You know how I said I was going to return to the horoscopes on Friday? Yeah, I lied. See, my physic abilities have taken a hiatus, and I’m not sure when they’ll be back. What I do have in abundance, though, is lots of AliceRage. So I thought we could do a nice Friday special about this. I call it “Rants with Alice”.
Today’s rant is about: Doctor’s Offices.
Now I spoke of adventures in the doctor’s office before in another post, but this one is different because this is like the 18th doctor’s visit I’ve had since contracting Lung Crapola (the saga continues!), so by now I’m just pissed before I even walk in the door. This is my second follow-up appointment, since it was determined at the last appointment that I was still sick and I got another week off.
My rage begins when I first get to the counter and meet the receptionists. What’s fun is the way they pretend they don’t see you. Their motto is “don’t make eye contact”. They will look off absolutely anywhere but straight in front of them. It’s like two-year-olds when they close their eyes and think they’ve disappeared. I want to say “I can still fucking see you.”
So I get through the receptaraptors, and now I get to wait on the doctor. And wait. And wait. I have no idea why they even schedule appointments, since the doctors are never on time. But the waiting is not so bad, because besides the T.V. (Fox News! Yes!) there’s always good reading material available, covered in lots of patient germs. Stuff like fishing magazines and Highlights for Children from 1985. Don’t you just love that Goofus and Gallant? If I were Goofus, I would have offed Gallant a long time ago. You know he wants to do it. No one is that freaking annoying and perfect and gets to live long.
Finally I get in and go through the motions, and then I usually see the doctor, but this time I am so lucky and get a blond doctor student. I have nothing against blonds, it’s just that I never bothered to read her name tag, so I’m just calling her blond student which beats what I want to call her, which is really not printable.
Blond student is way too fucking chipper to be in a doctor’s office. I ask for meds to help me sleep temporarily. She is so amused that I sleep so much during the day (because I’m exhausted from no sleep at night). “There’s your problem!” she says. “You just need to stay awake during the day!” Brilliant. I never fucking thought of that.
She examines me by listening to my lungs and checking my oxygen levels. “You sound great!” she happily exclaims. I inform her that I sounded “great!” when I my entire right lung was coated with fucking pneumonia. She gives me this “I’m going to humor this hypochondriac” look I just adore. She asks me how I’m feeling (fabulous, bitch) essentially asking for what I just told the nurse a while ago. I am forced to defend being sick, despite there being oh you know FREAKING XRAYS showing I was sick. Nope, nope, clearly I have Munchausen’s. If so, then put me in the damn loony bin and write me a note for work. At least I’ll get some rest there, and I hear the Jello is excellent.
I go wait for an Xray, because it has been an entire week since I’ve last been exposed to radiation. When I’m done, I get to wait some more! Blond student comes back. Shit. She yammers at me some more, but I just watch her stupid lips move and her head tilt back and forth and I realize she reminds me of that Janis puppet from the Muppets. I repeat everything I repeated already, again, and real doctor shows up! She grins and informs him that I sleep like four hours a day! Isn’t that fucking funny? Look, bitch, I’m still sitting right here in front of you. By the way, I hate you.
Real doctor tells me that hey, I can take Tylenol PM, when stupid blond student said I couldn’t take anything. Bite me, blond student. For the 80th time I tell someone, this time the doctor, about how I have tons of fucking paperwork to fill out in order to qualify for sick leave that will not kick in until a week after my regular leave runs out, which means there will be at least a week of me not being paid (hooray!) provided they fill out the forms right and then payroll does what they’re supposed to do and I really think that’s way too much to expect. I’m so not getting paid this month.
I am allowed the rest of the week off, which has so far allowed me to A) take care of sick child B) run around in circles trying to get this damn paperwork completed and C) have several mini mental breakdowns. So it’s going super well. Next week I go back to work half days, and this should be interesting since it’s been so long since I’ve been there I’ve almost forgotten what the hell I do. I can hardly wait. End Rant.
Tuesday Morn. I drop the kids off and deliriously drive home. Must wait till 11:15 doctor appointment. Turn on T.V. Another TLC gem. “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.” Seriously. Seriously? How do you not know there is another human in your body? I don’t care if there aren’t normal signs or whatever we are talking another human being moving around in there. And how are there enough people this out of touch to make an entire series? I just . . . I . . . nevermind.
I get to the clinic and wait. And wait. The T.V. is on here too, and guess what it’s turned to? What are all TVs turned to in this area? Fox News of course. Joy. Utter joy. At the moment, leggy blond reporter is talking to fat bald white guy and another leggy blond about how much Obama has messed up. Something to do with him not talking to this Israeli guy when he should have been talking to him because good presidents do that and they certainly do not go on the View to talk to “The Women” said condescendingly by “A Woman” who apparently forgot she was one. I’m thinking they are all irritated that they weren’t invited on a real talk show. There is much wink-wink, quotation marks, none-to-subtle innuendo, and outright slurs. Professional News Reporting at its finest.
I am stuck listening to over an hour and a half of that stupid station. I start feeling low blood sugar (you really have to feed me regularly or watch out) so I ask the receptionist for hard candy. I get a strawberry sucker that is really quite good, at least when you’re famished. Finally, I am called in. Apparently they put me on the schedule, but there are two schedules, and they forgot (shocked) to put me on the one the doctors use, so yeah, I wasn’t on their schedule. Great. I sit in the exam room. And sit. And hack like a dying moose. And sit a little more.
What to do, what to do? I start to feel like Curious George. Remember that book where the monkey swallows a puzzle piece so they X-ray him and cut him open (and I bet that monkey was on Medicaid too) and then put him in a room with sick children? Awesome medical practice there. Anyway, like George, I have been left on my own and decide to entertain myself. Turns out they have all these free samples up on the counter. Popsickle sticks, cotton swabs, gauze, plenty of fun with crafts right there! But I decide not to take any, because Thing 2 already can come up with enough craft ideas to last most children a lifetime in a single afternoon.
There’s also the blood pressure pump, and the instruments he sticks in your ear and up your nose where he pretends he actually sees stuff beside gross old snot. But that’s about it. This is a very unexciting doctor’s office. Clearly I have not packed properly for this journey. My purse offers nothing interesting, despite weighing about 14 pounds. But see, last time I went as a walk-in, and got in and out in like half an hour. This time I have an appointment, and so far I’ve been here six years. Okay, two and a half hours. Luckily, I grabbed another sucker before getting shuttled in here, so at least I have that for provisions.
It occurs to me that that survival expert on the Discovery Channel, Bear, would be most disappointed in my survival skills. (That’s his name. He’s not an actual bear. Though that would make it a more interesting show.) I have no heat, no food and no shelter. Luckily fever keeps me from freezing in the office, so being a portable heater does have its uses. If pressed, I could create a very weak pup tent with that anti-germ paper they scroll on the exam table. But what would you use for a heat source if needed? I spy an electrical outlet. Great. Now I just need a long metal stick and someone dumb enough to poke it. But still no food. I’m not sure if I can make any traps, or if I’d want to eat anything I might trap in a doctor’s office.
Then I have another brilliant idea. Ask the locals. I peek out and beg for a coke. And I get one! And it is so cold it is the most amazing coke ever in the history of the universe. They also give me part of a package of Ritz crackers. No idea where those were scavanged from. Possibly the lunch of my nurse, who is the epitome of awesome, because not only is she competent, she recognizes that her patients are actual humans. Remarkable, I know. She also gets her very determined nobody-messes-with-my-patients- face when I tell her that the NP wouldn’t see me twice at the urgent care side of the clinic. I wonder if someone’s going to get a hand slap? Hope so!
Okay, I’m getting really bored now. Hacking until your lower abdomen threatens to split open like a teddy bear slashed in two is only entertaining for so long. I decide to cast 50 Shades of Grey based on the office staff. Ana is easy. There is this receptionist I call ponytail twit girl (because she wears an itty bitty ponytail and she’s a twit). She rolled her eyes when I informed her that I have arranged something with the nurse already, as if I was saying I knew Elvis personally or something. Twit. So perfect Ana right there.
Christian Grey is harder. Now my doctor is young and nice-looking, and I’m assuming he’s well-off based on my visits alone. But he’s just too, you know, decent and normal and human. Finally, I decide to cast the NP that refused to see me that night despite there being no one else in the waiting room, because that sounds like the sort of thing Christian Grey would do.
Bored again. I drink my coke and eat my crackers. The doctor comes in and examines me. You’ll never, never guess, but my lungs sound perfect. But obviously, I’m sick, because I hack at him and I think maybe I’m making even him nervous. So I get blood work done. I happen to be a pro at this because I have this giant vein on the inside of my left arm. Yeah, I’ve been complimented on it often. It’s pretty impressive, vein-wise. She sucks the blood out and wraps some sticky stuff on me and yay I am back in the room again.
The doc decides that my blood says something blah blah virally something blah yeah we’re not totally sure blah. I told them I needed something better than that for missing a week and a half of work. Viral Pneumonia is written on my doctor’s note for work, and I’m offered antibiotics and this is the best part! A shot! I know, most people are not excited about this, but I know shots work faster. I didn’t realize it would be a terminator shot, though. This was one massive shot. But I got it, they called in my medicines, and at last I was racing out the door, after only four and a half hours!
Maybe not racing. But I was out at least. Now I expected to feel better in no time.
Wednesday: Still not better. I have never been sick so long, ever. On the plus side, I think I spat up a lot more of the Mucus people today, so maybe their vacation will be over soon, if not mine. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.
Thursday: Still sick. I go back to the doctor, you know, that place where everybody knows your name! At first I’m told there’s nothing for me, but then the doctor clears his schedule just for me and my dying whale bellows. They decide to do a chest Xray. Doctor is so surprised! I swallowed a puzzle piece! Not really, but the doctor is actually giddy, which is kinda strange when speaking of lungs. He brings me in and points at this black shadow over my lung. I’m assuming I am not dying as if I were, this would be seriously inappropriate. No, I have a massive pneumonia in the right lung. And the doctor keeps saying “But you have such great oxygen levels! 96 percent! How the heck do you have oxygen? You have some really great reserve systems. I mean, your blood count was normal too but wow, look at that!” It’s really simple, doc. My own body is trying to gaslight me.
Well, it’s determined, and after only a week of this crap, that maybe their current treatment plan has not been working all that well. (This is why they go to medical school, you guyz). They decide to put me in the hospital, but first I get another test called a CT test, which is super fun because you lay in this flying saucer thing with blinking lights like something out of Star Trek and they take pics of you while the doctor carefully stands outside and says not to worry.
After all of that, my dh drives me to the hospital for the next leg of my exciting adventure. I’m starting to run out of legs. Stay tuned next time for: Curious Alice visits the hospital.
You might have been wondering what happened to me since no regular blog post appeared. “Did Alice get a life?” you might ask. Or “Alice writes a blog?” Or “Who is Alice?”
I have been sick, readers. And I don’t mean the garden variety plain old sick either. I mean super double dog sick that is very very bad. So how did you manage to pump out semi coherent blog posts, Alice? I had them prescheduled in a flash of writing ideas. And they ran out Sunday.
I am out of sick leave, so I have had to use vacation leave for this little trip. A vacation to the land of the Mucus People. I don’t recommend it. Very unsanitary and just look at the locals.
Anyway, I’ve been vacationing here since Thursday, and it is now Tuesday, and I’m hoping that maybe I get to go home soon. Either that, or die. Allow me to detail my itinerary.
Thursday Eve: Fever goes up. Go to bathroom. Feel nauseous. Lie on bathroom floor until it passes.Friday: Go to doctor. Stand while receptionist takes phone calls and asks for my insurance and teaches other receptionist how to use the computer. Ponder whether I can keep from barfing on her while she does this. Finally decide to go sit down. Office was recently redesigned with chairs that absolutely no one could ever find comfortable. Good move there.
Called back. Nurse checks vitals. Of course this is not my regular nurse, because my regular doctor is rarely available when I am sick. My fever supposedly has gone down to normal. She also checks my oxygen levels with this strange clamp on my finger. I’m not sure how this works. Do fingers breathe now? Good news. My oxygen rocks. This always happens. My body fails me until I get to the doctor, when it makes a brief valient recovery before collapsing again immediately afterward. Below: My lungs.
I am tested with magical Q-tips for Flu and Strep Throat. One went in my throat and the other up my nose. I wonder if they ever get these mixed up. Turns out I don’t have Flu or Strep. The doctor notes that I am still sick because I look puny which is Doctor-speak for “You look like you got run over by a truck.”
Antibiotics are called in. The second in two weeks. Pretty soon they will run out of alien-planet sounding names for pills. This one is called Bactrin, I think. Or it might have been Betazoid. No, wait, that one really is a planet in Star Trek.
I have become reacquainted with the T.V. and wow I have been missing so much. Like Wipeout, the adult answer to Double Dare, only without the pretense of any intellectualism by disregarding those trivia questions.
I think Wipeout was created as a place for Bachelor Pad contestants to go to die. Sure, everything’s padded, but these people take a beating on courses that no normal human could ever pass. But they try anyway while pelted with water, mud, eggs, bales of hay (I’m not kidding), milk, paint guns, footballs, and more. 50,000 dollars people. Dignity comes a distant second place to that. I can’t believe I never realized this was a show before. I find myself watching back to back episodes.
I rarely get fever, but by Saturday, I’ve had it for three days straight, anywhere from 99.9 to a whopping 103 in which I could actually see heat waves coming off of my body. I think. That might have been hallucinations. Since my body often wants to mess w/ the medical profession, I normally run only 97.5, so maybe this is even higher for me. Not sure. What brain cells are left from 50 Shades are starting to fry.
I have also developed a nasty, nasty cough from deep in my chest. Have you ever heard a Great Dane bark? These are enormous dogs, probably bred from grizzlies, with barks so loud and deep and echo-y they sound like Barry White. I bark like that now. We have a neighbor dog that is a Great Dane. I bet if I went outside, I could outbark him now.I try to go back to the doctor, urgent care. I don’t think humans should bark. If we did, we wouldn’t need dogs. Nurse practitioner refuses to see me. I haven’t been on antibiotics long enough, and didn’t I get that cough syrup? Oh. Turns out Wal-Mart didn’t have any, so instead of getting a replacement, or say, telling us they had to reorder, they just left it completely off. Thank you, Wal Mart. I should supposedly have cough syrup tomorrow, and it had better be good.
The regular nurse that saw me (and took more oxygen from my finger, etc) informs me that coughing is my body’s way of getting rid of this nasty stuff. I think there has got to be a better way of doing this. Also, that I shouldn’t wrap up if I’m cold, because that increases fever, like foil bakes a potato. That’s comforting thought.
Sunday. Hubby does laundry and various other household tasks. He hands me my clean laundry. I don’t really care. There are a lot of things I don’t care about when sick. Here’s a list.
laundry, clothes, money (I am cheapest on the planet, but would pay 500 straight up for a cure), other people’s problems, other people (unless they can, say, go get me a coke), work, basic hygiene (I have not even changed clothes since Wednesday), blogging or internet (this is frightening), everything else.
Just getting to the bathroom (that is only a few feet away from the bed) is a trip when you have high fever and Great Dane cough. Let me show you a diagram.
I get the cough syrup. Finally. It sucks, and not just taste wise. It’s not entirely liquid, like a sugary gel, and even better, does not appear to work. I fall asleep for a bit, only to wake up drenched in sweat and coughing. Codeine you have failed me. And here we had this awesome relationship before.
Monday. I have already missed two days of work the week before, and must call in again. Honestly, I have never, ever wanted so badly to be able to go to work. I watch daytime T.V. TLC has a show called A Baby Story. I used to actually like this show. Before I had both babies. Now I have no idea why I liked it, or babies for that matter. They look like slimy lizards. Their parents are happy but deranged from lack of sleep.
“It’s a little challenging, parenting a toddler and a new baby.” Mom says. Toddler screams. Lizard screams. Mom smiles creepily before leaping out of a window.
There is a trashcan by my bed. Law of averages says I should have hit the can at least once with one of my dirty pieces of toilet paper (which I am using as Kleenex, I’m not that gross yet) since I am only dropping the wads from the bed a foot away straight down. Not so much. I don’t care.
Monday night / Early Tuesday. I go back to urgent care, thinking if I go this early, hubby can take me to the hospital where they will do some Houdini magic that will make me normal again, or at least put me into a coma or something. Nurse practitioner again refuses to see me, and tells me just to make an appointment with my regular doctor in the morning. I’m starting to think he just doesn’t want to see me or something.
Tuesday. I arrive at the doctor’s office.
. . .to be continued (Adventures in the Doctor’s Office!)