Monday, March 16, 2009

The Doctor Is Out

I'm sick. Sick sick sick. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat, which engulfed my entire head by the early afternoon. By the time I left for school at 5 (to take a test, of course) it felt like someone had opened my skull, removed my brain, and refilled the cavity with sand. If Sylar hasn't used that torture on anyone yet, he should, it's brutal. I came home with a killer headache, sinus pressure, earache, sore throat, and went to bed at 8:30.

By the time Ryan came to bed at 11, I had the chills and hadn't slept at all. He got me some medicine and fell asleep. I laid in bed listening to Ryan snore with my entire face throbbing to the beat of "Conga" by Gloria Estefan (Come on, shake your body baby, do the conga!) I eventually went downstairs and cuddled up with my personal space heater - my laptop. At 1 a.m. I went back upstairs, listened to an audiobook until the snoring blessedly ended, and fell asleep at 1:30.

There was no question in my mind - as soon as I got out of bed this morning, I was on the phone with the doctor, making an appointment. The last time I was seriously ill was last February when I came down with strep throat on the day of Ryan's sister's wedding in St. George. I had to pack for the entire family, load it all in the car, and then shake with the chills all the way down there. I saw a family picture from that day - I looked atrocious. No, really I looked like I was sullen and angry, but I swear it was just being miserably sick. It takes such an effort to smile, and even when you think you're faking it, the proof is in the photo. So, off to the doctor for me.

The problem was there was one more symptom that I was sure the doctor wouldn't be able to cure - guilt. Darcey, my beautiful little 21-month-old girl, has been dribbling snot out of her nose like a leaky showerhead. And it wasn't pretty, clear snot - it was colorful and disgusting. I hate snot worse than anything. I have a friend who is vomit-phobic, and she nearly caused me to toss my cookies a couple of weeks ago when she described a booger-related incident. If God made these bodies, why on earth did He have to include such vile processes as mucus production? That's just one of the things I'm going to take up with Him when the time comes.

Sorry, lost my train of thought. Oh yeah, Darcey's runny nose had been bad for going on 10 days now, with the accompanying grouchiness, occasional fever, some pus in the corners of her eyes (GROSS!!) and today, a cough. But for all of these symptoms, I had not taken her to the doctor. I had many well-thought out reasons for this. First of all, you cannot take a kid to the doctor for having a runny nose. Not even if the nose is pouring the entire contents of the Niagara Falls out of it, it's just not a doctor-worthy symptom. Same with grouchiness. If there was a pill to cure grouchiness, trust me, I would have been all over that a while ago. The fever WAS doctor-worthy, but that happened over the weekend, so I had to decide if it was $25-Instacare worthy. I had decided on Sunday that if she still had a fever on Monday, I'd take her in. By then, no fever.

On top of all of that rationalization, there's one other factor. I hate taking my kids to the doctor and finding out that there's nothing wrong with them. I have done that (with suspected ear infections, mostly) so many times that I think I err on the side of not taking them in. I know that none of the doctors I've seen over the years have meant to make me feel this way, but I end up feeling less confident in my maternal instincts when the grouchy-sleepless-ear rubbing child is deemed in perfect health. Additionally, I have this pervasive sense that I am wasting the doctor's time. I'm convinced that the doctor who just looked in my child's perfectly normal ear is thinking, "I spent $100,000 and 11 years of my life training to SAVE PEOPLE'S LIVES and now I'm stuck dealing with morons like you." (Disclaimer - my doctor, and also my pediatrician friend, are both two of the nicest guys ever, and probably don't think that. But I think if I were a doctor, I might.)

Since I was so clearly ill, I thought I'd make an appointment for Darcey too, and just assuage my guilt a little. Ease a symptom, so to speak. I rattled off our issues and various aches and pains. I answered the doctor's questions: How long has Darcey been sick? 10 days. And you? Since yesterday morning, but I've been really miserable the whole day! Naturally, what did the doctor find? Darcey has a double ear infection. I have a cold.

He gave Darcey a prescription for antibiotics, and just for kicks he gave me one too, since he's learned that most of his patients come for medicine regardless of if it can cure them (if it's viral, it won't). However, he underestimates me - I'm not here for medicine, I'm here for vindication! I want a diagnosis, preferably a heinous one that fits exactly how miserable I'm feeling! I want to be told, whoa, you are really sick! Nothing life threatening, of course, but I want a latin word that sounds just as grotesque as I'm feeling - fistuloid blastaloma, or Grimms-Blaugh Disease. I want someone with a medical degree to say, yes, I understand that you feel like crap, so I bestow upon you the title of Sufferer and order you to bed. Instead, I get one more strike against my medical-predictive powers and an extra dose of guilt for assuming my 24 hours of illness trumped Darcey's 10 days.

Part of me wants to say, Well, if only Darcey could talk, she could explain exactly what is hurting, and to what degree, and then I'd know to Take It Seriously. Yes, what I'm asking for in essence is an increase in articulate whining. The other part of me wants to switch to a new doctor, one who doesn't know that I swing back and forth between hyper-attention to illness and "brush it off, you'll be fine." That would buy me a couple of years before being so embarrassed I'd have to switch again.

So, needless to say, I don't feel so good. For a variety of reasons. Darcey's going to start feeling better soon, which is good because her next doctor's visit was going to be for the Kleenex burn under her nose.


rachel said...

Now, who could that vomit-phobic friend be, and who on earth would tell a booger story like that :)?

I laughed out loud at this blog. Not at your expense, mind you, but you are just funny. At least you can feel half way vindicated by taking Darcey in. (And, if it is any consolation, even with a pediatrician in the house, we have missed things. It is so hard when they don't talk!)

Emilayohead said...

You are just so lucky that I was able to contain myself and not throw up in your kitchen!!

I wanted to get Jeff's reaction to this one - it's great to have a doctor for a friend. I put so much stock in medical opinions that it's nice to be reminded that doctors are just regular people. Whose children can break bones playing horsey. :)