Here's a little back story:
I may have mentioned that I am NOT good at going to the doctor. I'm good at going to the chiropractor. My chiro rocks! She takes my migraines away, away, away!
Much to my dismay the VERY NEXT WEEK I had to go to the doctor. My doctor. I couldn't breathe, my ribs hurt, and my chiro wanted me to have it checked out. As luck would have it, my doctor - the one I like even if going to her makes me panicky - is on maternity leave. They
I was a mess when I came back for the skin thing. (I hate the word biopsy. It's so much easier for me to think of them scraping off my skin with a scalpel and sending it to a lab than it is to think the word "biopsy". This is one small example of how completely illogical I am about medical experiences.) I was seriously anxious that morning - mostly just about being there - and not quite so much about the procedure itself. Then they weighed me. Now I ask you - is it that important to weigh me twice in one week?
They put me in a COLD, little room and the nurse handed me a robe with the instructions that I could leave my jeans and my bra on but I needed to make sure the robe opened in the front so the doctor could get to the place on my ribs. Okay. I put the robe on. It was too small. You know
Anyway, now I felt like I was going to throw up. And I was even more nervous, which I hadn't thought possible. I don't know the woman who's going to do this procedure. Sweet Hubby liked her when he saw her a few weeks ago, but he's not easily spooked by medical stuff. I thought that she'd be in any minute but ten minutes after I heard them talk about me I was still there pacing to keep myself from tossing my cookies.
Twice I took off that stupid robe and put my sweater on to leave. The thing that stopped me was that I hadn't paid my co-pay yet. At this office you pay when you leave. (At the pediatrician's you pay first.) When your appointment is done, the doctor hands you your chart and a coded instruction sheet and you walk down the hall and get funneled through to the two nurses on duty whose sole function is to take your payment and schedule follow-ups based on doctor's codes. There is no other way out; there's no way to slip past them; and I was such a mess that I knew I'd burst into tears and make a dramatic fool of myself if I tried to explain why I was shoving a twenty at them and wanting to go home but didn't have a chart or a code sheet. In other situations you can say you're sick and people will let you go - but that doesn't work
I tried to make myself stop pacing. I read the informative charts on the wall. If I ever need to diagnose the difference between a one-time sinus infection and a chronically infected sinus cavity by looking at the cross section of someone's skull - hey, I could do it! It was the least
I was in the twilight zone. Or hell.
I found myself staring at the only non-medical thing on the walls. It was a calendar. It had a lovely picture of the lake. I stared at it for a while before reading the text printed on the different days. Here is a sampling of the important information I gleaned from that calendar:
Nov 13 - white-tailed deer rut in full swing
Nov 15 - groundhog begin to hibernate
Nov 21 - blackbirds begin roosting in large flocks
Nov 22 - brook and brown trout begin spawning
Nov 30 - bear season opens
Dec 17 - Chanukah begins this evening
Dec 19 - river otter begin breeding
Do not ask me why there was a state wild life calendar in the patient treatment room. By the time the nurse practitioner came in I was beyond freaked out by the whole morning. She took one look at me and asked if I was ok. I said, "No. I'm panicked. Can we just get this over with so I can go home? Please." She was very nice. She explained what she was going to do but in my head I was going "La la la, I can't hear you!" She was trying to chat with me but I couldn't speak. I just turned my head away and tried to hide the tears that were streaming out of the corner of my eyes. It was a relief when she finally gave me a shot and started cutting on me. It gave me something normal to focus on. Yay pain! THAT'S how messed up I had become in the course of this office visit. It was a little disturbing when she kept emptying out little cups of my blood into the biohazard tub. There was less scraping and more digging than I had expected out of this whole business. She said she'd been extra careful but thought "everything looked good." Ok. Great. Please, for the love of God, let me go home.
She said, "Come back next week and I'll take out those stitches." Come back? Stitches? I burst into great, big, sobbing tears, totally startling the nurse. She tried to explain to me that we were done, that it was ok. How can it be ok if I have to come back? I will gladly rip the little fuckers out myself at home if you will please, please, please tell me I don't have to come back to this eyeball infested, wildlife sex tutorial hell hole of a doctor's office!!! I didn't say that. I couldn't say anything. I snatched my chart and code sheet, ran down the funnel, forked over my twenty, nodded yes to the first appointment time the gal offered (with NO INTENTION of keeping it) and scooted out to my car to go home and cry some more. I cried about how horrible and strange the whole process was. I cried in relief that it was over. I cried because I had stitches I hadn't expected. I wish I could blame all those tears on my cycle, but no. My period didn't start until today. Today. The day I had scheduled the follow-up, follow-up appointment. The one I had every intention of skipping. The universe had other ideas.
On Saturday, I started sneezing. "It's just allergies," I thought. Sunday my throat hurt and I felt terrible all over. "Post nasal drip," I explained to myself. "Use the neti pot." I did. It didn't help a whole lot. Yesterday I felt like someone had beaten me up in my sleep - except I hadn't been able to sleep. "It's just PMS?" I hoped unconvincingly even to myself. The kicker was that I couldn't breathe. It is scary to have a stuffy nose and to have to breathe out of your mouth only. It is even scarier when you breathe through your mouth and you're still not getting enough air. (For the record, motrin helps sore ribs but does NOTHING to make it easier to breathe. Mr. Big Jerk is a a quack as well as a creep.) I started moving slowly and sitting up very straight. I took two long, hot showers because it was the only time I felt better. My good friend, Nurse Nice, kindly offered to take my stitches out (she thinks it's fun!) but also pushed me to go to the doctor. Sweet Hubby and VBGF agreed. Fine! I even called yesterday morning to see if I could get an appointment a day earlier. The only one who had any openings was Mr. Big Jerk. Imagine. I said thanks but I'll keep the other appointment. I told the receptionist that I'd made the appointment to have stitches removed and I still needed that done, but now in addition to that, I was sick and wanted to have the doctor look at me and possibly do a throat culture. I asked if the appointment time I'd scheduled would be long enough for that or if I should reschedule for a longer office visit. She said, "Oh. That's a good question. Let me check how long they have you booked for and if we need to change it." Tappity, tap. "No problem. They have you scheduled for a good ten minutes. That should be plenty of time to cover everything. I'll go ahead and confirm your appointment." Ten minutes? A good ten minutes? Maybe I'm naive about the business aspect of managed health care, but do they schedule appointments for less than ten minutes??
I started this post before I went this morning but now I'm home. It went ok. Sweet Hubby went with me. (To support me? To make sure I actually went? To protect me? All three?) There was very little wait time; the stitches are gone; she gave me antibiotics for the sinus infection/strep/whatever the heck it is AND she gave me an albuterol inhaler to help me breathe. She was pleasant and kind and yet, professional. It couldn't have been better. Except for one thing. She said she wants me to come back in two weeks. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggghhhhh!