Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Doctor Obvious

To my few but loyal readers, I would like to apologize for my delay in posting. I had an unbelievably busy week last week that netted me enough hours that I managed to leave work early on Friday. Unfortunately this only extended my delay in posting, since the scratchy throat I woke up with on Friday morning turned promptly into Strep Throat. That’s right, I’m sick again. Though I would have to say that it has been quite a while since I’ve been sick. Weeks even. I’ve managed to ward it off pretty well the last couple of times. This one, though, came on with a vengeance and definitely got even for all the colds I’ve fought off for the last few months. I blame last week’s stress; there was plenty of it! I even had to call in sick yesterday, for only the second time since I started this job 10 months ago. Not a bad record, though. You know, I told my boss recently that I get sick when I get stressed. I don’t think he believed me. I wonder if he believes me now.

So I woke up Friday morning with a little scratch, and immediately began my home remedy treatments to fight of the oncoming cold. By the end of the day, I had a full blown sore throat and thought there was no way I was beating off this one. By bedtime that night, I knew I had Strep. See, I had Strep a little over a year ago, and if you’ve ever had it as an adult, it’s not something you forget the feeling of. Plus, every cold I get is a head cold. (All I can figure is that the virus attacks the weakest areas, which is my sinuses.) So normally I don’t have a sore throat until the cold starts to break up, and, therefore, drain. I ended up taking about 800 mg of Ibuprofen that night, and slept like a log (literally, I woke up in the same position I fell asleep in) until about 6:00 in morning when I figure the medicine wore off. All at once. That’s right, 6 hours later, to the minute, and I was wide awake and in complete pain, but afraid to take any more medicine for fear of overdose. (Yes, I know I’m silly, but since Heath Ledger died it has concerned me.) I managed to get a little more sleep, but woke up with horrible aches and pains through my whole body, and a throat that felt like I was trying to eat rocks every time I swallowed. I discovered swollen glands down each side of my neck and on the back of my head, and in a few places I didn’t know I had glands. Speaking certain words literally made me gag because my throat was so swollen. The only thing missing was the fever, though I’m sure that was because of the Ibuprofen. So I called my doctor’s office at 9:00 that morning. Or at least I tried.

I am lucky enough to have a doctor’s office that takes Saturday morning appointments for “emergencies”. I have had to use this service several times. However, “emergencies” means you cannot set an appointment ahead of time. The only way to get an appointment is to call the second the office opens at 9:00 on Saturday morning, in hopes of getting in before they are all filled up. The only problem with that: the office didn’t open at 9:00. It was supposed to, their “after-hours” phone recording said so. But it didn’t. It didn’t open until 9:25. I know this because after the initial 9:00 call, I was petrified all the appointments would fill up before I could get in, (forgetting in my deliriously ill state that if I was getting the after-hours message, so was everyone else calling in), and I would have to live with this misery until Monday. So, I continued to call the office every THIRTY SECONDS few minutes until someone finally picked up. At 9:25. Then he tells me he can get me in at 9:45. I say great and hang up. Oops, did he say 9:45??? That’s in 20 minutes! Since my house is a 5 to 10 minute drive from the doctor’s office, depending on traffic, that really only left me 10 minutes to get dressed and make myself at least a little presentable. I don’t think I’ve ever moved so fast while sick. I managed to pop a few more Ibuprofen, change clothes, brush my teeth, brush my hair and stick it up in a ponytail (with a little hairspray, even), put on a little blush (though I skipped the washing of the face), throw on a little perfume and run out the door. I made it only 5 minutes late. Why, you ask, did I bother to do all of this if I was so deathly ill? Well, I certainly wasn’t going to the doctor’s office in my pajamas, since they only consisted of a tank top and shorts. They might have thrown me out, or at the minimum had me arrested for indecent exposure. No one wants to see me in my pajamas. Believe me. Not to mention it was pretty cold out; we had a storm heading in. I did only throw on sweatpants and a sweatshirt, so it’s not like I went dressed to the nines, like my grandmother would.

As far as my hair is concerned…well, no matter how sick I get, I do not ever leave the house without my hair done at least a little bit. Even if that means just up in a ponytail or pulled back with a headband, or even putting on a hat, my hair will not be visibly disheveled in public. I blame my mom. She is forever and a day trying to get me to run to the store with her RIGHT NOW, and I’m always saying I’m not ready to go yet. She’ll say “there won’t be a soul there you know” (one of her signature phrases). And guess what. Murphy immediately goes to work and there always is someone, at least one person, that I know that we inevitably run into. I quit going disheveled years ago. Damn that Murphy.

And the blush and perfume, you ask? Well, you know how it is when you’re sick. I couldn’t really tell if I smelled bad or not, (I’m guessing not, since I’d just showered the day before) but not having showered that morning, I was afraid the nurses would catch a whiff of me, catch sight of my pasty white complexion and deep dark circles under my eyes, and then hear me speak, and immediately call the morgue to find out if one of their cadavers had gotten up and walked away. I didn’t want to frighten them.

Once I checked in at the front desk, I waited only a mere minute before being summoned to one of the examining rooms. The nurse asked few questions. She didn’t have to. I told her I knew I had Strep, and proceeded to tell her why I knew. She was very nice to me, and only said she’d wait to see what the doctor said. Which is nurse for “Yes dear, but you’re not a doctor so I don’t believe a word you say, regardless of the fact that it’s your body we’re talking about.” Then she looked down my throat with that awful wooden tongue depressor and mag light. (Have I mentioned not liking to have anything wooden in my mouth? Like tongue depressors or wooden spoons?) “Say aaaaahhhh…” I think that “ah” bull is just that. It’s just a ruse for their entertainment, it doesn’t help their examination any. I’m sure people will try to tell me differently. I don’t buy it. I never say it for very long, they don’t seem to complain.

Then she said, “yep, that looks pretty sore.” Ya think?!? At this point it was probably a good thing I was having so much difficulty speaking. I maintained silence for safety’s sake (hers, not mine) and waited patiently for the doctor. Thankfully it was only a few minutes. I swear this had to be the shortest doctor’s visit I’ve ever had. Of course, I suppose that’s bound to happen when you’ve already diagnosed yourself.

Have I mentioned that doctors don’t like it very much when you diagnose yourself? The doctor came in asking the same questions the nurse had. Yes, it hurts, everywhere. Yes, I have swollen glands. Yes, I have aches and pains. No, no stuffiness. No, no fever, but I’ve had 1200 mg of Ibuprofen since midnight last night. Yes, my throat feels swollen. No, I’m not allergic to any medication. Tell me again why they have a nurse if the doctor is just going to ask the same questions over again? Not only that, but he jammed that stupid tongue depressor down my throat again, and peered in with the mag light. Do you think if they shined these things skyward at night, you could see the light from space? Yes, I am perfectly aware that it looks sore. It IS sore! Thank you Doctor Obvious. Can I just have some antibiotics now? This, of course, is where he put on the ‘tude. His answer was that he didn’t know for sure that it was Strep. I told him I knew for sure that it was Strep, this is a repeat of when I had it last year. I even told him that last year the throat swab test came back negative but the throat culture came back positive from the lab. He said he supposed he would just go straight to the throat culture then, and that we could wait until the results came back to treat but it would be until Tuesday. He didn’t give me the chance to answer; I think the look on my face said it all. He immediately wrote out the prescription for the antibiotics. I tried to make amends for my self-diagnosis and asked a few questions: when should I take it? How long until I’m no longer contagious? Will they call me with the results? His answers were short, to the point and included no extra information. He didn’t even walk me out the door like he usually does. No, they definitely don’t like it when you tell them what’s wrong with you. But really, why should they care? I still had to pay to see him. He still gets his money. Shouldn’t he be happy that he didn’t have to solve some enigma about a strange, unknown disease I may have contracted in the far away jungles of…Wyoming? Did I mention we’re considering switching doctors?

Unfortunately upon my return home with my prescription, I couldn’t go straight to the bed or couch like I wanted. I had committed to make a cake for my nephew’s second birthday party, to be held that evening. Luckily I had managed to bake it the night before, and being just a character cake it didn’t take all that long to decorate. Of course, in the condition I was, even with 800 mg more of Ibuprofen, every minute was torture. By the time I was finished I didn’t even care what it looked like. I didn’t take any pictures. I don’t think I even learned anything from this cake, except maybe that ‘birthday’ definitely has an ‘h’ in it. I did manage to catch that little error before sending the cake to the party, though. Which I missed. What’s most amazing about that is I think it’s only the second family birthday party I’ve missed in 13 years.

After the cake, I spent the next, oh, 2 1/2 days on the couch, pausing only to spend the night in the bed. Then back to the couch. Like I said, I called in sick yesterday. I did make it off of the couch yesterday, though, as my husband had an 8:00 a.m. meeting, leaving me to deliver Sweetpea to daycare. Imagine my surprise when I awoke to find this:
This is the view from my front porch.

These are the mountains I can see from my front porch, and the end of storm that was passing over them.

This is the view down my street. While only a spring storm, it was sufficient to bring out all the idiot drivers who seem to have forgotten already how to drive in the snow. I mean, after all, it’s been a whole TWO WEEKS since the last snow storm. That’s just really too long for them to remember how it’s done. Utah really amazes me in this respect. How do you live in the Rockies, (albeit in a valley, but the Rockies nonetheless,) and not know how to drive in the snow? And believe me, there are people here that don’t. Plus, they are usually the ones with 4-wheel-drive vehicles. You’d think that this is a good thing. The problem is that apparently no one told them that just because 4-wheel-drive enables them to go in the snow and ice, it does absolutely nothing to help them stop.

But I digress…

So, while I’m not feeling fabulous yet, I have started feeling better little by little. A better grade of lousy than yesterday, I’d say. I no longer feel like I’m swallowing boulders. The swelling in my glands has gone down quite a bit, and most of the aches and pains are gone. I’ve cut down my dosage of Ibuprofen to a mere 1200 mg per day. I did make it into work today, though several coworkers told me I didn’t look so great, and several others said I didn’t sound so great. Both would be accurate. Today I’m wearing my “I don’t give a damn what I look like” outfit. No, I don’t have just one. This one consists of jeans, a black and white striped t-shirt, a red “big” shirt and white shoes. At least I managed to match…sort of. I just did the headband in the hair, didn’t even bother to dry it after my shower this morning. I did put some make-up on. Like I said, didn’t want to frighten anyone. I also managed to match my jewelry today. I only went that far because I was afraid my coworkers would want to have me committed if I showed up without.

I would say I am completely disappointed by the fact that the doctor’s office did not call today with my test results. Not that I really need them, but still. I discovered this when my husband called from home at 5:04 this evening to tell me there was no message. I immediately hung up and called the doctor’s office. Got that stupid after-hours message. They may not be interested in opening on time, but they sure have NO problem closing on time!

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