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833839)

Apart from cold winters, Minnesota is known for the kick ass medical centers. Fargo isn't that far of a drive. I would suggest driving to minneapolis (U of M) or rochester (Mayo). There is probably someone that has spent half of their life studying this stuff around here. I know it's a shameless plug for MN, but we need something to brag about.

A link for actinomyces/actinomycosis (1)

Meostro (788797) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833840)

WebMD was no help, that's rather surprising!

Found this [emedicine.com] and this [nih.gov] if you want some more info. Deep medical geekness on the first one, the NIH.GOV link is a little better for us laypeople. Sounds like Mr. Volkerding has a much more serious version than these talk about.

Dammit man, this is /., not a doctor! Get your ass to the ER NOW! Anything that has a treatment of IV Antibiotics is inherently a bad-ass motherfucker, don't wait for it to kill you before you decide to get treatment.

No tears shed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833843)

Open sores is chiefly responsible for the bad IT economy and outsourcing of programming jobs becuase of the devaluation of software.

When I struggle to put food on my family's table because I lost my job to some dothead in India, I shed no tears for this guy. Hell, I'd help poison him if I had the chance.

Burn in hell Patrick.

MYSTERY ILLNESS = AIDS (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833948)

That's what you get for being so gay

Mayo Clinic (5, Informative)

agressiv (145582) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833853)

Being in Fargo, he's only 5 1/2 hours from Rochester, MN, where the Mayo Clinic [mayoclinic.org] is. I'm not sure if its warranted, but I've known a few people who have gone there under similar circumstances when all else has failed.

After reading all that... (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833879)

After reading all that, I have the sudden need to go and brush my teeth. Again.

Yaz.

Whoa, collaborative treatement (1)

KZigurs (638781) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833894)

Are you trying to open source medicine?

ERs are terrible places for chronic illness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833915)

Sounds like there was a little bit of denial (we all suffer from it) which prevented this guy from going to a specialist early. These ER diagnoses are far from perfect. ER people are great at treating ACUTE cases. They are sometimes the worst at treating chronic stuff.

People, He has Asthma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833916)

I've been that way nearly my entire adult life. I cough those little granules up all the time, particullarly when I go running. I have chest congestion that is totally treatable with medecine.

Take Serevent, Flovent, Singulair, or one of the combos, run occasionally to blow the nodules out, and vote for someone who's actually interested in keeping the air clean.

He's got a simple case of asthma and a big case of anxiety. He does need to go to a doctor, but he also needs to chill out. He's not dying.

Stereotype FIlthy Geek (0, Troll)

spleck (312109) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833917)

Geez, this guy needs to start eating and brushing his teeth. 6'2" and 145 lbs? Nasty breath from 50 paces? Don't wanna turn the light on to brush your teeth because your wife is asleep? Put the toothbrush in the kitchen or close the bathroom door before you turn the light on. Self-medicating with Cipro? Driving 1600 miles after you've already rushed to the hospital thinking you're going to die? FORGETTING to mention coughing up "plaque" granules to the doctor? Not returning to the doctor after finishing an antibiotic for followup MULTIPLE times? Waiting YEARS to seek definitive treatment?

Only thing that comes to mind is that if he was Canadian, his medical timetable would fit in with the long delays for healthcare there.

Mexico, baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833920)

Any one of those border towns will do it. They have tons of "pharmacies".

Well look at Monsanto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10833926)

May They have a solution, since most resistence bacterias are one of results of the large use their Roundup Ready Transgenic Seems. People put more and and more poisons in soil, breaking the life balance.

Oh Yes, this Illness come from a soil bacteria

Hey folks (5, Informative)

volkerdi (9854) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833936)

I've been getting some mail over this, and most of it is positive stuff that has me feeling better right now. Thanks. :-)

One thing I'd like to clear up is that I am not now, nor have I ever been self-medicating with Cipro or any other antibiotics. I've always taken them under the advice of and with a prescription from a qualified medical doctor.

Again, I'm feeling better and hope it continues. Thanks for the well wishes!

Pat

The problem in a nutshell (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833943)

Googling your medical symptoms, and going for trips to Fargo while seriously ill is _not_ the way to get better.

If the US health system wasn't on a "pay us money or drop dead" basis, he probobly would have gotten serious treatement by now. Probobly another reason to go to Canada.

Advice:
Get to a hospital NOW
Get serious treatement for disease
Bed Rest until COMPLETELY cured.
No not under any circumstances do anything at all related to computers, no matter how much you want to. Administrating Slackware systems is probobly half the cause of the disease.

About the best thing /.'ers could do right now is buy more slackware T-Shirts I guess.

My first serious post (1)

trendescape (801324) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833947)

Maybe we can setup a fund raiser? Patrick has done so much for the Linux community, I think it's time to give back. I've been a slackware user for around 5 years now, and I feel compelled to pay him back in some way for this great distribution.

Anyone want to setup a paypal account in his name?

Interesting story (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 9 years ago | (#10833949)

It is an interesting story and an illustration of how difficult it can be to get some illnesses diagnosed and properly treated. It sounds like the infection has spread pretty far. It also sounds like he has been seeing doctors and doing what he was told are the right things (although way too many doctors didn't get the right diagnosis and self medicating on Cipro may not have been a good idea). As long as he is in Fargo, he may want to consider going to Rochester, MN. I understand that the Mayo clinic has some great infectious disease specialists. I wish him the best of luck and a complete recovery.
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