Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm Sick...I Think?

I'm going to the doctor today.

Just the regular, nothing scary or private or thoughtful kind of doctor. I'll sit in the waiting area (not big enough to be a room) and read my book, as the magazines are horribly out of date. I don't mind waiting so much if they at least have decent magazines. No such luck, unless you missed the 2003 Christmas edition of Women's Wear.

I have been to this doctor's office many times, though today I'll see my old doctor's new replacement. I've heard he is nice, that his staff is pretty good. Still though, I can't help but be apprehensive about the afternoon's events.

I'm a bit of a hypochondriac, though getting better with age. I read about malaria in Time magazine when I was eight and was convinced (and quite horrified) that I had contracted this disease. My parents would have none of it; they refused to believe me. I have had salmonella, more heart attacks than a Southern Baptist Potluck Society, and cankers of foot, head, and collarbone.

I am both drawn to and terrified of the doctor's office. Every time I feel a twinge or hint of nausea, I want to call the doctor. I want to hear his/her comforting words that I am indeed just fine. And yet, I have somewhat of a panic attack if I actually have to call the doctor. Perhaps it is all the choices on the automated service, prompting me to make a decision about my insurance and my appointment time and my choice of doctor and what type of gown I'll want to wear when I get there and do I have my co-pay ready and did I know that many of their services are now available on the Internet?

By the time the (not so) chipper voice answers and asks why I'm bothering her while she is trying to IM her boyfriend, I have no idea why I called this person. I've been known to hang up...but I've also been known to COMPLETELY and TOTALLY forget what my problems are and just just just just start to to to to stammer. I guess I should just start calling the (not very) chipper front desk lady when I've had a bad day, as she has that erasing affect on me.

Anyways, back to the issue at hand.

What I normally do is give myself a peptalk. I ask myself why I'm going to the doctor. When I forget or can't narrow the miles long list down, I ask Austin to help me remember. He makes fun of me/rolls his eyes/tells me I'm not really ill. But then he tells me to write a list.

So I do.

I write down anything and everything that is bothering me, even the things that don't always appear to be symptoms. You never know when a strange and gripping need to smell watermelon shampoo is an indication that something is awry. I've found this out by perusing the lovely/scary Symptom Checker on WebMD. Who knew that an impending sense of doom was actually a symptom?! All this time I've just been thinking that I am crazy! Ha!

Well, so I have my list. It is usually the back side of a Target receipt or a scrap of paper that was last week's Sunday School artwork from Sabra.

1. eyelashes falling out at an alarming rate
2. toes hurt, despite they are never enclosed as this makes them feel claustrophobic
3. feel claustrophobic
4. dry skin (i drink a gallon of pure water per day so HOW CAN I HAVE DRY ANYTHING?) think this might be indicative of some sort of tapeworm that is taking all of the water
5. weight gain/weight loss that is not intentional. (usually the former, not the latter...as if i would complain?) although the 'gain' problem negates the tapeworm issue...not sure how to reconcile those ideas.
6. dizzy - as in...the world spins sometimes
7. feeling impending doom despite pouring heart out on blog - could it be the lack of comments? do people think i'm crazy?
8. ground beef
9. milk
10. gummi snacks for Sabra
11. cereal
12. tuesday is picture day for Sabra's school, but not Moira

Crap. Mixed up my lists. Now I will NEVER remember what the most important things are to discuss with the doctor! (sigh)

I like to multi-task, but sometimes I'm just writing out all my thoughts and assigning them a number. Which is fine, I guess. But not very helpful if the list is actually intended for grocery shopping. Thoughts of tapeworms while walking up the produce aisle do not a sane person make.

Well, no problem. I'll just use what information I have and go from there. Any decent doctor will draw the other information out of me, right? The Internet doctor always asks if I have any other problems, such as ______________?

My name is called, the nurse delighting in yelling out MRS CAGLE across the waiting area. This does not endear me to her. It happens every time, regardless of who 'she' is. My married last name sounds awfully close to a certain vajayjay muscle, and it must be the bright spot in their day to yell out something that sounds like it might be slightly reminiscent of a body part. And then I want to stop and tell them that they are pronouncing it incorrectly, but then we are off to the scale...

All thoughts of name calling and poor magazine selection are gone...there is only a slidey bar that teeters on numbers I don't like and has big fangs that make me bite my lip and inwardly chastise myself for secretly going to a cafe and reading when I should have been running.

She rudely asks what types of meds I'm on, and I want to tell her it isn't any of her....but then I realize that yes, yes it is. I want to make jokes about percocet, but I don't think she would get them. Wait til she has kids...then jokes about drug usage will seem funny.

So off to the next waiting stage. I'm relegated to a smaller, albeit, more private room with even worse magazines and scary pictures of epithelial tissues gone wrong. I'm warned by posters to not smoke, get a mammogram, and lower my stress level. I am alternately amused and angered by the outward cheek of the posters. They don't KNOW me...

The doctor comes in, shakes my hand which is already sweaty with nerves and because I have a bad habit of sitting on my hands (is that a symptom?) and stands over me as I cower on the plastic table.

He wants to know why I'm there...is something wrong?

I stammer...I sweat....I squint and I try my best to come up with something that doesn't sound TOTALLY INSANE.

'No...' I meekly offer....'Just here for a check-up!'

He feels my thyroid, which every doctor of every stripe and variety feels the need to comment on.Yes, it is kinda big. Yes, it has been tested 873 times. No, I'm not about to have someone stick a needle in my throat again.

He is talking to me. I should be listening, but all I hear are the random things floating around in my head....gotta remember gummi snacks....Sabra loves those things....Moira hates them....probably because I ate a 5 lb bag of them when I was pregnant....even I don't like them as much after that. Funny how that happens, isn't it? I used to hate ketchup before I was pregnant. Now (if I ever ate fries, which I don't because they are bad bad bad) I love some fries with ketchup. I wonder why sometimes it is spelled catsup and other times ketchup? I prefer the 'k' spelling, as the 'c' one feels....wrong.

The doctor is showing me the way to the check-out desk and I'm mumbling a thanks, wondering why I have pill samples for GERD in my hand. Crrrrrrrrap. I've blanked out on the entire appointment.

And there you have it. I'm not appointment worthy. Appointments and I....just don't really work out. We don't. Which is why I loved the old doctor. For some reason, he got me. And this might be why he is now retired. But he made me feel not insane...just a bit neurotic about health, which is actually a step up.

So I'm a bit nervous today, not having met this newbie doctor. If he doesn't have kids, I'm screwed. He'll have no idea why I appear as though I don't have a brain.

Though nervous, I am at least ready.
I shaved my legs (bad incident in the past...who knew a doctor would want to check my calves when I was in for a cold?) and wore light-weight clothing.

I haven't had anything to eat, on the off chance that they want my blood. (I'm lying, it's all about the scale)

I also have had just enough water so that if I have to pee in the dreaded Cup Of Shame, it won't be neon colored (but not so much water that it will tip the scales into A Scary Territory.)

So...I'm ready, I guess.


I'm a bit afraid that I'll tell him I've contracted a tapeworm in my thyroid because smelling watermelon shampoo made me eat gummi bears and now my eyelashes are falling out.

As long as he can prescribe something, I guess i'll ok.

Or I could cancel...I could say I have no gasoline...

Wonder if there is a pill for that...

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