Category Archives: medication

Oh, just wear a turtleneck. You’ll be FINE.

Before we start, I need to take a poll and be all sciencey. I’ve never done one of these before, let’s see what happens. You all LOVED the post yesterday SO MUCH. Like, holy COW, you guys. Most hits I’ve ever had in one day EVER. WordPress was all “YOU BROKE A RECORD LUCYSFOOTBALL!!!” So…here is my question…even though it will PAIN ME SO SO MUCH YOU GUYS. I’ll give you like a week and report on your answers and do whatever you tell me because I AM YOUR PUPPET apparently.

On to the real postiness of the post today…

I was futzing around online today (what? shut up, you know you all do the same exact thing) and found this article, which tells us that hospitals are too loud and are preventing patients from sleeping. Well, DUH. Hospitals are the WORST. What, you don’t believe me? You think hospitals are a haven of happiness and hushed-tones and healing? Well! I have a STORY for you. This story is called:

THE TIME AMY HAD MAJOR SURGERY (BECAUSE SHE WAS GOING TO DIE OF DEATH) AND THE HOSPITAL WAS THE SUCK 

(Honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t tell you this yet. I’ve told you pretty much everything else. I did a search, and I really didn’t tell this story yet. Parts of it, but not the whole thing. Huh. Well, aren’t YOU in for a treat.) 

A few years ago, I went for my annual checkup. The doctor was a new doctor. She was young and very blonde and very gung-ho and kept saying I needed to exercise more. Mostly I like my doctors to be all, “Yeah, you’re fine, here’s a year’s worth of prescriptions, have a nice day.” This one was very guilt-trippy. Just give me my migraine and sleep medication prescriptions, lady, I know I need to sweat to the oldies more, I’m not an idiot, I’m just lazy. There’s nothing flabby about my BRAIN. 

So she did all the poking and prodding and such (above the belt, I have a SPECIAL doctor for my lady-bits, because I’m all kinds of broken in my sensitive areas) and when she got to my throat, she was all, “Huh.” But not a GOOD huh, a very doubtful “huh.” Then she kept palpitating my throat and rubbing it and poking it and I was starting to get pretty sure she was a vampire or something. 

“Let’s run some tests,” she said. “You’ve got something going on in your thyroid I don’t like.” 

Oh! Well, that’s fantastic, most of my other glands and nodes and such have malfunctioned, so this was peachy and totally par for the course. 

So tests were run, and listen, I wasn’t expecting much to be wrong. At most, I was expecting her to forget all about me, like the gynecologist usually does after tests, and never call again. 

About a week later, she called me at work. Not her nurse, her. Well, THAT’S never good. 

“You need to get in to the endocrinologist immediately,” she said. She sounded very businesslike. So I did what anyone would do and made a joke. 

“Yeah, because I’m dying of cancer, right? Ha ha,” I said. “I’ll make an appointment in a couple of weeks, I have a lot going on at work right now.” 

She was silent. I got a really, really bad feeling. 

“You might not have a couple of weeks,” she said. “This can’t wait. You need to get in immediately. Call this number right now.”

“Um…I have cancer?” I said. “Are you saying I have cancer? DID YOU CALL ME AT WORK TO TELL ME I’M DYING OF CANCER?” 

“You won’t die if you get in to see the doctor immediately,” she said. “We might have caught it in time.” 

So as you can guess, I was totally productive for the rest of the day. I WAS TOTALLY DYING OF CANCER. I did research on thyroid cancer. It wasn’t good. Not at all good. It KILLED people. OK, not a lot of people, it wasn’t like breast cancer or lung cancer, statistic-wise, but people had DIED of this. I was totally dying. I probably needed to make a will and start saying my goodbyes and maybe skydive or something, isn’t that what people do when they’re dying young? Or maybe sleep with Julia Roberts, I think I saw that in a movie once. 

Listen, I don’t want to sleep with Julia Roberts, she freaks me out.

So I went to the specialist, who was a very official surgeon with many ALL CAPS ABBREVIATIONS after his name. I had a SURGEON. Oh, this was bad. This was totally bad. But I was still kind of in denial. Listen, LITTLE crappy things happen to me all the time, but not BIG crappy things. I’m lucky like that. 

I went in and thought, eh, he’ll probably tell me we’ll keep an eye on it or something. Nope. 

“So we need to take your thyroid out, it’s got nodules in it,” he said. (NODULES! That just SOUNDS terrible! Already!) “They may or may not be cancerous. It’s major surgery. You’ll be in the hospital overnight. How about a month from now?”

Gah! NODULES!

I was going on vacation a month from then. His next availability was in late September, which worked for me. (He apparently didn’t think the cancer was going to kill me immediately, as this was June. Stupid scare-tactician doctor at my primary care provider. I have never gone back to her again, by the way. You don’t call someone up at work and tell them they have cancer and may only have a couple of weeks to live when you have NO IDEA whether or not they have cancer. I hate her the most.) 

He went through what would happen – I would go to the hospital, be put under, they’d make an incision at the base of my throat, take out my thyroid, stitch me back up, and then I’d spend the night at the hospital to make sure I was ok. I’d be released the next day. If it was cancer, I’d have to have radioactive iodine therapy, which meant I’d have to spend time in the hospital again – you get radioactive iodine injected into you, which makes YOU radioactive, so you have to go into a safe room for a few days so you don’t contaminate other people or the ground water. I’m not even kidding. The nurses waiting on you wear Hazmat suits and have Geiger counters. TRUE STORY. Only I would have superhero cancer. Then when you go home, for like a week you have to swab the toilet down with special wipes after you pee so you don’t give anyone you’re living with radioactive asses when they pee after you. Again, you THINK I’m kidding, but I am not. 

“Hi, my name is Gary, and I’ll be your nurse today DON’T TOUCH ME!”

“Um…my throat? You’re going to cut open…” 

“Yeah. That’s where your thyroid is.” He poked the base of my throat, right where it joined my chest. “We cut from here to here” (he indicated from mid-clavicle to mid-clavicle) “and take it out. The scarring ranges from severe to minimal, depending on how well you heal.” 

“I’m going to have a scar? That people can see? On my throat?” 

He nodded. “You can wear turtlenecks or something.” 

Like this! I could be pretty like THIS! EVERY DAMN DAY!

So, from Doom & Gloom McGillicutty to All-Business Pete, we had ALL THE FRIENDLY DOCTORS. 

I went into the parking lot and made it to my car and WAILED. I had cancer! I was dying! Dying of cancer! All the cancer! I tried to call Dad but he was not home. I called Mom. Mom is not sympathetic to anything, from major paper cuts to broken arms (when I actually broke my arm, her response was, “Well, what the hell were you doing standing on a chair in the first place?”) so she was obviously not my first choice. However, she was a LITTLE sympathetic when I called her up in HYSTERICS all, “I AM DYING OF CANCERRRR and I need to have SURGERRYYYY” and there was weeping and snot was happening. Finally she managed to get out of me that I MIGHT not be dying of cancer, but that I did have to have surgery after all, so she was all, “Um, maybe stop crying in the parking lot, you have to get back to work now.” (SIDE NOTE: it is obvious I do not get my personality from my mom.) (Second SIDE NOTE: I might be a little melodramatic. But listen, you might be, too, if you were in your early 30s and dying of cancer that only a miniscule percentage of people get and were going to go through life wearing a collection of sad saggy turtleneck sweaters.) 

I love this so much I can’t even. Is one of us the FROG in this scenario? I AM THE FROG. I AM THE FROG.

So I spent the summer all cancered up and sure my thyroid was trying to kill me and all nervous. I went on two vacations. I was nervous the entire summer. The ENTIRE summer. In retrospect, I should have just had the damn thing out sooner, but, see, I was sure I was going to a., die on the operating table, or b., have to go through radioactive iodine therapy for all the cancer I no-doubt had, so my life would pretty much be over. 

I asked the doctor how I got this, and he said most people get this because they were exposed to radiation. “Were you exposed to radiation, or did you grow up around a toxic waste dump?” he said. Um. No. I told my brother this and his response was “Oh. Shit. I TOLD you not to pick up that glowing meteor we found in the woods and have it made into a locket.” And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how you know my brother and I are genetically related. 

Holy cow, glowing lockets are a THING. I found a crap-ton on Etsy. DON’T GET THEM YOU WILL NEED SURGERY YO!

I did all the research. Listen, don’t look up “thyroid removal scars.” OK, fine, here’s a sample of what I found. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I was pretty sure I was going to have this for the rest of my life; that is, if I survived. Which I was pretty sure I wouldn’t. 

Could be this…

…or this. Both super-pretty and not at all traumatic.

Also, I barely told anyone, because I was brought up that you don’t spread around your personal info. However, the people I told told EVERYONE, even when I told them not to, because apparently having medical gossip about people is like CASH MONEY BABY. So people I barely knew were coming up to me all, “Aw, how ARE you,” and I hate that shit so much. A theater person came up to me and said, “We need to talk” and pulled aside her big honking necklace and she had a huge scar and she was like, “I survived, so can you” and she had to have the crazy Hazmat suit therapy and she went on and on and ON about how the scar has affected her life and how she can never wear anything but turtlenecks or huge necklaces and then she said (which is still a joke between me and my friend K., who was there at the time) “I can’t believe you’re nervous about surgery. You have a STUD in your TONGUE and you’re being a baby about getting your THROAT SLIT?” Um. They’re not the same. At all, really. I was AWAKE for the tongue piercing, lady. Also, “throat slit?” No no no. Not the terminology to use, thanks. Now I’m imagining Dr. All-Business as Sweeney Todd and am MORE nervous. 

So the day of the surgery arrived. I was nervous. I made up a list of just-in-cases for my parents in case I died on the operating table because I watch a lot of medical dramas and that shit HAPPENS, yo. My parents came up because someone had to drive you to and from the hospital, and because they wanted to be there. I was fine with them NOT being there, because I was nervous enough, and seeing THEM be nervous was making it worse. I packed a bag of stuff for the hospital. I got my affairs in order. Away we went. 

Listen, this is known as one of the best hospitals in the area. You say the name of this hospital and people nod and are all, “Yep, that’s a good one.” So I was all prepared for good. 

We got there and because I was nervous and I hadn’t slept the night before and I was pretty sure I was going to die and this was pre-Twitter so I didn’t even have anyone to TALK to I started crying. Not all loud, just leaking? I don’t make sobby noises or anything. It’s what I do when I’m really nervous or upset. I leak. I can still talk and function, I’m just weeping while I do it. I couldn’t stop. This made the intake interview an adventure for the nurse asking the questions. 

Finally, they made me put on a hospital gown that was all open in the back (what’s the point of these things? My DAD was there. I don’t want my dad seeing my ass-side) and then wheeled me off. They totally gave my parents one of those Olive-Garden beepers for when I was done. So they’d know when there was a table ready, I guess. I WAS THE TABLE. 

Your table is ready. And by table, we mean we killed your daughter on the operating table. What, it’s KIND of a table. Same thing.

I got to the pre-op room which was a room full of equally nervous people (although I’m pretty sure I was the only one OPENLY WEEPING) and also there was a totally rude nurse who said “Why are you crying? You’re a grown-ass woman.” Um. That should have been a clue that this probably wasn’t going to go well. I wasn’t crying for EFFECT, lady. I couldn’t STOP crying. Also? “Grown-ass woman?” You’re a professional at work. This is how you talk at work? I mean, it’s how I talk at work (also, I use the f-word a lot, but that’s because I hate my job) but I’m not dealing with patients, now am I? 

When I Google Image Searched “grown-ass woman” this sultry photo of Ron Swanson came up. Who am I to argue with Google, I ask you? WHO?

So they put a needle in the back of my hand (SIDE NOTE: I bruise like a peach so that left bruises for weeks) and talked to me a little and said, “We’re going to give you something to calm you down” and I was like “ZOMG YES PLEASE AS YOU CAN SEE I CAN’T STOP CRYING ALL UP IN HERE” and then whatever they gave me was like a calming wave. Aah. Then the nurse was like, “I think you need a little more of that,” and I was all, “Yo, whatever, I’m cooooool” and then I woke up in a completely different room. TRICKERY! 

I was COUGHING AND COUGHING. No one warned me (I think someone was supposed to tell me that?) that they had to put a tube down my throat during surgery so I could breathe, and that when they remove it, it makes you cough and cough and COUGH and also it gives you a sore throat for like a week that hurts more than the healing does. I’ve talked to other people who’ve had surgery since and they all agree. Throat tube = the devil. 

The surgeon was standing there. King of bedside manner, this one. “Breathe,” he said, in a bored tone. 

I then said the two most intelligent things a person’s ever said when coming out of anesthesia: 

“Am I dead?” 

and

“Do I have all the cancer?” 

The doctor looked at me like maybe instead of a thyroidectomy he’d accidentally done a full frontal lobotomy and said, “Um, no, and we don’t know yet, we have to send your thyroid off for a biopsy, it’ll be a week or so.” 

“Can I see it?” I asked. (Listen, I love to see things. X-rays. Moles. Broken bones. Things that are not normally allowed to be seen? I totally dig that. How often does one get to see one’s own MUTINOUS THYROID?) 

“No,” he said. “No, you cannot.” 

(SIDE NOTE: because I love you, I’m not putting a photo I found online of a removed thyroid in here. It’s pretty icky. But also FASCINATING.)

That was disheartening. 

So then they wheeled me back to my room, and my parents rushed in with their Olive Garden table-is-ready flashy thing, which a nurse immediately took from them (probably because they needed it to tell someone else their table was ready) and I was still coughing and coughing and then the doctor left after hooking me up to the BIGGEST BAG OF IV FLUIDS EVER. Is “lactated ringer’s” (don’t even yell at me for that apostrophe, the internet says it belongs there) the funniest name for an IV drip solution ever? Yes. It’s also the name of my next band.  

See? There’s an apostrophe, I wasn’t making that shit up.

The point of lactated ringer’s is to replace whatever blood poured out of me during surgery with fluid, and also to make me pee like a racehorse. Every five minutes. For an hour. I have never had to pee so much in my life. Up and down and up and DOWN to the bathroom in my flappy hospital gown. So, Dad, hoped you liked seeing your grown-ass daughter’s panties REPEATEDLY. You might want to get a therapist for that. 

When the nurse came in I asked her if we could turn off the lactated ringer’s because it was obvious the doctor hadn’t removed my kidneys but she said no. Coldly. No sense of humor at all, these nurses. 

So the day passed, and my parents went and got me all the pudding (that’s a perk of the hospital – ALL THE PUDDING) and my incision didn’t even hurt but I kept touching the bandages and worrying what it would look like under there and there was a lot of dried blood all over and I was like, “well, turtlenecks for me. Also all the cancer.” 

ALL THE PUDDING. Listen, if you’re sick, you can tell your parents to bring you back all the pudding from the hospital cafeteria? AND THEY WILL. It’s like magic.

Then it was time for my parents to leave because it was night. A new patient was brought into my room. A girl in her early twenties. With about four other people. All of whom were on cell phones. Loudly. Well. Fun. There were SIGNS that said NO CELL PHONES but apparently I was in a room with a bunch of vocal illiterates. 

The nurse had to check on me every hour for my vital signs, in case I kicked it, I guess. I asked her if I could have a sleeping pill, because I was told they kept the medication I use in stock. She said she’d bring one in a minute and left. 

The girl in the bed on the other side of the curtain started vomiting. The people with her started screaming, “NURSE!” Vomit and blood started oozing on the floor onto my side of the room. So, that was nice and not at all worrisome and zombie-flu-indicatory. 

The nurse never brought my sleeping pill. When she came back the next time for my vitals, I reminded her. She said she’d be right back with it. Nope. 

The girl in the bed next to me began projectile vomiting. “I didn’t know people had that much blood in them!” one of the people with her mused loudly. “Shh, I’m trying to watch Animal Planet,” another one hissed. 

The nurse came back for another vitals check. I reminded her about the sleeping pill. “Someone already brought you that,” she said. I said no one had. “Says here on your chart they did,” she said, and left. What the hell am I supposed to do about that, argue? They’d probably lock me down on the psyche floor. In case they didn’t provide my pills, I’d stuffed some in my bag, even though they said DO NOT BRING ANY PILLS OF YOUR OWN. I totally took one of my OWN pills (like the drug addict I am, addicted to sleep, that’s me.) (SIDE NOTE: when I got my itemized bill from the insurance company, the hospital charged me for the pill they didn’t give me. LYING LIARS WHO LIE!!! INSURANCE FRAUD!!!) It didn’t help. Because of the loud people on the other side of the curtain and the projectile vomiting and the loud television they were listening to and their cell phone conversations and the nurses and doctors running in and out dealing with the vomiting of the blood. 

Finally they took her away to another floor, I assume the morgue, and a man came in and mopped the floor for like a year. Then it was quiet. I could sleep. Except for them coming and checking my vitals every hour.  

Oh, wait, no, I couldn’t sleep. Because then it was GOSSIP HOUR.

So I was lying there in my bed, attempting to sleep (and also? SO HOT. Because under the sheet on my bed, there was a RUBBER sheet. I assume in case I peed the bed. Which I haven’t done since I was 2, and probably won’t do again until I’m 82. But the side effect of rubber sheets is that they reflect all of your heat back at you like a little Easybake oven. SO HOT. I had cranked up my air conditioning but it wasn’t helping) and these two nurses came in. It wasn’t vitals check time so I didn’t know what they wanted. I pretended to be asleep.  

Like this only less surgery-y and more gossip-y.

They sat on my air conditioner and loudly said, “Whoo! It’s hot in the hospital today. This is the coolest room on the floor!” Then they GOSSIPED LOUDLY FOR AN HOUR. I’m not even kidding. I wish I was. They were about six inches from my knees and talking as loudly as they could. At one point, one of them said, “I can’t believe she can sleep through this! We’re being really loud! HA HA HA!” Yes, I know I should have said something. But what the hell was the point, they weren’t giving me my meds, they’d put me in a room with Regan from The Exorcist and her unable-to-modulate-the-volume-of-their-voice family, and I couldn’t sleep anyway. 

Like this. You remember this skit, right? I LOVED THIS. But not so much when I’m trying to sleep.

When the vitals nurse came in, the other two were all, “Oh, well, time for us to take off, I guess” and left. I had about three hours to myself. I gave up on trying to sleep and instead watched middle-of-the-night television. The Loudersons next door were right about Animal Planet. It was just about the only channel on television that wasn’t showing infomercials. I watched a lot of Animal Planet until my parents showed back up. 

The minute my parents showed up I buzzed the nurse and was all, “I’m ready to go home now. NOW. Ready to go home AT THIS EXACT TIME.” She was all, “Did you poop?”  

Now listen, how often are you asked if you pooped when you are a GROWN-ASS WOMAN? Apparently, after surgery, if you don’t poo, that’s a problem, because sometimes going under anesthesia does something to your pooing abilities, I don’t know. Luckily, I had the correct answer to this. 

“YES I POOPED,” I said, all proud of something a child can do. “IN THE TOILET. LIKE A BIG GIRL. I can go home now, yes?” 

“We have to wait for the doctor to round, then you can go home,” she said, and rolled her eyes and left. 

I told my parents about the night from hell. I don’t know that they believed me. My dad said, “Well, no one comes to the hospital to sleep.” “HOW DO THEY GET BETTER?” I asked. “They don’t, they just die here,” he said, looking around all mistrustfully. My dad’s  family doesn’t have the best track record with hospitals.  

The doctor finally came, and then I had to wait AGAIN, for the nurse to come (ALL THE WAITING) and then I could finally go home. I was told I could shower, and all the stitches were internal, so I just had to go back to the doctor in a week to get the butterfly bandages off and have the incision checked and then I’d be ok. 

Oh, also, I’d be on thyroid medication for the rest of my life, so when the apocalypse comes and we run out of medication, I’ll be one of the first to die. Dammit. And, AND, some of the side effects of not having a thyroid are that I have weird heat/cold issues (if it’s hot, I’m BURNING UP, if it’s cold, I’m FREEZING) and also I have the metabolism of a dead sloth. So that’s nice, I am sleepy all the time (still can’t sleep, it did nothing with my insomnia) and also I can’t seem to lose weight. YAY NO THYROID THANKS GENETICS. Also, I can no longer metabolize calcium, so have to take a billion calcium supplements a day and probably will get osteoporosis and also break a lot of bones in my dotage. YIPPEE SOMETHING ELSE TO LOOK FORWARD TO. 

(Also, my roommate at the time took much glee in the fact that one of the medications I might be prescribed went by the name “Armour Thyroid.” “It’s like a SUPERHERO MEDICATION!” she said. I unfortunately did not get the superhero medication and just got the plain old generic medication instead. I could use some ARMOUR THYROID about now, I think.)

ARMOUR THYROID! For when you want a SUPER PROTECTED THROATAL AREA!

I took a couple days off work and when I got back, the office gossip had found out what was up and told everyone I probably wouldn’t be back because I was dying of cancer (so it was like a game of telephone gone bad) so I had to deal with a lot of “how ARE you”s and that was annoying. I was fine. 

And when I got to the doctor’s office a week later and he took off the bandages? Nothing. A slight red line that’s faded into this: 

I drew you a helpful arrow, because otherwise? YOU CAN’T SEE IT. My surgeon rocked, yo. (The other lines you can see are WRINKLES. I am OLD.) Also, no, I have no idea why the middle of my neck is yellow like that. It doesn’t look like that in real life. Pollen? Camera flash? Who the hell knows.

You can barely see it if at all. I can feel it if I run my fingers along it, but you have to be pretty close to see it. (No one gets that close to me without me screaming stranger danger, promise.) For all of his negative bedside manner, the doctor did good work in not making me look like Frankenstein’s monster. (The first time I saw my brother after surgery, he asked where the bolts in my neck were. I was so relieved not to be dead, I laughed like a moron.) 

Aren’t you so glad I didn’t end up looking like THIS? FIRE BAD.

And, no. It wasn’t cancer. I didn’t have to have Hazmat suit radioactive iodine therapy. It was pre-cancerous – the nodules apparently would have turned cancerous, left to their own devices – but we caught it early enough and removed the whole thing and all is well, lemon drops. Other than the fun side effects mentioned above, I suppose. 

So! Yes. It is IMPOSSIBLE to get a good night’s sleep in the hospital; I can attest to that. Also, doctors are kind of sucky; my body is trying to kill me (but I keep FOILING it); and nurses are even suckier than doctors. Also, a human can vomit up a LOT of blood and keep on ticking like a Timex, who knew? And lactated ringer’s makes you pee like a mofo. 

However, I’ll take a little more of whatever was in that IV the first time around. It made things super smoooothhhhh. It was like jazz in an injection. Aahhhhh.

Happy Friday! Look at that, we made it to the weekend, how’d that happen? HUZZAH!


Bedside Manner? WHO NEEDS IT. It is for SUCKERS.

You know, I read a lot of blogs,and some of them talk about important things, like politics, or human rights, or intelligent reviews of things. And I could do that. I could totally do that.

But instead, I bring you:

A FOLLOWUP VISIT WITH DR. LADY-BUSINESS

As some of you might remember (except I did send the men away that day, and I’m warning you right now, men who are not into these things, you might want to go do manly things right now. And men that are perverts, you should stop reading just because ew), last month I had a couple of visits with Dr. Lady-Business. I escaped with my parts intact, so I considered that a win.

In order to not have Dr.Lady-Business remove my internal organs, he prescribed pills which made me into a total and utter insane person who cried over things like OMG I AM OUT OF ICE CREAM SANDWICHES and I THINK THE SUMMER IS ENDING. Those symptoms passed, eventually, so I thought I was in the clear.

I was so not in the clear.

Two weeks ago apparently I had a very bad reaction to the pills which I will not detail. Suffice it to say I would not wish this reaction on my worst enemy. (OK, that’s a lie. And you know me too well for me to get away with that. You know I totally would. I hate my worst enemy and if this happened to her she’d deserve it, and more. SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE DID. But I digress.) 

I called Dr. Lady-Business’s office after a few days of thinking I was pretty much on death’s door. Now, you’re wondering, aren’t you, why I wouldn’t call sooner? Because I am pretty stoic about things. I mean, yes, I bitch and moan and think I’m dying, but that’s all a front, really. I usually don’t even bother going to the doctor for things. So for me to call the doctor about something means something is very,very wrong.

My conversation with Dr.Lady-Business’s office:

Me: I need to make an appointment with Dr. Lady-Business as soon as possible, please. I think I might be dying. I’m having a reaction to the medication he prescribed.

Nurse: He’s out of town.

Me: Um. OK. I can see someone else, then. I just need to be seen.

Nurse: No. You need to see Dr. Lady-Business.

Me: I don’t think this can wait. Did I mention the dying? That I might be doing?

Nurse: Yes.

Me: Hmm. OK. Thought you might not have heard me or something. I don’t think this can wait. When is he coming back from his trip?

Nurse: A week from now. I’m sure it’s nothing.

Me: What is?

Nurse: Whatever’s wrong with you.

Me: Oh, I can assure you it is.

Nurse: These pills have severe side effects. We have people calling about them all the time.

Me: What? I – no one even told me this. Why wouldn’t someone tell me this?

Nurse: I’ve said too much. You’ll really have to wait for your appointment. With Dr. Lady-Business. And only Dr. Lady-Business. On Monday.

Me: So, what if I die in the meantime?

Nurse: You won’t. Also, if you get better, please call and cancel the appointment. There are people who actually need the slot.

Well! This was a reassuring and not-at-all rude conversation with someone you can tell TOTALLY CARES ABOUT MY IMPENDING DOOM. So I waited, and waited, and waited. And then, on Saturday morning, I started to feel better. I thought about cancelling the appointment,but I wanted to have a discussion with Dr. Lady-Business. I felt like maybe we needed to talk about some things. Like:

Since these pills are something you expect me to take on a regular basis, will they cause these side effects regularly?

and

Am I totally dying?

And since I have an astronomically high co-pay with my piss-poor insurance, it’s not like he wouldn’t be well-paid for his five-minute conversation with me.

I showed up yesterday and first, the parking lot is very, very small. There were two spots left. A woman pulled into one right in front of me. No, I take that back. She pulled into one and a HALF. Leaving me a half-spot. For my full-sized car. I began to back out of the parking lot, because it’s very small and you can’t turn around, and she got out of the car and started air-traffic-controlling me into the spot. I shook my head no and she started FURIOUSLY WAVING ME IN. Also, she was massively pregnant. Well, listen. I am pleased you are gestating. But I will park on the side of the road and walk to the clinic, and you just take up your 1.5 spots, lady. You are aware that even though you’re 1.5 people at the moment you don’t get 1.5 spots, or to make 1.5 decisions as to where other people park, right?

I went in, and the nurse called me back almost immediately. Nice! Running like clockwork! Until:

Nurse: So you’ll be seeing Dr. Lady-Business’s Colleague today.

Me: Well, on the phone the nurse told me I had to see Dr. Lady-Business.

Nurse: No. Dr. Colleague.

Me: I don’t mind, it’s just that last week? I was dying? And you told me I had to wait until this week to see Dr. Lady-Business, and only Dr. Lady-Business. So I find this all very confusing.

Nurse: GO BACK INTO THE WAITING ROOM.

Then, after a lengthy wait,because I obviously screwed up their scheduling, I was shown back to Dr. Lady-Business’s exam room. My favorite nurse was there. She’s the only one in the office I like, because she is covered in tattoos and has a hair color not found in nature and hipster glasses. I feel like she doesn’t belong there. I enjoy her. Lydia the Tattooed Nurse told me to wait and that Dr.Lady-Business was showing around a medical student (still? It’s been over two months since my first appointment, does that med student live there?) and would I mind him watching? Since I wasn’t going to be all spread-eagled for this visit, I didn’t mind. I believe that children are our future! And that they need to learn about side effects of medication!

Dr. Lady-Business came in, followed by the YOUNGEST MED STUDENT I’VE EVER SEEN. Seriously, Doogie. Doogie was watching my consultation. It was so off-putting I can’t even tell you. He looked like he couldn’t be more than 20. But probably he was at least 26,right? Something like that? That made me feel ancient. Poor little Doogie. He looked uncomfortable.

Dr. Lady-Business’s office has recently upgraded to laptops for their records, and Dr. Lady-Business does not enjoy the digital age. His manner of dealing with the laptop is to bang on it, chimpanzee-style, with a loosely-clenched fist, while asking me, THE PATIENT, why it’s not working. (Once, my answer was, “I think you have to have it turned on, but I could be wrong.”) This went on for a while, and then he asked me why I was there. Here, in all its glory, is the best consultation between a doctor and patient that might have ever happened, ever.

Me: I had severe side effects to the medication you prescribed; I wanted to discuss them. (I explained them here. I’m not going to rehash this. I guarantee you, you’re better for not knowing.)

Dr. Lady-Business: Yes.

Me: So I guess I’m wondering, first off, are these going to keep happening? On a recurring basis?

D L-B: Probably not.

Me: Probably not. Can you elaborate?

D L-B: I didn’t tell you about these side effects because the odds of them happening this severely were very slim. I would think that each month they would be less severe, until they are not severe at all.

Me: OK, so I should or should not keep taking the same exact dosage of pills that almost killed me earlier in the month?

(Dr. Lady-Business then began grunting and smacking around his computer keyboard. I heard a muffled noise behind me; it was Doogie. Doogie attempting not to laugh. I feel really bad for Doogie. Although he is really learning what NOT to do when he goes into practice, I suppose.)

D L-B: Yes. Keep taking them. Until December. We’ll revisit the situation in December.

Me: Okaaay….

D L-B: Did you notice any changes in mood while taking the pills?

Me: Good GOD yes. I cried over ICE CREAM SANDWICHES. And CELL PHONE COMMERCIALS. And I thought, well! I lost my mind! Until I thought to read Wikipedia.

D L-B: We really don’t recommend getting medical information online.

Me: No, you know what? I don’t recommend it, either. I recommend getting it from my doctor. Except, oh, you know what? HE DIDN’T GIVE ME ANYTHING OTHER THAN A PRESCRIPTION AND A FARE-THEE-WELL.

D L-B: Sometimes these pills cause mood swings. That might get better. It might not. It depends on the individual’s mental stability.

(muffled laugh from Doogie)

Me: I am going to pretend you didn’t just imply that I brought a bag of crazy to the table and move on in the conversation.

D L-B: Also we probably need to deal with these tumors.

Me: WHAT?

D L-B: You have tumors, right?

Me: Not that I am aware of, no.

D L-B: I don’t know if I’m looking at your chart or not. Do you think I have your chart up?

Me: I really have no way of knowing that. I’d hope so, though. Since I’m the patient you’re seeing at the moment.

D L-B: (poking laptop) Oh, yes, this is you. Yes. Tumors.

Me: So, was anyone going to call me with these test results?

D L-B: They’re not serious tumors. We don’t think, anyway.

Me: I think you’re kind of discounting my tumors.

D L-B: We’ll look more into them in December.

Me: Unless I die first because they’re the super-fast-moving death type of tumors.

D L-B: Odds are in your favor that they’re not.

And – I am totally not even kidding? THAT WAS THE END OF THE APPOINTMENT. I hope Dr. Lady-Business signed Doogie’s permission slip so he won’t get counted as absent from kindergarten.

On the way home, the strip club right around the corner from the office (it’s actually in a really classy part of town, so the strip club’s a little out-of-place) had a big sign up that said“We will never forget 9/11” and that was really the best thing I’d seen all day. Usually, that sign advertises coming attractions, like “Performing in October, Cherries Jubilee and Pussy Galore!” So this made the strip club both patriotic AND classy and I’m sure their clientele is richer for it.

What did we learn from this appointment?

I NEED A NEW LADY-BUSINESS DOCTOR.

And that strippers love America.


Dispute not with her: she is a lunatic.

So, remember we talked the other day about Dr. Lady-Business and how I escaped with my parts all intact? Yay, right? Oh, I sent the men away that day. Well, men, sorry, I guess you might  not want to click up there because it’s about lady parts and such. ANYWAY. So yeah, those of you that remember that situation, that was a total check in the win column for me, right? Instead of major invasive surgery that would leave me as barren as a wind-swept plain, I got a prescription for pills and a fare-thee-well! +1, Dr. Lady-Business, +1.

Well, I started taking the pills that night. And the next day, some strange things happened.

First, things started being very, very upsetting. No, not just “things.” Everything. And by “upsetting,” I mean “I would start weeping uncontrollably at the drop of a hat.” Partial list of things that made me cry (and I’m not talking polite tears, here, people, I’m talking snotty boo-hooing) over the past 36 hours:

  • Sam getting his soul back on an old episode of Supernatural that I just got around to watching
  • How expensive groceries are
  • How funny this show I was watching was and how happy I was to be watching it and how sad it was that EVERYONE COULDN’T BE WATCHING IT, EVERYONE!
  • How far away Tuesday is
  • How long it took my cellphone to charge
  • The person who rudely pulled out in front of me out of turn at the grocery store
  • The fact that my cellphone keypad is so small and I always hit the wrong letters
  • Talking to my father on the phone about things that weren’t even sad
  • The local news
  • A gigantic copy job I was given at work
  • Someone asking “are you ok?”
  • Seeing a photo of someone I don’t like
  • Getting a text from someone I love and miss

I’m self-aware enough to know that THIS ISN’T NORMAL. I mean, in a regular day, I might tear up once or twice. And honestly, it’s usually over a TV show, because I’m a sap. But most of the time it’s because I’ve laughed so hard I’ve brought myself to tears.

Then, flip-side! TOTAL RAGE.

Things that enraged me:

  • The grocery bag boy who talks too loud (in retrospect, I feel kind of bad because I’m pretty sure he’s mentally challenged)
  • How slow my computer was loading because I had something I wanted to watch now dammit
  • My cat jumping up and landing directly on my diaphragm because that shit is PAINFUL
  • How incredibly idiotic this one guy seemed every time he opened his mouth
  • My alarm clock
  • Stupid email forwards with subject lines like “LOL YOU GOTTA READ THIS”
  • And everything on the list above, after I’d finished weeping, except Supernatural, my father, the funny show, and the text message 

Also, I can not sleep. This isn’t completely out of the ordinary – I’ve had insomnia since I was in my early teens – but I mean, now, to the point of laying there thinking about all kinds of stuff and jerking myself awake because I think I’m falling and waking up an hour later because I had a sad dream and being very upset AND THEN FURIOUS.

So, the logical conclusion after two nights of this, of course, was that I was losing my mind.

I was kind of distressed about this. I mean, I like my mind! It’s a good mind! It does a lot of things well! I mean, sure, it gets weird about some things, and hung up unneccessarily on things that aren’t all that important? But overall, I was a total winner in the mind lottery. And now I was losing it! Well, that’s a fine how-do-you-do! Was I going to have to go to the mental institution? Because I didn’t think I would be able to handle that. I mean, I saw Girl, Interrupted. That place was annoying. I mean, there was that one girl with ROAST CHICKEN under her BED. That is UNSANITARY. And then Angelina Jolie with her charismatic insanity – well, you know I’d probably end up being one of her followers, what with my mind being all softened and all, and that wouldn’t end well. I’m pretty sure the chicken-under-the-bed-lady ended up committing suicide. (And wait, the actress died in real life, too, right? OH, NO, I CAN’T GO TO THE MENTAL INSTITUTION IT IS A KILLER PLACE.) 

And what would I do there? I mean, what do people DO in the insane asylum? Are you medicated all the time so you’re drooling? Do you have to see a therapist? Because I hate therapy, I always do it wrong and end up rambling and the therapist gets VERY FRUSTRATED. Are there puzzles? I would get bored of all puzzles, all the time. I mean, there’s only so many puzzles a person can do. I mean, side piece side piece side piece I AM SO BORED. Is there an actual padded room? I feel like I’d end up there a lot. I don’t think I would behave. Wouldn’t a padded room be totally restful? And also safe for someone as clumsy as myself. You’d have to hang out with crazies and you wouldn’t be able to get away from them, wouldn’t you? It would be like a long bus ride with NO STOPS. This is a VERY BAD IDEA.

There were also the crazy dreams, so maybe it wasn’t as much insanity as the gift of prophecy? Although you know if I got that I’d end up Cassandra and no one would believe me. I mean, last night, I had a dream that I went out with this guy I kind of dig (which is how I knew, even when I was in it, it wasn’t real – I even said in the dream, “How is this happening? You’d never go out with me, I’m too weird for you” to him) and apparently he was super-sensitive? I don’t know. He held up a CD and it was all the poetry I’d ever written and said “I’ve memorized this” and I was charmed by that. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN. Because let me tell you, if that shit happened in real life, I’d have a few questions. Like, how did you get all of that, stalker? And, who’s reading it on the CD, because I’ve never spoken most of that aloud anywhere but the privacy of my own home, so are you bugging my home? And you memorized it? Really? You seem to have a lot of free time. Do you have a job? Because the real-life you totally does. THIS SEEMS SUSPECT. So, as you can see, even though dream-me was all “oh, guy who seems kind of adorable in the abstract, you’re the sweetest, you like my poetry? We are soulmates” real-life me would not take this well. Therefore, my totally awesome potentially prophetic dreams better not be, because if this actually happens I’m going to mace someone. (Fine, Mr. or Mrs. Literal-and-Afraid-of-the-Idea-of-Me-With-a-Weapon, I don’t actually have mace. I have breath spray, though, and I think it would totally hurt if you sprayed it in someone’s eyes.)

This morning, as I was doing the COPY JOB FROM HELL and the copier was not cooperating so I punched it a couple of times (this is not encouraged behavior but the copier DESERVED it wait I’m sorry baby I didn’t mean it please don’t leave me) it crossed my mind that WAIT! These odd things that are happening to me? Coincided with the timing of the first new pill. And a lot of odd new things happening that happen once you take a new medication? They even have a NAME for that. SIDE EFFECTS. I work at a damn answering service. WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THIS SOONER.

So, as you do, I Wikipedia’d it. What, you’d call your doctor? You’d be on hold for freakin’-EVER if you did that. Wikipedia loads in like SECONDS. I mean, who has the time when you might be losing your mind and/or becoming prophetic?

Partial list of side effects from the medication I’m on: depression, mood swings, emotional instability, aggression, abnormal crying, insomnia, forgetfulness, sleep disorders, and back pain. (I left off the icky and weird ones because *knock on wood* I’m not experiencing those. “Rhinitis?” THAT SOUNDS HORRIFYING. Oh, wait, it’s a stuffy nose. Aw! Rhinitis! Now it sounds adorable, like a baby rhino disease. YES, I know rhino- is a Greek prefix for nose. Shut up, person who always knows all the stuff and assumes no one else does.)

WHAT.
THE.
HELL.

OK, this is like the scariest, most distressing list of side effects ever. Per one of my Twitter friends: “Wow, PMS in pill form? That’s delightful!” It is. IT IS TOTALLY PMS IN PILL FORM. Only x100. Like, with PMS, I’m a little crotchety, but it’s something I can deal with. I mean, I would probably be very annoyed by someone acting like a total tool, but I wouldn’t cut a bitch for laughing too loud. I WANT TO CUT A BITCH FOR LAUGHING TOO LOUD RIGHT NOW.

Aggression? Really? A pill can induce aggression? Listen, I’m already totally aggressive. I don’t think this pill needs to encourage my natural propensity toward that. That could be disastrous. I can see myself just throwing myself out of the car window onto the roof of the car next to me and clinging there like a furious monkey baby for pulling out in front of me and then slowing down.

And then we have “abnormal crying.” I don’t…”abnormal”? Really? So I assume you mean the crying you’d do when being, say, bashed on your toe with a hammer is normal crying, but the crying I’ve been doing over, oh, I don’t know, NOT HAVING ANY SHREDDED CHEESE IN THE HOUSE THIS IS THE WORST NIGHT OF MY LIFEEEEEEE is abnormal?

Mood swings. Why don’t you just shut your goddamn mouth, list of side effects. If I needed your input I’d ask for it. Aw! List of side effects! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH IT’S LIKE PHYSICAL PAIN.

I’m really hoping that “sleep disorders” means “totally vivid and maybe prophetic dreams.” It does, right? It’s my list and I’ve decided so. I’m thinking you probably aren’t going to want to cross me today?

I’m not going crazy, I’m just taking a medication that makes me feel like I am. Well! That’s reassuring!

Listen, this is totally awesome. No, seriously. I can’t think of anything more awesome. So I’m going to go cry about it? Probably for the next 45 minutes or so? Keep an eye on things around here for me. I think I’ll be back to normal in approximately two weeks. Better living through pharmaceuticals, ladies and gentleman, it’s a wonderful world we live in!

(Title’s from Shakespeare, King Richard III. Thanks, Will! Love you to pieces and NOW I’M CRYING AGAIN DAMMIT.)
 


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