Monday, June 6, 2011

Laundry List of Non-Breast Cancer Woes, or Tales of a Newly-Minted Hypochondriac

I saw my new internist this afternoon, and found out that, as she's a resident, she will be traveling to Boise in a couple weeks for a year's exchange program. You see, the Roosevelt Clinic where I went (so that I would not have to bring three truck loads of background information) is part of the University of Washington Medical Center, which means it is part of a medical school. Residents are pretty good by the time they let them see you on their own, though, so I was okay with this.

(grrrrrr. Word just f*$ked up again and lost at least half of my blisteringly hilarious prose. I'll try to muddle on, but I'm afraid you'll see it is a muddle. A middling muddle. At least for a liddle.)

It turns out that I was, however, very nervous about seeing this new doctor, and potentially opening a whole new can of Serious Worms. I took a whole extra half anti-anxiety pill, and much appreciated the bear hug from Cousin T (currently in the back yard finishing the spectacular new deck he's building for us—I got to help tear down the old one, WHICH ROCKED—I mean, the tearing down, although the deck itself was a little loosey-goosey too—but this birdwalk has gone on too long except to say SEE Word 2007? What have you done to me? COMPLETELY DESTROYED MY TRAIN OF THOUGHT!!!) on my way off. One nice thing about the Roosevelt Clinic is that it really is walking distance, and so I was able to enjoy the lovely, lovely day on my way there.

I went through a drawn-out check-in process, considering that I had been in that same building for a medical procedure less than a year ago, then sat in a weirdly high chair (seriously, I could swing my legs) in the waiting room and wrote my list of questions, from the head down, as follows:

  1. Plugged left ear
  2. Infected earring
  3. Vertigo
  4. Underarm fungus?
  5. Thumb pain
  6. Finger eczema
  7. Vit D blood test
  8. Fasting blood sugar
  9. Cholesterol
  10. Spots on calves.

When I was called back I first had to correct the pronunciation of my name (this has been standard procedure for me since I could talk—"It's like Calvin, minus the V"), then I got weighed (160 pounds of SOLID MUSCLE KICK-ASS) and had my blood pressure taken (116/69). No surprises on any of that, and then my doctor came in. She was very nice, Kim, and went through each item on my list.

  1. She did a thorough examination of the inside of my left ear and saw nothing unusual (but it hurt a little to have someone poke around with that magnifying glass light thingy) and, indeed, I don't have any other signs of allergy or snot issues, but I thought maybe there was some connection to item 3.
  2. The earring itself was not, of course, infected, but nor, she decided, was the hole into which it was stuck. "I see no sign of pus," she reported (Pus. Isn't that an ugly word?). After my last MRI I had had some difficulty putting my 4th earring on the left side back in, and had mashed up the hole a little. Since then, for about two weeks, I have been unable to keep my hands off the stupid thing, and so it's simply not healed yet. STOP PICKING YOUR FACE, CALIN, OR I'LL PUT SOCKS ON YOUR HANDS (and she did, too, my mother, back when I was about five and had had a dog bite just under the eye).
  3. The vertigo is really mostly gone, and is episodic anyway, and so yeah, whatever. Don't spend so many hours bent over on the floor, cutting out dress pieces.
  4. It's most likely razor burn, she said, having seen no sign of anything else under my arms. "Get the hairs pulled," she suggested. "That will be much better." I don't know. Legs are one thing.
  5. My thumb really didn't hurt at all today—it pulled a beater-Chevy-with-unidentifiable-knocking-sound-when-taken-to-the-shop-for-diagnosis game—and preserved a sullen silence. Yes, maybe someday it could turn into arthritis.
  6. I forgot to ask about my fingers. Ian has the same thing (had it FIRST, and shared it with me), and we're dealing with it well enough I suppose, occasionally using Band-Aids and ointment for flare-ups.
  7. Blood tests are ordered for Thursday morning when I have to be at the clinic at 8:30am and so can, conceivably, fast for items 8 and 9 (in part because I am often not out of bed before 8:30. My stomach is still asleep at 8:30).
  8. See 7
  9. See 7
  10. The spots on my calves are small moles, one on each. I don't think I've always had these two—I think they appeared several years ago (like, more than seven)—and they haven't changed from what I can tell. I have moles all over my body, and always have. For a while in my yoot, maybe my tween years, I picked and picked* at a mole on my upper right arm until it bled—but it didn't go away. Today, it's probably the most dangerous-looking mole on my body, but it's been that way ever since I left it alone in about 1983. Kim saw absolutely nothing alarming on my leg moles, or on two darker but quite well-defined, small and round ones on my back. "Just watch them," she said, which was pretty much her advice for all of my, as it turned out, complete non-issues. And, really, no surprises on any of that, either.

I suppose there is some chance still for bad stuff to show up in my blood tests, and even though some of my lady parts are gone, most of them remain and so I need to schedule a woman's health screening for . . . sometime . . . probably this fall when I build up another large enough head of steam for any medical issue not breast cancer-related.

In the meantime, if I do ever have an actual illness utterly unrelated to breast cancer, I have established a relationship and a place to go. As this is likely to take another decade or so, Kim's year away will most likely have no impact on me whatsoever.

*My mother-in-law once went to a cocktail party where she met a man who was a psychiatrist (or psychologist, I'm not quite sure). She said "Oh! Can I ask you a question?" The man, looking exceedingly bored at the prospect, told her she could. "Why is it that we humans love picking at our scabs so much?" she blurted out, avid to know. I don't remember if the man had an answer, but he was VERY relieved to have had such a disgustingly non-standard question set to him.


joel said...

T UW Neurolgy Department also has "high chairs". I don't remember swinging my legs though.

joel said...

Here's the missing HE in the (first word).

CMT said...

I wondered where HE had gone!