Chronic Snarkopolist: What’s Your Worst Medical Story?!
As I write this I am waiting for my rheumatologist to call me back. Actually she is not my regular rheumatologist, she is the “on call” doc because my regular rheumy is out of the country.
There is no such thing as a little bit of a complication when you are dealing with chronic autoimmune disorders. There is only a SONIC FUCK TON of complex KILLING-YOU-ITIS and simply, “Dear Melissa – you are merely whining today, leave us alone, yours truly, love, all 11 of your medical specialists.”
I never know which of these I fall under in any given day. Probably, knowing me, I vacillate wildly between both. Meanwhile, OF COURSE, one doctor is always super nice and sweet, “Call at any hour, even at 3 a.m.” And one is – “If you call me I will snap your spine in small sections.”
My colorectal surgeon, Dr Mchotterson – (who decided to give me last minute emergency surgery on my poop-chute last Tuesday because he must be in mad love with me) was of course the – “CALL AT ANY HOUR and bother any of my partners even if it is at 3 a.m.” doctor.
Of course, at this moment, I’m experiencing every malady known to human kind. And he has called every day, “How are you?” “I’m GREAT!” “I’m terrible.” “I’m running a horrific fever and an alien sucker punched me in my vaginal area and then made off with my pocket book, used my ID to buy liquor and purchase handguns and given them to the homeless who have invaded foreign countries, set up their own governments, are making a blood drive, called and asked me to contribute because they have my ID, and … and then I peed blood. Help!”
Of course – I have no idea what to do. I’m not sure how sick is “sick.” My REAL LIFE rheumatologist is out of the country, volunteering for Doctors Without Boarders. (Seriously – SHE AND HER HUSBAND ARE SAINTS!) The stand in Rheumatologist on call -called me back and said, “hrmm – you could be perfectly fine or you could be dying of 200 illnesses including DREAD PIRATE DISEASE. Maybe you should go to the ER. Call your surgeon and ask him what he thinks. You’re probably dying of sepsis from your cornholing surgery the other day.”
So- Dr. Mchotterson is not on call today. His partner calls me back. She is CLEARLY NOT in a good mood to be bothered on a weekend. She asked me, “are you running a fever?”
Dr. Not-dealing with your shit today: so your Rheumatologist wanted you to call me and bother me on my Saturday off because WHY?
Me: because I’m also peeing blood too
(we go through the entire list of medical questions of which YOU WILL BE SPARED)
(but really- I peed blood- it was fascinating – in a biochemical way. But also disgusting and I had an out of body experience when I noticed. Like floating in the air head rush– this isn’t me, it can’t be. This is just red. In my pee. Yes. Red stuff. Protein. I took chemistry. Red. Stuff. Pretend it away. “Wish it to the cornfield Timmy.” Unicorns. Rainbows. Red geysers of DEATH KILLING ME INSTANTLY and then reviving me to KILL ME SOME MORE.)
Her trump question: (she puts it all to rest and wins by default by rendering me SPEECHLESS) Do you have feces in your urine?
Me: um? What?
Dr. Not-dealing with your shit today: DO- YOU- HAVE – FEECES – IN – YOUR – URINE? Are you peeing poo? Are you making the number two out of the number one hole? Are you? Are you????
Me: (More stunned silence) (weakly) no?
Her: Then you’re not sick enough to bother me. Dr. Mchotterson will see you at 9:45 a.m. for follow-up on Monday.
Me: (SPEECHLESS STILL)
Dr. Not-dealing with your shit today: (clicks phone decisively in my ear and laughs at me mockingly)
I drink more tea, call back the on call rheumatologist and tell her that I am a whiney whore for complaining about blood when no poop is coming out the pee pee hole. I then draft a new business card to thank Dr. Mchotterson for NOT being a cock sucking bully and for being a least nice to me more than 42% of the time.
Here it is:
Please note – even if I die of sepsis, kidney failure, a fistula, (the Rheumatologist ON CALL said this word, like pleurisy I have never heard it before) or DREAD PIRATES DISEASE – I will have lived a thousand lives before I EVER google the surgery I have had done before.
Note to self: never google your surgeries AFTER the fact. You do NOT want to know the kinds of shit a colorectal surgeon can pull out of you (literally or figuratively). You just do NOT WANT TO DO IT.
I know I promised not to gross you out anymore – but… well… I can’t help it. And to be honest- in order to get over it – I have to tell you all about it. If I tell YOU about it – then I can sort of unload it all mentally. Now the images of the last week are gone from my mind and permanently loaded on YOURS. Now YOU can go image search all those horrific words and take away the terrible sights from MY MIND. Go – go do it. I triple dog dare you!!
(Shudder. Pokes at gross images in mind with stick.)
I’m sitting here wondering what on earth to talk about more fascinating then how doctors treat their patients. And it is this – how doctors treat OTHER doctor’s patients – that is patient’s who are not theirs (yet). How the medical industrial complex requires exactly certain behaviors of “good” and “bad” and “unruly” patients. And how chronically ill people are shuffled around like so many slabs of meat from day to day.
It is so easy to forget sometimes that we have rights – or even if we REMEMBER – it is hard to stand up for our rights without having to do FLYING SIDE KICKS into the artifices that medicine has sometimes constructed for us.
And here is the completely opposite side of that coin: The other day a nurse (or group of them) did something lovely for me. I woke up from surgery and found this on my hospital ID band:
SUPER SASSY with a smiley face written on my hospital Identification tag. I am QUITE positive this goes against every possible regulation and code on the planet. I am positive the surgeon did not approve it or know about it. I am positive that the nurse in question did it to be sweet to me and because she herself is a doll. And I AM GRATEFUL for it. I need to feel special. I needed the laugh. And I got one. I LOVE A GOOD LAUGH more than anything on the planet. Meanwhile – it is difficult for me to juxtapose this beautiful fun amazing thing with the confusing and complicated matter of having self-esteem, dignity, and having rights in the face of sometimes inhuman medical billing, mean office staff, and unpleasant and cruel doctors.
Admittedly- sometimes I’m having awful days. I do my very best to BE my best for all the medical staff I see because I know that the front desk people are the one’s who will ultimately grease my wheels. They will be the one’s who will ALLOW me to still see a doctor even if I do not have a paid medical bill. Or – they will be the one’s who not-so-accidentally do NOT call me back.
Gratefully- I left the last proctologist’s office long before I began having all these complications because it was her office manager who disliked me. And it was ME who started the fight (by accident). Really though – aren’t all misunderstandings always by accident – sort of like checking out someone’s package – it is NEVER on purpose… just a glance too long and oops – sausage factory has been seen and now must be dealt with accordingly!
So how does one HAVE self-esteem and rights and still manage to BALANCE living any type of normal life with NOT NORMAL CHRONIC ILLNESS? I have yet to find the answer. I mean – I could go my whole life without ever seeing graphic words related to my surgeries ever again. So how do I balance THAT and still remain a normal cool loving person (who makes improved business cards for her poop-shoot surgeon)? At the same time – I’m a weirdo sicko more than 1/3 of the time. (Hush- I’m sure it is NEVER more than that!) Leave me alone – I’ve been cornholed!
I am writing to update you on Monday to let you know that Doctor Mchotterson was in an emergency operation so I left and had some blood work done. I am not dead unless I have become a zombie. I did, however, manage to shave my legs, and trim the hedges (aka snatch) just in case because I hate knowing that every operating room attendant (and surgeon) on the planet knows that when I am not getting laid I am not arsed to keep myself orderly “down there.” One of my dear friends went ballistic and reminded me that if I end up getting a CT scan – even if I avoid more surgery this week, the CT scan WILL KNOW! Hence… my guilty barbering 101 job last night over the toilet. Vey.
Here is visual of what my snatch looks when I am not arsed to keep things orderly:
On my way out from the blood work I scraped my ankle but other than that I am fine(ish). I might get sepsis from the ankle scraping and that would be pretty ironic, wouldn’t it?
So – you – what are your most lovely disgusting or mortifying medical stories? Please – by all means- you owe me one! TELL ME! Turn about is fair play! I’m going to be in surgery a bit on Friday so I might be a bit lax in answering some of the comments. I FREAKING ADORE YOU!! I want to know each of you better each week! If I am slow to answer it is because Dr. Mchotterson is fine tuning my cornhole or the Other surgeon is strumming my more bits like harps cords.
How do you deal with this balance between finding space in your chronically ill life for being a whole and healing person? How do you find your self-esteem? How do you construct your IDENTITY as more than a sick person while still honoring your illnesses? How do you know when you are truly sick or just feeling whiney? I simply MUST KNOW!! How have you found success at getting your rights met without coming off like a crazed fool (like yours truly has on plenty of occasions).
I’m so wanting to hear how you cope, how you keep sane, how you manage your life!! Dish your stories!
I’ll be seeing you next week! Same time same place! Kisses!
Tags: chronic autoimmune disorders, chronic maladays, Chronic Snarkopolist, Dear Thyroid columns, managing multiple chronic conditions, medical stories, medical traumas by patients, rheumatoid arthritis side effects, thyroid and autoimmune columns, written by Melissa Travis