Some Fine Specimen

I love going to the doctor (yes, that is sarcasm).  She’s the only medical professional for whom I don’t have to swallow two Xanax prior to arriving for my appointment.  However, I must say that the dentist is hotter…and male…which is more my speed.

As a medical professional myself, I have to confess that I much prefer working behind the scenes with machinery and test tubes rather than the face-to-face stuff that usually involves someone bleeding, coughing, hurling or pooing.  And I hate being a patient.  But, since it’s my day off, where the hell else would I be?

Now, no one goes to the doctor for shits and giggles.  Well, maybe shits, but definitely not giggles.  And most folks can say with absolute certainty that their ankles are swelling, they feel like they’re harking up a hairball or they’re in dire need of one of those little blue pills, por favor.  Not me.  Of course it couldn’t be that simple.  That would be too easy.  So, I walk in and proceed to sound like a freaking hypochondriac.

Why are you here today?  Well, I hurt.  From the back of my head to the soles of my feet.  And sometimes, just for entertainment value, the top and sides of my head, too.  I sleep all night (sort of, if Himself’s snoring doesn’t keep me up), wake up sleepy (feeling sleepy, not Sleepy, one of Snow White’s dwarves), work all day (kinda sorta but all the while I’m really wishing to be asleep), go home and nap for an hour or two, get up and do the mom thing and then go back to bed.  To hell with a sink full of dirty dishes and who cares if I haven’t bathed.  I’ve arrived at work, parked in my designated spot and fallen asleep.  Still, I am freaking tired.  All.  The.  Time.  Not just tired, but exhausted.  I feel electrical charges running up and down my arms and sometimes my legs.  I swear there are times when bugs are crawling all over me.  My vision’s blurry and sometimes double.  My hands feel swollen but aren’t.  You can’t count the dents on my ring finger ’cause that’s just ’cause I’m fat.

I look up at this point to find her eyeing me like a biology specimen which, I guess, I kinda am.  But the last biology class I took, we cut up a frog.  I so do not want to be the frog.

At the risk of sounding like a batshit-bonkers suburban mom I continue with my litany of what the hell’s wrong with Stephanie and hope she doesn’t tune me out by the time I draw another breath.

She doesn’t which is kinda nice but then I start wondering if she’s one of those that writes up medical journal essays on the crackhead patients she sees everyday in her practice and start to worry anew.

Do you snore? she intones gravely.  Do bears shit in the woods?  Of course I snore!  At least according to Himself who has been known to lie like roadkill but he swears it’s true.

Well, we either have a case of sleep apnea or fibromyalgia.

Oh, joy.

Can’t I have something exotic…like a tapeworm?  At least that’ll make me skinny, right!?

This is a woman without humor.  I can’t even get a grin, for Pete’s sake!

Next up for me is lab work to check for inflammation.  Newsflash doc: the sedimentation rate is practically useless!  You’re welcome.

Now, I know my way around a needle.  Some folks judge others based on how they treat their mama or puppies.  Me, I judge ’em based on how well they handle a needle…whether they’re wielding it or on the receiving end.  Me, I’m no slacker in either category.  The dude, Al, stuck me twice.  I knew I was in for it when I looked down to see he had the needle perpendicular to my bestest vein ever.  Sweet Jesus grant me mercy!  You’re not gonna get it I groused.  Where do you work he asked.  When I replied I’d worked almost seventeen years in a hospital lab, he hung his head in shame.  Yep, you need to grovel now, Al.  I’ll give him points for being good looking and bald (my favorite) but may or may not deduct them for him calling me ‘Mama’ as in ‘Alright, mama, here’s your prescription’.  I picture Eric Estrada…only bald (did I mention that’s my favorite) and with normal people teeth, not teeth like Chiclets.  Perhaps I’ll excuse him.

I already know they’re probably not gonna have enough blood to run what the good doctor said she was gonna order.  Thanks, Al.  And I’m going to hope like hell the drugs do some good because I don’t want a sleep study, thank you very much.

But that’s alright, mama, that’s alright with me.

Let the waiting commence.


  1. Wow, I had no idea you were suffering like this. It’s kind of ironic because I have chronic pain syndrome to go along with my lovely 80 year old spine. I hope for your sake that it is sleep apnea because that is so easily cured!!! I pray for a good solution and that you get the good medical help you need.

    • Thanks, Michelle. Both my parents have sleep apnea and wear those lovely masks at night….beats croaking in your sleep, right? According to Himself, I’ve snored for ‘years’ so I really don’t see how it could be sleep apnea, but you never know. Personally, I think it’s fibro. We shall see.

  2. Sigh….I was reading your post and thought, “The doctor is going to say Fibro.” I recognize all those symptoms. For a few months I would wake up with the soles of my feet on fire. I would go stand on the cement outside my basement door in 30° weather just to cool them. Good luck. I have tried some prescriptions . Wasn’t happy with that. Seriously I thought the Cymbalta was going to kill me. Better than a friend of mine. She was preparing a cauldron in her back yard to boil people that were pissing her off while she was on it. Now I try exercise and diet. Some say Paleo works. Harder than hell to get there. I know to avoid some food items. Ate spaghetti and meat balls Sunday. Just now recovering. Tomato sauce HATES me!!!

    As for the guy with the needle, don’t you just want to slap some people? I am not a phlebotomist. I have been on the poked end of those too many times. Sometimes I just want to say, “Hey, why don’t you let me do that myself? My success rate will be better.”

    I hope for your sake it is sleep apnea and c-pap cures all. How can Himself resist the DarthVader look. YOu will be so freaking HOTTT!!

    • Sometimes my feet hurt so bad that I don’t think I’ll be able to walk on them. They don’t burn so much as hurt…like all the bones are broken. I just hurt all over, like I’ve worked out too strenuously (and let’s be honest, I DON’T do that) and exercise just makes it worse, although I’ll keep doing it. I’ve heard yoga and water aerobics are really good alternatives. I don’t care if there’s no cure, I just want to know what it is. I’ve tried Cymbalta…back when I was seriously depressed. I didn’t like it either. I’ve been reading up on inflammatory foods and I’m trying to weed some out. Tomatoes shall be no problem. Sugar and caffeine? Now that’s another story.

      I spent 5-6 years, going from doctor to doctor to try and find out what was wrong with my stomach so I can be reasonably patient with this…just not 5-6 years worth. I’m fairly surprised I wasn’t blown off today…points for the doctor!

      As for the LVN that drew my blood…sigh…what can I say, some people got it and some don’t. After I told him where I worked, the attitude changed a bit and he wasn’t so douchey. I think people get really flustered when they know what I do, like I’m keeping score or something. And yes, I’ve thought of saying just give me the damn needle already!

      If it winds up being sleep apnea and I have to wear that mask, God help Himself ’cause I’m already hotter than a firecracker. I’ll probably give the man a coronary!

      • CaffeIne I can gve up for weeks at a time. Then when a bad round of migraines hit I have to have my Dr Pepper. As Bette Davis said, “Getting old ain’t fo sissies!” My digestive tract defies description. Some days I can barely walk and my thermostat quit working years ago. Then I hear it is all in my head. I am just a whiner. BMA! Maybe it won’t hurt as much. …

      • And here I thought I was the only one that drank a soda when a migraine hits. I swear they help! For years, all I heard about my stomach pain was it was all in my head or I was just making a fuss to get drugs. I wanted to strangle one ER doc when he said ‘what is it this time’. It’s the same thing every time..just knock me out so I’ll sleep through it!!!! I’m glad I was taken seriously today.

    • I know you’re a nurse and if it comes to that, I’ll wear the damn mask, I promise. In the meantime, come back here and teach Al how to stick decently!

  3. Oh, you sound like me six or seven years ago. I finally had to fire my doctor and start seeing a naturopath to get straightened out. I had estrogen dominance and a thyroid that was teetering on the edge of collapse. My doctor kept blaming it on “menopause” and saying things like “you’re eating to much and not exercising enough.” (I had gained 30 pounds eating salads.) I had the same burning sensations in my legs and feet. All she offered me was anti-depressants, and she never told me that my thyroid function was way down at the bottom of the range (“but it was still in range!” she said later).

    Please get your thyroid function tested, and if it’s low, ask for Armour and don’t let them put you on Syncrap. Also, please check out the book Wheat Belly. Thyroid replacement helped, but it wasn’t until I gave up eating wheat that I started to feel like a normal human being again.

    • Thanks for the info, Janet. I’ve already checked my thyroid and it’s fine…well within normal as a matter of fact. I’ve learned that certain foods seem to make it all worse, but how the heck do you avoid wheat? It’s in everything! I’m thinking of just grazing in my backyard. My son will appreciated having to mow the lawn less and I’ll get plenty of fiber. I will check out that book you mentioned, though. Thanks again!

      • I have learned what things I can and cannot eat, and I am not dogmatic about the wheat thing. A little bit is not going to kill me (fortunately), although it may very well make my joints hurt like hell for a day or so and upset my indigestion. It actually wasn’t that hard for me to give up wheat. (My husband and kids still eat it.) The guy who wrote Wheat Belly also came out with a cookbook that has some amazing recipes. There are some muffin and pancake recipes in there that my family actually PREFERS to the wheat kind. When I absolutely have to have pasta, I use brown rice pasta. After a while, you just don’t notice that you’re not eating wheat. What stops most people is the initial week or so off wheat, when your body is detoxing. Seriously, though, I have so much energy now it isn’t even funny. I am getting more done than I did when I was 20.

      • I really think if I can kick sugar (at least cut a huge chunk from my diet) that I’ll feel some better. I’ve heard sugar is very inflammatory to the body.

  4. Im thinking sleep apnoea …its the lesser of the two evils. I hope its something simple like early menopause though. That would be interesting for you and we could swap tips.

    Seriously have never had so much fun and giggles (without the shits ) reading about someone elses malady.

    • I’ve thought for years I was going through early menopause but the patriarchal medical establishment continues to pooh-pooh that idea. Also, it’s 100F outside and I’m wearing a hoodie inside. No hot flashes, no mood swings, although I am a card-carrying witch on occasion but I just think that’s my personality. Everyone’s got a talent, right?

      I’m hoping for sleep apnea myself but have my doubts. We shall see…

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