Friday, July 16, 2010

The Saga of Who The Hell Knows?

For the past seven months, I've been suffering from MagicRandom! illness. My symptoms include such fun things as searing joint pain! Random low grade fevers! Rashes! But wait, there's more! For no extra cost, the Universe threw in super fatigue and HAIR LOSS.

What a bargain, what a deal!

The hair loss is what bothers me the most. Even on days when I wake up and can't make a fist, or on afternoons where I'm laying with my face covered by a cool wash cloth to bring down my fever, I'm most bothered by the handfuls of hair that have been coming out in the shower, in my hair straightener and in my hair brush. I quit using the straightener and I refuse to cut or dye my hair for fear of anything else going wrong with it.

It's all just vanity; I will admit that.

My insurance is not only sucky, but in my town there aren't many doctors that accept it. (My mother, She Who Must Be Kept, works in a city about forty five minutes from town, and there are more doctors there that accept it for obvious reasons.) Until this year, we didn't really go to the doctor. We did have one through the low income care network, but she left and we didn't much care to go and find a new one. It wasn't a choice; by the time we needed medical attention it had reached emergency levels, and beyond colds and general winter misery, no one gets too sick in my family. I mean, I have asthma, but even that's pretty well controlled. My family would simply take ourselves up to the Doc in the Box, or Urgent Care clinic, get an order for antibiotics or get X-rays for the sprain or strain and carry on.

But this past fall when I began to get sick, we got back into the care network and found a new doctor. Part of the reason we didn't like the low income place was because it's all the way across town, and takes about an hour an fifteen minutes for me to get to on the bus. This isn't a trip I much like taking when I'm sick enough to go to the doctor.

I went to the doctor with my symptoms, and she, suspecting an auto immune disorder, ordered some blood work and gave me T-3s, a narcotic. Yes, there is prescription strength ibuprofen, and yes, that is what one is supposed to be started on. But anyway, my blood work came back clean, and so She Who Must Be Kept and I scheduled another appointment.

The doctor promptly said since the blood work was fine, it must be in my head, and that my weight was contributing to the issue (which may very well be, I am a chunky bitch, and I do admit that). But neither did she refer me to the care networks social worker for an evaluation, nor did she send me to the nutritionist, both of which are standard protocol. So we reported her to the administration of the care network and found ANOTHER doctor.

Doctor #2, whom She Who Must Be Kept and I like quite a bit, said she couldn't figure out the problem, but she didn't think it was in my head, but it could be fibromyalgia. Well, that was a bit of a stretch, huh?

So Dr. #2 wanted me to see a rheumatologist. Great, a specialist who can help! Oh wait, there's a wait list? A SIX MONTH LONG WAIT LIST? Fucking great. Fast forward to me having the winter from hell between the crutches I was on due to an accident and this joint pain.

Finally (FINALLY) I got to see the specialist this week. There was a problem with my appointment. They said on my paperwork nine o clock, and the first confirmation call I got said I should get there at eight thirty. Okay, that's fine. The second confirmation call said my appointment was at nine thirty, and to get there at nine. Uh... 'Kay. So She Who Must Be Kept and I get there at nine fifteen.

The nurse then says my appointment is at ten. When we show her the paperwork, she says they're much too busy to keep track of who is supposed to show up when. This does not inspire confidence, does it?

Anyway, I get in, and the doctor is lovely (and I adore her toe nail polish). She doesn't believe it's lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or arthritis, or my weight. She does believe it could be Vitamin D deficiency, which I hadn't even considered. Food is a very poor source of that vitamin, your body makes it with sunshine. I have an allergy to the sun, and therefore do not go out in it, so this makes sense. She also scolded me and told me to get on calcium because I don't drink milk and don't eat enough dairy, but did praise me for the twenty pounds I've managed to shed in two months, AND for almost completely cutting out soda.

So I went and got a blood draw. A SEVEN VIAL blood draw. My thyroid has come back fine, but I have to wait a week for anything else.

I really, really, REALLY don't want it to be fibromyalgia. I do believe in the validity of this disease (I know people with it), but even my specialist said it's a garbage pail term. It basically means, in quite a few cases, that they can't figure out what's wrong, so here, take this diagnosis.

I'm not on prescription strength ibuprofen, which only makes me drowsy, but I'm not complaining too loud.

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