carose59: health matters (an intuition of mortality)
"Oh, Great, I Have To Work. I'm Always Working When The World Ends."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-


This isn't a menopause thing, it's a Cymbalta-withdrawal thing, and you have no idea how happy this makes me. I thought I was either dying or losing my mind—those are my default assumptions about anything that happens to me. An unpleasant chemical reaction to the lack of a drug in my system is like a picnic in the park compared to either of those.

I'm crying a lot lately, too. That could also be a withdrawal thing, or it could be just me going back to being me, and I can deal with it. Maybe this is also why I've been feeling sort of dizzyish lately. Cymbalta. Actually, lack of Cymbalta. Not panic attacks, not anxiety, an actual real not-dying thing happening to me.

You know what that means? It means I get to be nice to myself. It means I don't have to be stern and unforgiving when I can't do perfectly ordinary things like drive to the north side of town where I've driven many, many times before. I can stop feeling like a failure because my stupid behavior is being caused by an actual thing instead of just my mind suddenly forgetting that driving over a bridge is perfectly safe.

I cannot tell you how wonderful this is.

-:- -:- -:- -:-

In other news, I'm reading this book called, What Alice Forgot, and it's one of the things that's had me on the edge of tears. It's about a woman who gets amnesia and loses ten years of her memory—ten years in which she had three children, her best friend died, her beloved sister drifted out of her life, and she and her husband are getting a divorce. And she can't understand why her sister and husband seem to hate her because the last thing she remembers is being happily married and close to her sister. I feel so sorry for her, though it looks like things might work out.

It's a relief to actually cry about this, instead of just absorbing it and having the sadness be a part of me. Crying drains off the poisoned groundwater, of which I have oceans. Really, it's amazing I don't cry more.

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I dreamed about my mother the other night. She was alive again—that is, had been dead and now wasn't. My mind is very stubborn on this subject. And I was so annoyed because she had all of these chores she wanted me to do, and then she tells me brightly, "And on Saturday you don't have to do any chores because we're going to spend the whole day cooking and baking," as though she was taking me on that picnic in the park instead of expecting me to spend a whole day in the kitchen. And all I could think was, "I don't fucking want to spend my day cooking! How is that not a chore?!"

And I was wondering when she was going to die again.

I hope I'm not supposed to feel bad about this, because I don't. I find it funny. I loved my mother, but we didn't have the perfect relationship and I spend a lot of energy not being angry—and not showing I was angry when I couldn't avoid feeling it—and I'm relieved not to have to do that anymore. I'm relieved to be able to feel the unacceptable emotions that have always been there.


*Dr. John Carter
carose59: dealing with people (the same as people who aren't different)
"Look, Look, Look, Next Time I'm Apologizing To Somebody And I Have To Spell Something Out In Rose Petals, I'm Taking My Business Elsewhere, OK, Buddy?"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I use a CPAP. Every three months they contact me and ask if I need any new supplies (masks, tubes, things like that). Last November I changed the kind of mask I use. In February I got the email and responded that yes, I did need a new mask.

When it arrived, it was the old kind. I wasn't in desperate need, and getting this straightened out required the dread talking to people thing, so I only called a couple of weeks ago.

But nothing got straightened out because their computer was down. I was told to call back in not more than an hour. I found this a little strange—the not-more-than-an-hour part—but I did. The computer was still down. This was a Friday. I was instructed to call back Monday.

Well, that didn't happen because Mondays are long days for me and I don't get home until nearly five. Tuesdays are the same. I have no explanation what was wrong with Wednesday or Thursday, but I managed to call back on Friday.

I was told that a pre-paid shipping label would be sent out, and when they received the incorrect mask, they'd send the correct one. I said fine. We hung up.

When I got home from work yesterday, there was a UPS delivery failure sticker on my door. They had been there to pick up the mask.

First, the woman I spoke to told me I'd be mailing it back. Second, their idea of how fast the mail is is either forty years old or insanely optimistic. I talked to them Friday afternoon and they thought something mailed after that would have reached me not just by Monday, but by Monday-before-I-left-for-work, which means Saturday.

I wasn't going to just write the name of the company on the package and leave it for UPS, so this morning I called to find out what was going on, which led to some unpleasantness. The woman I spoke to told me they never use the post office. I'm assuming she meant to move supplies from one place to another, since they most definitely didn't use UPS to bring me the tag. Then she said some partial sentences that seemed to add up to this method of picking up the package had failed and they'd have to go to plan B. Plan B was me bringing the mask to them.

They're not in Indianapolis, they're north of Indianapolis in Fishers, and since I'm having trouble getting to the mall, driving to Fishers is not something I'm able to do right now. I'm also not much interested in correcting their mistakes at my time and expense.

Alternately, they could send a technician to my house and we could just swap masks. Both of those options were offered the first time around, and I turned them both down.

The woman I was speaking to told me that the technician could be there in three to five business days and I didn't have to be there. Anyone in my household would be fine. I said my cat doesn't answer the door.

I've had this experience before and I always find it baffling and infuriating: every time I would start to speak, the CSR would start talking. If I was quiet, so was she. It's very weird. It's like the last thing they want is to hear what you have to say.

I finally said, "Dammit, will you just be quiet long enough for me to finish a sentence?" and she hung up on me.

So I called back and asked to speak to whoever was in charge. Two hours and two more phone calls later, I got to. (I had left a message, but of course had not gotten a call back.)

The charming supervisor I spoke to listened to my tale of woe and said nothing. I waited in the silence and then she said that she was reading the notes in my file, to find out what had happened.

I did not say, "I just told you what happened," although I wanted to. This is something else I've experienced before, being subtly accused of lying, although in this case I think she meant she wanted to see what the problem was and just phrased it badly.

She was very gracious. She said that because of the problems I'd had, they would send somebody out on whatever day was convenient for me.

I still find this weird. It's like they don't really trust any mode of shipping, or because they screwed up one UPS pick up, they could never again trust them to do anything. It's not like we're talking gold bullion here; it's a bunch of overpriced plastic.

So I asked what was wrong with UPS. They weren't even the ones who had made the mistake, that was her department, and UPS's turnaround time had been really great. Actually send me the label this time and we're in business.

Strangely, strangely, she didn't seem to like this idea, but she agreed. She also said what should have been said when I called on Friday: that they would ship the correct mask today even though they didn't have the incorrect one back yet. Seriously, I'm getting billed for it, so if I don't return it it's my problem. This we-don't-trust-you behavior is ridiculous, and it's insulting coming from a company that's now screwed up repeatedly.

I wanted to be snarky, but I wasn't because I was getting what I wanted. That is one thing I know how to do: win without screwing it up for myself.


*Eric R. Lawson
carose59: doctors (they understand matter not spirit)
"Trust Me. I'm In A Lab Coat."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I talked to the second neurologist to see my mother. (I was there when the first one saw her.) I should have been getting her to her Coumadin clinic appointments. This might not have happened if I had done that. But is in no way the fault of the two sets of paramedics who didn't see any stroke symptoms—not even the ones who came after I called 911 and said, "I think she's having a stroke." Because they can't be expected to know everything. I, of course, can, because I'm not part of the Perfect Doctor Club.

And my mother has been telling people that the reason she hasn't been going to the doctor is that it's so hard to work around other people's schedules!!! I got her to admit (to me) that this is not, in fact, the case. We were supposed to go . . . somewhere last month. I took the day off work. She (predictably) cancelled at the last minute. But I was there, ready and waiting. Between her agoraphobia, her depression, her physical problems, and my depression and PTSD, we haven't been doing a good job getting her out of the house. I admit that. But just like with Pat, I don't know how you force an adult in her right mind to leave the house when she doesn't want to, or to allow strangers in when she doesn't want them there. I wish I was better at this stuff, and the ironic thing is, I'm just like her about this stuff.

The second neurologist also said that "there was probably some dementia before the stroke." He bases this on his years of knowing my mother and—no, wait. I don't know what he bases this on. Her making bad decisions? If people making bad decisions = dementia, we might as well throw out the word dementia, because everybody makes bad decisions. I've clearly made bad decisions here, am I demented? (I like "demented" better than "suffering from dementia." Call a fucking spade a spade.)

He seemed utterly disinterested in her vision problems—wouldn't even let me finish talking about them. Doctors tend to be classically pro-life: we want to keep people alive forever, but we don't give a shit what kind of life that is. Casually tells me she won't be living at home anymore, like that's no big deal. Asshole.

She's going into rehab this week, maybe. I'm fighting them on sending her to rehab until they figure out just what's causing the nausea she's been having. The last time we came to the ER, it was about that and they shuffled it off to the side in favor of some other problem she had. The woman's eighty-six; point to any part of her, you'll find some kind of problem. But I see no point having her transported to rehab, only to have her unable to do the rehab because of her nausea. I've fought with doctors and hospitals and rehab people before; I'm not afraid to get back in the ring. I'm the Tiger Daughter. I'm the one who forced the first rehab center to send her to the hospital when she was having intestinal blockage that could have killed her. I'm the one who went completely apeshit on the woman who claimed vital information wasn't in the chart—and who asked the doctor who defended her, "Are you telling me she can't read? Because if she can't, I think she needs a different line of work."

Don't mess with depressed people. Sometimes being angry is the best we feel, so if you piss us off, we will lean into it and enjoy the energy rush.

I want my mother back. I suspect that's only going to happen in very small pips** from now on. I have to remember that I'm her sword and I'm her shield; I fight the battles and I take the blows that she can't.


*Julian, SoulPancake
**You know how Hershey bars can be broken into neat little rectangles? Those rectangles are called pips.
carose59: (009)
"I Have A Papercut From Writing My Suicide Note. It's A Start."*

-:- -:- -:-

So, I have a yeast infection, so I went to the doctor. And, of course, we had to have the cholesterol-blood pressure-too much sugar-weight conversation, although my blood pressure was fine. He asked me several times if I'm diabetic (no). He sent me for a sophisticated blood test because the last one I had, when plugged into some kind of formula (along with my weight and other things I couldn't read on his computer screen) says my chances of having a heart attack are only three percent. If I had ever been a smoker, they'd be higher. For some reason, before he did the results, he checked that I was a smoker—while saying that I'm not—and then did the results again. I don't know what the hell.

And that wasn't even the weird part.

Apparently, cholesterol, besides breaking down into good and bad, also breaks down into big clumps and little clumps, and it's the big ones that are bad, so we're checking to see what kind of clumps I have, at which point I will have to start taking a statin because my number will be higher. How does he know this? I have no idea.

I expressed my dismay at the idea of statins, and told him about the debilitating leg cramps I had. That's when the conversation went sideways.

We would try a different statin, because different statins have different enzyme bases, and different people have different enzyme bases. Now, I was following this just fine, but for some reason he then asked if I'd ever been in Grand Central Station in New York.

Yes. Yes, I have.

Well, he tells me, there are turnstiles there, and some of them are short and wide, and some of them are tall and narrow, and obviously short, wide people wouldn't be able to fit through the tall, narrow ones, and vice versa. And I understand the point he's making (though confused by the relevancy), but mostly I'm trying picture Grand Central Station (where I had a panic attack the last time I was there, and had to leave before anyone noticed) and to control the urge to say, "Have you ever been to Grand Central Station in New York? Because I'm pretty sure they do not, in fact, have turnstiles like you're talking about—what are you talking about, anyway? Man, I want to see the Empire State Building again, and breathe some New York air."

But I didn't say that, not so much because I'm trying to sound sane, but because my stomach hurt and I wanted to get my prescription and get out of there.

Anyway, I got sent to the lab for blood work, and the tech took blood from my wrist. Yep, my chances of becoming a junkie are even lower than my chances of having a heart attack because you cannot find veins in my arms. After one try, and much searching—and me telling her that the last couple of times they'd had to go to my wrist, she apologized repeatedly and stuck a needle in my wrist.

It hurts like hell, though not for very long. The bad part is, I can feel the blood coming out, and it's very upsetting.

Then I went to breakfast. It was one in the afternoon.

While I was eating, it started raining, and when I got in the car, I started crying. I was planning on going in to work, but instead I called in, picked up my prescription, and went home to sit in my house, listen to the rain, and cry.

When I got home, Patrick was sitting on his front porch. He got fired. As I understand it, he did something—or didn't do something—that he—and others—had done (or not done) before. The difference this time is, he has a brand new manager who, instead of handling it internally, reported him to corporate. And when it goes to corporate, you get fired, period.

He was talking about cashing in his 401k, and then he said that when that runs out, he can always shoot himself in the head.

"Do you still have a gun?" I asked. (He used to have several, before his house was burgled, repeatedly.

"No!" he said, and started laughing. "I need a better plan!" Then he told me that was why he likes talking to me; instead of getting all worried or trying to cheer him up, I go straight for the flaw in his plan, and I make him laugh. Well, he's not really suicidal—not actively suicidal. I think when your hobbies are drinking and smoking, you could be considered passively suicidal. But aren't we all, in our own ways?

I went inside with Meg, and we cuddled and slept in my chair all afternoon, watching Leverage.


*Stephen Wright
carose59: meds (into patients of whom they know nothing)
Estimated Amount Of Glucose Used By An Adult Human Brain Each Day, Expressed In M&Ms: 250.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I'm back on the simvastatin. For the moment. Mostly to humor my mother.

I saw my doctor on Monday, and while she was very pleasant, she's also either an idiot or a liar. Or a combination of the two, I don't know. But I'm fed up with doctors.

My cholesterol is higher than it "should" be. (By the way, there's no proof that this is a bad thing. There's no direct correlation between cardiovascular problems and cholesterol in people who are otherwise healthy. I'm otherwise healthy, as far as I know. Also, I was told over ten years ago my cholesterol was too high. At that time, under two hundred was good. My cholesterol now is under two hundred.) (Also, they're now starting to think that the benefit people with cardiovascular problems are getting isn't from statins' cholesterol-lowering ability, but from its strong anti-inflammatory qualities.)

What this means is, I should be taking a statin. (There's no proof that statins lower cholesterol in women. They simply haven't done the studies; all their results come from studies done on men/done almost exclusively on men. Because, really, how different are men and women biologically? Except for having functional breasts and not having penises—oh, and having longer hair—we're pretty much identical, right?)

According to my doctor, statins are so safe, in medical school they wondered why they weren't just put in the water so everyone could benefit from them. (Because memory loss and rhabdomyolysis and myopathy and liver damage are hardly what anyone would call serious problems. And the memory loss thing can't be explained, it's all anecdotal, so it doesn't count anyway. And besides, it mostly only happens to women, which is why they aren't looking into it. [Does that sound paranoid? I mean, considering that it's only been in the last couple of years that they actually bothered to test the use of aspirin as a heart attack preventative for women. The had previously just tested it on men, then assumed it also worked the same way for women.] ) Also, my doctor was starting me out on what she called a "baby dose." She used that term several times. Twenty milligrams.

I looked this up when I got home. The lowest dose on the market is five milligrams, and even the manufacturer recommends a starting dose of ten milligrams. But twenty milligrams is a baby dose. A baby what? I wonder.

You might have noticed by now that I'm not exactly what anyone would call "compliant." So I checked around and made sure that the coating on the pills is not a time-release thing, got out my pill-cutter, and cut my twenties into four pieces. Then I stuck each piece in a gel capsule because I have a lot of them and it seemed like a good idea.

I've now taken two of them, and I'm very sick to my stomach. But so far nothing hurts, and my memory seems all right. And I'm not dead.

But I no longer trust my doctor. Twenty years ago she would have been pushing HRT for my health, because that's what the drug companies were selling. Reading Anatomy of an Epidemic has changed my life because now I understand just how much you cannot trust either drug companies or people who trust drug companies. I have to be look after myself (which is not right; someone is supposed to be looking after me!), so I have to be skeptical and vigilant, but at the same time polite and amusing and cooperative—which taxes all my people-skills and leaves me feeling like a hypocrite. It's exhausting. And with everyone in authority telling me I'm wrong, I start doubting myself, and then I have my Guildenstern arguments with myself, unable to be sure about—anything. Which is even more exhausting.

So I'm very tired, particularly of arguing with myself.


*Harper's Index

Posted simultaneously on LiveJournal and Dreamwidth
carose59: meds (into patients of whom they know nothing)
I Don't Even Know If I Mean That . . . And I'm Massively Confused, And You're Ambivalent.*

-:- -:- -:-

It's time to come out. And I've abandoned Bruce Springsteen.

About a month and a half ago, after finishing Richard Whitaker's Anatomy of an Epidemic, I made the decision to stop taking Cymbalta.

It's scary.

I also made the decision not to tell anyone. I just didn't want anyone telling me I shouldn't do it.

I changed my mind about that and told a select few people: my mother, my boss, one of my best friends. I did this because I didn't want to be alone in this, and because I wanted other people keeping tabs on my behavior. And I emailed another friend about it, and I joined an online support group for people withdrawing from psychotropics.

The first thing you really need to know is that back when my psychiatrist upped my dose from 30mg to 60mg, I only went with that dose for a very short time, then started taking the 60s every other day, and that's what I've been doing ever since. My first step in my withdrawal was to stop doing that. Instead, I started taking 30mg a day. Well, a little less because it didn't divide quite evenly.

At that point I was counting the little granules in the capsules, and I discovered there weren't the same amount in each one. Also, my mother kept bringing up the subject when we talked, and she asked me to tell Patrick because he sees me pretty often, and we talk. So I did that, and I went online and bought myself a scale so I could weigh the milligrams. I showed it to my mother the other day, and she was very impressed. And I think she's less worried.

So far I've made one cut; I've gone down from 114mg to 111mg. "One hundred and fourteen? How did 114 get into it?" I hear you cry. Well, with the inactive ingredients (which include a time-release coating), 30 becomes 114, more or less, don't you see?

(I tried to do the math to figure that out, so I'd know just how much I was cutting, but I don't know what the equation would be. There's only so much math you can learn from watching Numb3rs.)

So far I don't see any difference, and no-one has said anything. I'm mostly feeling pretty good. I'm mostly--

I feel like there's two of me: the one who mostly feels pretty good, and the one that feels strange and stressed and worried. It's like I'm Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, split in two. I don't know which one is the real me. I don't know if I'm changing because of things, or changing Pat died, or I'm changing because changing I'm not dead and change is what everything living thing does. Or D, all of the above.

Anyway, I've made a pro/con list of going off Cymbalta.

pros

01) I'm concerned about long-term effects.
02) Except for the Lorazepam, I've never had problems stopping a drug.
03) I don't trust the people who are pushing the drugs.
04) It's followed the same pattern of all the other anti-depressants I've used--it helped at first, but I don't see any difference overall.
05) I'm being extremely careful.
06) They're expensive.
07) I don't feel like writing anymore.
08) I don't feel like doing much of anything anymore.

cons

01) I don't know what the long-term effects are. (It's a newish drug.)
02) I'm terrified of withdrawal effects, and I've never been on a drug this long before.
03) Am I being unduly swayed by Richard Whitaker's book?
04) I'm feeling relatively good right now and I don't want to mess with that.
05) Except for the support group I've found, I feel like everyone I know disapproves or is fearful of this.
06) Being part of this support group, I feel pressured to continue.
07) I don't know if anything I'm experiencing has anything to do with the drugs.
08) I don't know anything.

I don't know who I am anymore, and I live in a vacuum, and I was never good at decisions but now--

I'm a bat in an open field, with nothing to bounce my sounds off of.


*Amita Ramanujan

Pruning

Saturday, 21 August 2010 09:34 pm
carose59: poetry (by Henry Gibson)
When you live in a garden,
people all come at you with plans
ideas

shears.

They seldom ask,
and what can a plant say anyway?
Please don't cut that leaf.
No, not that vine
branch
limb.

Not that it matters.
Do I know what shape I want to be?
I thought this one
was

but I knew it wasn't.
I knew it wasn't.

And you have to fit in the garden.


Somehow I defy fixing.
Branches trained to bend one way
bend back no matter how hard I try
no matter how hard I try.
And I mourn even the losses of thorns I wanted shorn away.

Even asking,
even saying could you please make me look like
feel like
please make it
make me
please make me
please



For someone who is supposed to be so good with words,
I am remarkably incoherent.

What can I tell you?

Plants don't speak. We only follow the sun.

And when it goes down, we get lost.
Bound to the earth, we still get lost.


Posted simultaneously on LiveJournal and Dreamwidth.

Coming to a boil.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010 10:10 am
carose59: it's all in my head (the wind of the wing)
"No, I Definitely—I Don't Believe That. But I Have Found It To Be True."*

-:- -:- -:-

My Cymbalta hasn't been doing anything for me for a while now. It's the latest in a long line of drugs to start off promising and then renege on those promises.

Or maybe it was the doctors who made the promises. It's hard to tell. I've never been sure if any of them (besides the Great God Paxil) did anything more than help me sleep better for a while, which would make me feel better all by itself.

Cymbalta was also supposed to help with aches and pains, and I think it started off doing that. Now, not so much. And I'm on a higher dosage than when I started it, except I'm not.

I'm being non-compliant. A while back I started taking one every other day, so I'm back to my original dosage.

Then my GP recommended I start taking fish oil for my cholesterol and incipient carpal tunnel. So I've been scaling back further on the Cymbalta and taking more fish oil. (Scaling back. That's a joke, son.)

I tried telling my psychiatrist about the Cymbalta, but he wants to raise my dosage, after I'm tested for sleep apnea, which I probably have because I am, after all, fat.

Diane and I talked about the whole shame cloud that hangs over so much of this. I know that I deserve everything that's happening, even if it's not really happening, because I'm fat. Being fat is my own fault. Blaming my short, dumpy grandparents and their people is useless. If they were alive, they'd tell me how fat I am, too.

Anyway, I'm having some problems, mostly that I'm not getting enough red meat and that I'm crying a lot. I see my GP on the twelfth, and I'm going to tell him about this stuff, see if he still likes me.

I long for someone who understands all this to tell me what to do, but who understands all this? I looked for Dr. Thomas, the psychiatrist I had for a while last year, but I don't seem to be able to find him. So I'm going looking for someone new.

In the meantime, I can't seem to stop crying, particularly when I write about this stuff. I think it's all the stress that's been suppressed by the drugs, climbing out of my body the way on TV when somebody dies, you see a filmy image of them get up and leave. I haven't been up and I haven't been down, I've just been. Right now I'm feeling down, but I've also felt up lately.


*Tiffany Porter

I'm leaving comments on, but please don't think badly of me if you don't get a response this month.
carose59: doctors (they understand matter not spirit)
"What's the Matter? Cat Got Your Crotch?"*

-:- -:- -:-

I was watching Grey's Anatomy, the one where the fat woman has the the enormous tumor, and it's pretty much assumed that she doesn't deserve to live anymore, she's just this fat, stupid woman who didn't go to the doctor quickly enough so she must want to die, so she deserves to die. She's fat. She's stupid. (It's the same thing, you know. You have to be stupid to be fat; if you weren't stupid, you wouldn't be fat.) (I'm not eating the Sara Lee French chocolate cheesecake for dinner, I just had a little of it before I figure out what to do about dinner.)

I've been having doctor problems, as I believe I've said. I've had to assume the position (i.e., get up in the stirrups) twice since the last time I wrote about this, which was July eleventh, and while I've finally got something approaching a satisfactory diagnosis/explanation of what's going on, all in all I'm not happy.

First I went to see my actual doctor, whom I've always liked. But his examination was cursory at best, and his solution was to give me a prescription for doxepin, which is an antihistamine that's mostly used as an anti-depressant, but which he was giving me for the itching I was having.

It kind of worked—the itching wasn't as bad. The only problem was, it made me so dizzy I was sick for literally twenty-four hours. (That's reason two that I wasn't thrilled with my doctor: he told me if they were too strong, I could break the pills in half. That's excellent advice, when the pills are not, in fact, capsules. And they only come in capsules. How much attention are we paying here?)

(This is my regular doctor! This is the doctor I've had for over ten years! And his concern for me, his concern that a patient who has always had problems with medications being too strong, is—minimal at best.)

Then, when I called in for a different solution, he wrote me a prescription for a salve. Which sounded fine, until I looked it up and found out that it was the same stuff that was in the pill. Because I'm not a doctor, because I—honestly, I don't think I have all the answers, I don't necessarily think I know what I'm taking about—I called my pharmacy and asked the pharmacist about this. I laid it all out for her and asked, "Am I crazy, or does it seem like a bad idea for someone who has had this reaction to the pill to use this cream?"

And she paused, and then very diplomatically said, "Well, you're not crazy."

So I called my doctor's office back, explained this, and got a call back. Try some benedryl.

Jesus-fucking-Christ.

I'm trying so hard to think this isn't because I'm fat (and therefore stupid and undeserving of quality care). Or because I'm crazy (and therefore nothing I say can be trusted). (My doctor seems obsessed by my regularity, in spite of the fact that I'm very regular. I should be using some kind of fiber stuff. When I tell him I'm perfectly regular, he—doesn't seem to believe me. Everybody lies? I don't, not to my doctor. But I don't feel believed.

This last doctor's visit, yesterday, cost nearly five times what a visit to my own doctor cost. I saw my mother's GP, who's in his seventies and doesn't bother with insurance companies, and I don't blame him a bit. If I could afford it, I'd see him all the time. He gave me a real exam. He gave me something that should help (and does seem to be helping). He told me that if this doesn't work, I should see a specialist.

He acknowledged that I'm having a real problem. It was a fucking miracle. I didn't feel like a hypochondriac, and I didn't feel like crying when I left.

I'm trying to exercise and take off some weight, and I'm trying to learn to love my body. I've scheduled both a colonoscopy and a talk with a cardiologist, and I'm hoping for an upper GI after that because I want to find out if anything is wrong, I want to stop worrying for a while, at least about my health.

On a related note, I'd like to tell you what happened today. During my lost day, I got a phone call from a doctor's office saying that the doctor had a scheduling conflict and saying I'd need to reschedule from early August to the twenty-third. I said sure, no problem.

Today, I called to see if I could get my colonoscopy moved up any because I didn't want to wait any longer than I had to. I confused the hell out of the poor woman doing the scheduling because it wasn't their office who had called, it was the cardiologist's office.

Friends don't let friends make doctors' appointments stoned to the gills.


*Porter, Payback

July 2017

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