The Christmas That Didn’t Suck
It really didn’t. It was almost good.
Now, I know I had you all amped up for a wretched tale of drama, sorrow, and treachery about Christmas Eve with my family. I mean, I know I had a serious fear of what was coming and I should be used to it by now, but much to my pleasant surprise, it was pretty ok. It was not without some sniping, but all in all, there were no tears, no obnoxious drunkenness, and with the addition of my crab curry, food was pretty good.
And there was reconciliation. For which I was pretty glad. And for my new hot dog toaster. Because I didn’t know I needed one until I actually had one in my sights. That was my Christmas gift. Then we came home before things got too out of hand.
Andy and I were going to do mother/son bonding and decorate the tree together. So he went upstairs to check his phone and when I asked him to bring down the star and other box of decorations at 11:15PM, he said yes, and then next I saw him was 3:35AM. But whatever, I decorated most of the tree, and we had a tree up and Santa slung some things under it for Andy.
Christmas day was super quiet. No family but me and the boy, and he went out to a concert that night so it was just me. So yeah, sorry to let you down. The boy even made brownies. Which were more delicious than usual. And while it was a major plus for me, for you it sucks because there’s no humor in it.
But I do not want to disappoint completely, so here’s the story of last Dr. visit. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll have sleepless nights. And all because – I went to see a new PCP. Because I guess I should have one. And I needed a flu shot. Because I like pain. Emotional, psychological and physical pain. Which I guess is the real reason I went to see a PCP in the first place.
As I skid into the parking lot, because I am sure that the appointment time that I forgot to write down and didn’t remember until last night, is 1:40P. Woot woot. I am only 5 minutes late. I get redirected to my pod area, and enter the bright cheery waiting room with fish decals all over the wall. You know, to make you feel you are in a fish tank, being stared at by strangers. Exposed on all sides. Kind of like how it will feel in the exam room. So perhaps this is subtle desensitization? Or maybe there are kids who need to see the Dr? Perhaps, but aside from me, it appears the waiting room is full of fake fish and very old people. Who may or may not see the fish. The receptionist/desk person reminds me of my Aunt Julie. She also lets me know that my appointment is not until 2. I can resume breathing – well, shall we say, stop breathing so heavily? Because I am, from run-walking to the office. She does not appear to be thrilled with working, but she does it none the less. I am afraid to touch anything and eager to get back to my hand sanitizer. It’s not that the office appears unsanitary. It’s very clean, even the wall fish. But you know how old people are, what with germs and all.
I fill out a questionnaire. You know the usual, the-whole-write-your-whole-life-down-on-this paper-that no-one-will-really-look-at. They will ask you the questions when you see them in person and no matter what you wrote down, they will not even look at the paper. I want to write down hallucinations, tail, third eye, delusions, inappropriate laughter and elephantiasis as my presenting symptoms. Arsenic poisoning. Viper bite. Whatever, you are still gonna ask me what’s wrong no matter what I put down.
The summons comes. I go merrily to the scale. I get measured. It says I am an inch shorter than I was last year, and now two inches shorter than I was two years ago. I believe it is wrong. I get weighed. Verdict? FAT. Yep. Just write that down. FAT. Or REALLY FAT. FATTER THAN LAST TIME. It really doesn’t matter at this point. It won’t be going down anytime soon, maybe by the next appointment, but with cookies, ham and candy on the horizon for the holiday, it isn’t gonna be in the next few days. So yeah, write that down and let’s move on. On to the exam room.
I don’t have to undress. There will be no prodding. Hurray! Why am I here? Well, I quip, Ebola or black death, some sort of plague, not really sure. No, really, just to establish a PCP. I will one day have to part ways with my gynecological oncologist, and radiation oncologist, and endocrinologist and treatment team, so you’ll be stuck with me. Some day, I will need someone to just give me a Z-pak instead of irradiate or poison me. And that is what brings me here today. And flu shot. I need to lose the use of one of my arms for a few days in the name of not getting sick. Then the litany of questions. I answer them all appropriately. Then temp and blood pressure. Blood pressure’s a little high. Okay, more than just a little BUT I was rushing around, I’m stressed about work, I ate a bag of chips on the way in, drank a cup of coffee and rushed in here after speeding down here so I wouldn’t be late and then you weighed me and I discovered that I’m STILL FAT, and you want me to be calm? Let me meditate for five minutes, and we’ll be normal again. Okay, fine. Send the Dr. in.
I wait. Not long, For in enters Dr. Doogie Howser’s younger sister, Doogette Howser. My new Dr. (If you have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll recall my encounter w/ Dr. Doogie Howser, the young anesthesiologist who discovered my non-existent heart murmur before the gutting – I did not know he had a sister) Dr. Doogette seems nice. She pops open her laptop and starts to ask me questions. You know, the questions on the paper, and the questions I just answered for the nurse. She seems nervous. I am absolutely positive my electronic chart says this patient has no uterus, I think I wrote down hysterectomy, cancer, etc. etc. on my paper and told that to the nurse who I watched type it into the magic chart, JUST A FEW MINUTES AGO. Wanna guess what the next question was? Go ahead. Give it a shot. It’s my favorite question, the one I get asked when no one reads my chart. Give up? Already? Okay, here goes : When was your last period? What is regular? HELOOOOO, no girlie parts, no period. Even if you were really asking the date, I think the fact that I was opened like a giant pumpkin and carved for the entertainment of a surgical team and had all the parts that once had seeds taken out and put in little jars or plastic bags or Tupperware for further dissection kind of says that that last period probably wasn’t normal. Really? You just asked me that? Um, hello, two years ago, GUTTED. No female apparatus, no uterus to shed a lining. Move on.
Next question. Do you know you are FAT? Why, yes, I’ve noticed. Would you like to change that? Why, yes, I believe I would. What three small changes could you make to your lifestyle to start changing that? The answer I want to give is Ritalin, Vyvanse, Adipex. But I think she means stop eating ice cream for dinner. Let me interject here and say, I know everything I need to know about losing weight and getting healthy – I am capable. Right now, I have an emotional attachment to my blubber layer and until I feel I don’t need it, I am not going to let it go. But sure, I’ll play along. I think I will give up lattes. And eat breakfast, I’ll do that. We spend an inordinate amount of time talking about my diet. I know it sucks, how about we give me that flu shot, and let me get to Hardee’s for some onion rings?
Now we’ll talk about the blood pressure. It seems high to her. I know, I usually run a little high. This is not as high as I have seen it. If you take it again, I am sure it will have gone down. It’s not usually this high. But Dr. D. says, it was this high in July 2013. Yes, I say, it was – that was the day it was taken by the furiously mean auto-blood-pressure machine in radiation oncology. It is a torture device. Just being near it makes my blood pressure high. They took it later and it was fine, but of course, that’s not in the chart. Hey, wait a second, the only reason you knew that was because you looked at my chart. So wait, you know what my blood pressure was in July, but you don’t notice that a huge clump of my internal organs were unceremoniously removed? Um, ok.
Dr. D. excuses herself. She will go confer with the attending. I think my diagnosis is fat. She vanishes. After a while, okay, 40 minutes, the nurse comes back to stab me with the needle. She then retakes my blood pressure. It’s 20 points lower. She assures me Dr. Doogette will be right back to me. 30 minutes later, she’s back. With the attending. The attending introduces herself and tells me Dr. D will be discussing my weight and blood pressure with me. Then she leaves. Dr. D now turns to me and says, well we talked about diet, you will get some blood work and we will now put you on high blood pressure meds.
No, no we will not, Dr. D. No more meds today. You met me one time. I have no other symptoms of hypertension. Oh, swollen ankles? It’s 4 pm. I ate chips. I have been driving all day and then sitting in here for almost 2 hours. No, you do not get to say that I certifiably have high blood pressure after meeting me one time. I am not questioning your diagnostic ability, I just believe that before you have me swallowing another set of pills each day, you see me at least a second time. I have as much access to my medical chart as you do, and I have seen a Dr at least every 3 months for the last two years. In fact, I’ve seen them sometimes as much as twice a week. I think if they were not concerned and they see me that often, maybe we should see how this plays out in a month. So go back and tell the attending I said no.
She does. They will agree if I agree to check my blood pressure every day. Of course I will. Sure. First thing. And I’m lying, but hey, if you feel better, you can believe that. I’ll come back in a month, we’ll have this conversation again then. In the mean time, I’ve got a few weeks to meditate and get it where it should be. And you have time to read my chart. All of it. I have to do a survey for Dr. Doogette. I like her, she is nice and answered all my questions. There is no spot to guess her age. I say 15. All I know is that I wanted to give her a sticker that says “good job” on my way out. And maybe a note to her mother on her performance today.
I go back in January. So please, hang on every day between now and then, until I can write the sequel. I have a mammogram that same day, so we’re talking good times. Nothing like a good boob smash and interrogation to end the week on. I go back to work on Monday. Then my excessive blogging should end because I’ll be too tired at the end of the day to do anything besides fall asleep with the lap top on my lap. Thanks for traveling with me today blogsketeers. But now, stuffed with cookies and curry, I must sleep. If you want to see the pictures from Christmas, they are on my facebook page. Bon Soir.