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Fat Thigh-roid Woes: COBRA always has and always will be A SNAKE.

Post Published: 11 June 2010
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Category: Column, Fat Thigh Roid Woes, Graves Disease Symptoms Column
This post currently has 19 responses. Leave a comment

My disease got really bad at the worst possible time.  No insurance, no job.  Since I chose to remain in denial about the severity of my symptoms, coupled with the “I’m skinny and stuffing my face!” things just sorta went to a bad place.  I refused to do RAI at the time, and surgery was out of the question.  Not that I was scared of the scar – I kinda enjoy scars because they sometimes have badass stories (except for the lame mole removal story of my shoulder scar.  Changing that one to “bullet hole…yeah, I grew up in a rough neighborhood” variety going forward).

I was mostly skeptical of the treatments because when I asked “what causes Graves Disease?” the doctors would shrug. How can I move forward with permanent treatment, when doctors don’t know what causes Graves?  How dare they speak to me so confidently when they themselves don’t have an answer to the actual problem?  My thyroid isn’t the issue, it’s my stupid immune system.  So, I wasn’t in the best place to hear – “We dunno what causes it, but here, take this radioactive pill and don’t touch anyone for days – oh, and don’t get pregnant for a year.”  Sure doc, that sounds GREAT.  Thanks for my amazing options.  However, if I was a 90-year-old man and I felt like getting my limp dick up again – I could easily do so with a prescription.  Oh, you say that autoimmune diseases mostly fuck up women?  Interesting.  Not to get on my feminist wagon, but can you understand my frustration here??

I tried holistic medicine for awhile, but the problem was I think my disease was far too severe.  In hindsight, I should’ve coupled it with acupuncture, but hey, I was unemployed and could only afford to feed me, myself, and I.  Which was a lot of food.

You never really think about how lucky you are when you have health insurance, but you think about it a lot when you don’t.  I ended up with Graves while I was still working, but I got laid off soon after.  I was offered COBRA, but let’s get real, we all know COBRA means “You need to start selling your body and blowing everyone to afford this”.  Needless to say, my coverage lapsed and I was just gung ho on the assumption that things couldn’t possibly get worse.  Der, of course they did.  When I applied for insurance on my own I was denied left and right.  “Sorry Ms. Wells, you’re too high risk.”  Awesome. The first time in my life that I’m WITHOUT insurance is the first time I’ve really needed it.  Thanks for NOTHING, Blue Cross.

I ended up at…the LA County Hospital.  If you’ve never been, it’s a real treat.  It doesn’t help to sit and think about the taxes you paid all these years, and how much money you’ve spent on health insurance to literally be left to DIE when you really need help.  It just makes you more angry as you’re being herded around the LA County system. However, I had no other choice.  The only plus was that my pulse was at a whopping 150 beats a minute, so they admitted me right away and I didn’t have to wait the notorious 12 hour emergency room wait times.

They hooked me up to an EKG machine – and when I saw how nervous the nurse was for me, I started freaking and bawling my eyes out.  They put me into a room, pounded me with some beta blockers and for the first time in two years – my body and mind were still.  I didn’t want to think about anything except for food and cartoons, and I damn well did.  I thought about a cheeseburger, and I thought about how much I loved Tom & Jerry…before they started talking.  I never thought I’d be so happy to be in a hospital bed, staring at a dirty floor that had Cheeto remnants on it – and that half eaten Oreo next to the nurse’s shoe was BLISS.

For the first time in forever, I saw the end in sight and I figured it was going to be either RAI or surgery cause I couldn’t do this anymore – and it took some Atenolol to make that happen.  My cool story wouldn’t have anything to do with a scar, but went like this: “did you know that beta blockers are given to undercover cops to calm their nerves while on assignment?  Yeah…I got prescribed those once.”

Nicole –

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19 Responses to “Fat Thigh-roid Woes: COBRA always has and always will be A SNAKE.

  1. Quin Browne says:

    You gave me the best laugh I’ve ever had regarding our disease.

    Thanks.

    PS I tell people my full neck scar came about because I didn’t pay back Jimmy the Snake for money owed.

  2. Nicole Wells says:

    Thanks Quin! Your scar comment made me spit out my drink hahaha. I mean, if we’re stuck with this disease, might as well make the most outta it, right?

  3. Pattiecake says:

    🙂 Thanks for making me smile. Hah! You’d think nurses and all medical people in general would know that the looks on their faces and their awws, hmmm, wows make us nuts!

  4. Nicole Wells says:

    You’re welcome, Pattiecake! I know, I wish more medical peeps would have a better poker face, but in a way it’s good – confronted me with the severity of the situation. Have a great weekend!

  5. Katie says:

    I fucking loved this installation so much, Nicole! The way you describe being at County and dealing with Cobra, and so much more, I fell out, yo. I also identified with the craziness re: trying to get information from doctors. Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth, isn’t it?

    Great column, LOVED EVERY WORD.

    xo

  6. Katie says:

    Quinny, I feel the same way – Nicole made me SCREAM. I was on the floor.

    Love “Jimmy the Neck”. Ha.

  7. Katie says:

    Pattiecake, what a great point. IT’S SOOOOOOOOOOOOO TRUE. HAHAHAHA. Oh, no. what are we going to do?!

  8. Sherree says:

    Your COBRA description had me spewing water at my monitor. Loved it. Seriously, could not be a more accurate description and your depiction of LA County was priceless. OMG, what we go through to just get healthy.

  9. Lolly says:

    Great column Nicole I may not have Cobra but there are certainly some fucking snakes in my medical fraternity.

    I too like you ended up in emergecny with blood pressure up over the roof pulse rate over 160 head blowing off and on the way to thyroid storm. All because I had to wait 6 weeks to see an endocriminologist.
    Every scar tells a story the wounds may heal but the body still recovers from the onslaught.And my sacer was no pretty site, the stairs i got I fel like a fucking clebvrity but instead of asking me for my autograoh I was asked who slit your throat, how is the other guy, and is your head going to fall off when they take those staples out. I looked liked the bride of Frankenstine complete with drains.

  10. Bee says:

    it stinks that we get so sick with this disease and then live in fear of losing our jobs and becoming an “untouchable”-so sorry, maam, but you have a preexisting condition blahblahblah=endos hate thyroid patients but love diabetics-maybe we should all try to become diabetic.i bet our care would be f’ing fan-tastic

  11. Nicole Wells says:

    Sherree – I took a bunch of pictures of LA County while I was there. People didn’t believe me!

  12. Nicole Wells says:

    Hi Lolly – While I may not have the physical scars, the emotional ones are just as shitty. Also, I would’ve preferred surgery over RAI, but I was allergic to PTU AND Tapazole – so the doctors wouldn’t operate on me with how my heart was racing. I’m sorry to hear about you ending up in the ER too, thyroid storm is something I lived in fear of constantly and was convinced I almost hit the tipping point more than a few times. I hope you’re feeling better now, and the emotional as well as the physical scars are fading.

  13. Nicole Wells says:

    Katie – pulling teeth with docs??? Nahhh. Yeah, more like I wanted to pull their arms off and stick ’em so far up their asses, to join the heads they kept there too. I had one doctor get angry with me when I asked about complications with RAI. It’s unbelievable. It’s my body, therefore, YOU’LL SIT HERE, DOC, AND ANSWER ALL MY QUESTIONS. Dickheads.

  14. Nicole Wells says:

    Hi Bee – I noticed that with endos too. So far, I found a good one that is totally hearing me out and not just waiting for me to become diabetic so he can make the real bucks.

  15. HDinOregon says:

    Great and sad story Nicole. — Another wonderful testimony in the “best health care system in the world”.

    Hope you are having your disease under control now. All the best to you.

    HD

  16. Nicole Wells says:

    Hi HDinOregon – thank you so much, and yes, I’m doing what I can to feel better these days. All the best to you too : )

  17. Love it!

    And I’m still trying to think up some cool tale to tell nosey-parkers when they stare at my scar!

    Will have to wait for one of those elusive lucid days 🙂

  18. Melissa Travis says:

    OMG- I love this –“However, if I was a 90-year-old man and I felt like getting my limp dick up again – I could easily do so with a prescription.”

    Feeling ya– loving your writing– loving your story. Mad mad love. All over.

    x
    Melissa

  19. Rock says:

    “staring at a dirty floor that had Cheeto remnants on it – and that half eaten Oreo next to the nurse’s shoe was BLISS.” LOLOLOLOLOLOL. i remember that day. i was watching the Michael Jackson Memorial on tv. i remember when you came home and told me what happened and after i stopped peeing on the couch with laughter from your genius delivery, i felt some relief for you. it was like someone was giving you some hope of what to do next. look how far you’ve come. yes, you’ve gone through more shit, but you always get through it. you are a tough broad, a dame, a heroine, a superwoman – a gal who always comes out on top no matter what her circumstances. my Gibralts.

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