Tuesday, April 8, 2008

So She Has an M.D. A Real One. Whoop-Dee-Do.

So She Has an M.D. A Real One. Whoop-Dee-Do.
Current mood: argumentative
Category: Life

Any of my friends will tell you I’m damn good at clinical diagnoses. I can whip through a differential with relative ease, particularly if it’s me. Or Patti. Actually, nine times out of ten, Patti’s actual doctors and nurses confirm what I’ve already deduced as Patti’s hypochondria, or her daughter’s febrile assessments. I’m THAT good, yo.

Most of the time, anyway.

In the TMI department, my urine was really, really dark for a good couple of, er, weeks. And I had lower back pain at the same time, right about where I (and my mom) honestly thought the kidneys might be located anatomically. Best layman’s guess, anyway. After pouring over the side effects of the litany of medications I currently take and ruling out such potential bummers as, for example, cancer, I came to the conclusion that I had a kidney infection.

After dinner at my mom’s house with Luke on Sunday night, my mother encouraged me to have this all checked out (read: confirmed) by my family practitioner on Monday, who coinicdentally, just moved her office next door to that of my mother’s in the hospital professional building nearby (more on that to follow).

I felt kind of crappy back-wise on Monday, so I didn’t go to outpatient rehab from 9-noon, and my appointment with my doctor was set for 1:45 pm. My doctor is a hoot--she’s 100% Polish, always in a huge hurry and generally confused because everyone who works for her seems to be named "Margaret."

One of the Margarets tells me that since they moved offices, they no longer have a bathroom, and I’d need to take my Dixie cup for the urinalysis and find myself a toilet elsewhere. To confuse matters more, I simply said that I’d "go to my Mom’s and be right back," leaving them thinking that I was leaving the hospital to pee at my mother’s house.

Arriving at my mother’s office, she let me in the back door and ushered me to the nearest potty, where I did my business and clutched my cup. "It’s purple!" I exclaimed to my mother. "Your urine?" she gasped. "No, Mom, the walls of Dr. B’s new office." "Whew!"

Eventually, my doctor whizzed into my examining room (figuratively, not literally) and asked me what my problem was. "Where exactly would my kidneys be located?" I asked. "Well, where does it hurt?" she replied.

I pointed down to the small of my back, where pain was radiating on the left of my tailbone.

"Your kidneys are up HERE!" the doctor said with 2 swift blows to my back.

"Ow. You’re wrong." I said.

"Wrong? I’m the DOCTOR."

"So. Why is my urine so dark then?"

After testing the sample with a pH strip, she deduced that at best, while I had no infection, and well-hydrated (from seltzer, not booze, mind you), evidently, I don’t eat. Tell me something new for my $20 co-pay, lady. "You pinched a nerve in your back, Andrea," she said.

Still doubting her credentials, my doctor was forced to pull out a well-utilized anatomy chart of the lower back, which illustrated that my pain was located within the L5 and T10 (or was it the L10 and T5?) regions of my spine. My kidneys were in the clear. I guess.

Her examination continued with me lying on the table and her twisting my left leg in all sorts of directions, each more painful than the next, just for emphasis. I was prescribed Celebrex and some muscle relaxant (yay on the latter!!!) and advised to not run or walk for exercise for a week or so. "You exercise a lot, no?" my doctor asked. "Yes, usually," I answered. "I can tell. But stop for a while." she said.

We got on the topic of my stint in detox, and I told my doctor how I ended up in the psych ward because the substance abuse floor was full. She attributed the influx of mental illness and substance abuse to the Iraqi war. Uh, m’kay.

Not a problem. For now, my sciatic nerve is pinched, I can’t find my heating pad, and I need to eat more.

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