Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, or "Why is Kris so Pissed?"

Yes, I said "pissed." You'll get it, read on.

Sunday night, I got a vicious burn/itch/pain in the ol' urinary tract. While I've never had a UTI, as a diabetic I didn't want to mess with it, so I made an appointment with my PA-C. Urine test, blood work. Woman told me I was wrong when I told her how much weight I'd lost ("that's not possible, you couldn't have lost that much"). When I asked her to weigh me, she said she didn't need to--no way I’d lost that much weight. I actually said, "No, really, WEIGH ME." She wouldn't. So I said, "Well, you won't mind if I weigh myself, right?" I weighed myself, and my scale is spot on with hers. Which means I've lost the weight I said I've lost. Anyway, that's not the issue. She looked at my urine lab work and said, "No bacteria, no leukocytes, you don't have an infection." She literally sings the praises of my wonder-urine. Sends me home with a worthless script for phenazopyrid, which didn't do a damned thing about the burn, but did turn my urine a lovely color.

Today, I manage to reach her office to fetch the results of my blood work (after six tries--they don't believe in answering phones or returning calls). She won't talk to me (though she's sitting right there, telling the assistant what to say), but her assistant lets me know that my A1c is down from 6.9 to 5.7. In two months. But no, I’m lying about the weight loss.

After hanging up, I take a nap because I haven't been sleeping well. I wake up with a wowser pain, starting in my lower back toward the hips and radiating up and forward, settling viciously right over my lower abdomen and bladder. I call my PA-C's office, only to discover she's already left for the day. Early. So I make an appointment with another PA-C, and, with an agonized shuffle, head to the clinic. The first thing I'm told? I'm someone else's patient, so they're probably going to refuse to see me. I goggled, I was stunned. Then the receptionist leans forward and says, "Don't you let them turn you away. You MAKE them see you." My fear, of course, is that I have kidney stones, and I am in agony--even if you can't fix the stones, fix the pain, please! They tell me to wait, and I walk away, actually start to cry. I sit down, Tommy and Sean with me, and Tommy says, “Don’t sweat it, we’ll just go to the damned hospital if they won’t see you here.”

Nurse/assistant for someone else (not the promised PA-C) comes out, and she starts telling me that, while there’s nothing they can actually DO for me, they’ll certainly SEE me if I insist. I insisted. I expressed my concern that it might be kidney stones. This woman says that it can’t be a kidney stone because my urinalysis the day before didn’t show a bacterial infection. I say, “Are you sure there has to be a bacterial infection?” I asked because I know that’s not true—you can have a kidney stone with no infection whatsoever. She insists, and I’m too damned tired and hurting to argue, figure she went to the same school as the “fifty test strips, testing twice a day, should last you 45 days” creature. They grow ‘em stupid out here. So I give a bright orange urine sample to the lab (same tech as yesterday, she actually said, rather sardonically, “Oh, wow. Happy day after birthday, huh?”) Indeed. So then I see the doc (a REAL DOCTOR!) and he sends me down for a CT scan to look for kidney stones after giving me a shot of Toradol. I come back upstairs post-CT, and the Doc comes in and says, “No kidney stones.” Understand, that doesn’t rule out having already passed one. Then he looks at my urine numbers and says, “Well, your PA-C doesn’t seem to have finished her notes here, so I don’t know what antibiotic she’s put you on, but your bacteria numbers are even higher today than we saw yesterday –“

WHAT? According my to PA-C, my “bacteria numbers” were ZERO yesterday, so I was sent home without a script for abx.

So here I am, a week’s worth of Cipro on the desk in front of me, feeling like utter crap while Tommy and Sean have popcorn and sodas at the “Two Towers” showing. If that silly bint had just given me the damned antibiotics YESTERDAY, I would already be 3-4 doses into it and likely feeling a whole lot better than I am right now. I would also not have had to pay ANOTHER co-pay because I wouldn’t have required another visit!

I have never had a UTI in my life. I’ve had the itchy-burnies, but I’ve never had urinary-related radiating, dull, unbearable pain while just sitting (and utter agony on urinating). Two things—first, next time someone says they have a UTI, they have got ALL my sympathy, and second, I am done with my PA-C. All done. Had hoped to hold off until after the move, but I just can’t trust myself to that careless git any longer. Tomorrow morning, I call and ask for my file to be transferred across the hall to my new doctor.


That Cipro? From hell, folks. Each dose left me feeling increasingly awful, until, by three days, I truly felt I was poisoning myself with each pill. Nausea, grinding waves of pain in the back, sides, and belly, and a shaky unsteadiness that left me fearing I was going to go down any minute. This is all on the day we were heading out of town for a few days to catch the airshow. I called the new doctor's office (he's actually at the clinic until late afternoon AND his office answers the phone!), and in 20 minutes they had a new script (for Macrobid) waiting at the pharmacy for me. While the 3 hour drive was still rough, I felt mostly fine by the next day. Thanks, Doc!


That snotty, awful PA-C?  Wound up getting busted for DUI with alcohol and drugs, evading, reckless driving, and driving left of roadway when prohibited.  And yes, I positively CROWED with joy.  Does that make me awful?  Maybe, but that woman condescended, patronized, was all-around disdainful and, worst of all, careless with my well-being.  Glass houses, Madam PA-C. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hope Springs Infernal

I've always been the hopeful type. Many don't realize it, because I'm also a realist. What does that mean? It means I hope my hardest for the best, but I'm rarely suprised when it doesn't happen. That's not to say I'm not devastated by hope's failure--believe me, I am. But I put on a stoic face and, hey, at least I'm not surprised.

Except I am. Even though I fully comprehend and even expect the worst, my secret heart of hearts truly believes that good will come.

How stupid is that?

When I was 15, my mother announced, while we were vacationing in Pennsylvania, that we were moving back to the east coast. Back to Hallstead, our hometown. Back to beloved family, my Aunt and Uncle's Arabian horse farm, and the lazy, sweet, firefly-lit place of my childhood. I was so excited, so eager to return to where my heart had always been.

And then she reneged. She just blah. No reason, no explanation, she just kept putting off and making excuses until finally I realized that it wasn't happening. It had never been a plan, it had been a tale to entertain and impress. This wasn't the first time my Mom had made up a story to enlarge herself or made a big promise with no real intention of living up to her word. No, no--in fact, that's something of a hallmark. It was, however, the first time I was ever devastated by her bullshit. Not the last time, though. Not by any means.

Why am I rambling on about my Mother and her fanciful but faithless tales of wish fulfillment and dreams come true? Because I am so afraid that I'm doing the same thing to Sean--or at least that he will come to perceive it as so. He wants so badly to move back east, to be near the Franklin Institute, the Air and Space Museum, and the ocean. He wants it so deeply that he, like me, like his Daddy, breathes it, eats it, lives the dream of it. But each job that comes up, each opportunity to escape this place and be where we want to be, has fallen through. Hopes dashed time and again. I feel like I'm 15 again, and worse, I feel like my mother, too.

What if it doesn't happen? It's already been three years. What if another three pass and we're still stuck in this dry, dull place? What if five pass? What if we never, ever escape this desolate patch of dust? Poor Sean.

Poor us.

And those beloved relatives my mother promised we'd reunite with? Dead. Bob since 2007 and Helen Jean since March of this year. The Arabian horse farm long gone, the horses dead. But the fireflies are still there . . . for now. Their numbers are reported to be dwindling, though.

You want to hear something shamefully pathetic? For as pessimistic and down as this entry sounds, I am, sadly, brimming with hope. It's scary, how hopeful I am. Why scary? Because the more hopeful I am, the more devastating the fall. Good thing I bounce.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Life's Funny

A year-and-a-half ago, I posted about how my degree, which I had come so close to attaining, had wound up splattered across the dashboard of my '71 Mustang. I had spent so many years accepting that I would never be granted my degree, and then decided to go for it. Sure I had been thwarted, I posted a blog entry detailing my misery.

Well, I got my degree.

That's right--after scrounging about for records verifying my "story," I submitted a formal appeal and was granted my degree. My wonderful husband threw a party for me, and my degree is now hanging on the wall in a nice frame. I am degreed. I are, in fact, edumacated.

I forget that. Often. I'll be sitting in bed, being carried along on a wave of disappointment and despair over my lack of degree when, suddenly, I'll remember! Hey, I DID succeed there!

I'm in the process of losing weight. A lot of weight. My hope? That I'll lose enough that my vicious social phobia will ease and I'll maybe even get myself a part-time job. Don't call me silly for being afraid--read the news, read the research. Heavy women are routinely denied employment, and when they are hired, they're paid less and fired first. Anyone who says different has never been an overweight woman.

In a totally different direction, our months-long quest for new furniture we can't really afford is finally approaching its end. The amazing, wowser, super-chair and ottoman from the Land of Fancitude has come, and it truly is a wonder to behold (our friend Joe said, "That's no ottoman--that's the Ottoman EMPIRE!". It wasn't the chair/ottoman set we'd wanted--that chair, after months of hope and BS, never did come. So we ordered from someone else. More money, but hey, they actually GOT the furniture to us. The sofa and second chair are en route (that's on rooooot, not IN ROWT), and should be here in a week or so. Sleeper sofa, here we come!

Of course, the new furniture has us panicked--my Mother's got to come over SOME time, right? And what are we going to do when she decides she wants to sit on our nice, new furniture? Her running sores and total lack of hygiene completely destroyed her new furniture in the space of a few weeks. What do we do? There's no good way for that to turn out. I guess we drape blankets over the whole mess and hope?

Or maybe we move? That's what I'm hoping for. Tommy's got applications in for positions in DC, and gosh, wouldn't that be amazing? No, it's not Pennsylvania, but it's mighty close, and it will certainly do in a pinch. Oh, please, oh, please, oh, please!