Paging Dr. House

Posted: August 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: California, Daddio, Doctors, Friends and Strangers, My Body, My Temple, Scary Stuff | 5 Comments »

Should I start with the good news or the bad news? Okay, since I can’t hear you very well, I guess I’ll pick.

So, the good news is: All my blood tests have come back negative.

The bad news is: I have no idea what the hell is wrong with me.

If you haven’t been riveted by this story and following along from home, here’s the sweetened condensed version: I came down with some mystery illness after our East Coast vacation. It started with numbness, then achyness, then I threw in some jarring joint pain, just to keep things lively. I’ve had MRIs (and drugs for MRIs), been poked, prodded, and questioned, and had enough blood taken for a gang of vampires to binge for days.

Somewhere along the line my dad emailed me a guess at what I had—to keep those two-bit docs on their toes. Lyme Disease, he said.

I was giddy. Like, all hand clappy excited. Convinced my lawyer father outwitted the doctors. And they did agree that Dad had something there. (I had forgotten to tell them I got a weird bite in Rhode Island.) But then the Lyme test came back negative.

Which was when my first freak-out about WTF I do have ensued.

Thankfully, my dad isn’t the only un-qualified yahoo out there who’s been willing to float a diagnosis my way. Well-meaning friends have wondered (aloud) if what I’m experiencing is a by-product of bottled up anger, an energy blockage, or everyone’s favorite malady du jour—gluten intolerance.

Now, you might say that I’m asking for this, living in California as I do. But what I want to tell those people is, “Yes! You are right. I do have pent up rage. I do have energy log jams. But those things aren’t why I feel like I do. I have them because I feel like I do and no one knows why.”

As for gluten intolerance? Puh-leez. Gluten is my friend, people. In fact, I’m going to go and eat a big gooey glob of gluten right now and process it like a champion. Gluten is my wheat grass, California.

And while everyone else has a theory on what’s plaguing me, my doctors remain utterly baffled. Having a case they can’t crack  seems bad for business, like unsolved murders in the police department. So in a valiant effort to move down the path to some resolution, my doc started me on antibiotics—the Lyme Disease treatment—even though that test came back neg-o.

They say there can be false-negatives in the early stage of infection. It’s like I filled out one answer on the SAT in the wrong column then got everything totally wrong by accident. So I’ll take the test again in two weeks, with the happy hopes it’ll come back positive. “Lyme Disease! Yay!” Then the doctors can finally get back to their golf games, and I can assure my veins they’ll no longer be tapped for blood like a tree for maple sap.

But until all that happens, my work husband has enthusiastically claimed dibs on performing my eulogy. I have no doubt it’ll be fabulous. He assures me he can “fake cry with the best of ‘em,” which I find wonderfully supportive. He’s gone so far as to make recommendations on good dates for me to expire. His mom passed on 9/9/99, so he fancies himself an expert in this area. I’m lucky to have style-conscious friends with a flair for event planning who are stepping up at this time.

And, as long as I keep laughing I convince myself that when they do figure out what this weird numb, tingly, achy, joint painy so-you-can’t-sleep thing is, it’ll be something itty bitty and easy to eradicate.

But I’ve gotta say, the longer this lingers and leaves the docs scratching their heads, the intermittent moments when I do worry become more and more mittent. If ya know what I mean.

In the meantime I’ve managed to make my father sick from all this. It’s the craziest thing. The man is some supremely empathetic illness conductor. Like, when Paigey was a baby and was lizard-like with eczema, my 80-year-old dad who’d never had so much as a rash was suddenly covered with the stuff himself. A year later, Paige’s walking delays required x-rays of her hips. Then Dad called to report his hip was giving out, and he’d need a new one. And now? Just yesterday I call home and what do I hear? Dad is on antibiotics—for Lyme Disease.

It’s madness! The man is nothing short of a copy cat. I mean, when my father says he feels your pain, he’s serious.

When I was at BlogHer I experienced the bliss of bad hotel TV. I watched crappy shows I never normally watch, on a huge TV at the foot of my bed. Alone. It was a simple but profound indulgence. And I saw that show House, about the ornery-but-lovable doctor who’s the Sherlock Holmes of sickness. Every patient who comes to his hospital seems to be near death with bizarre symptoms that Dr. House eventually, handily diagnoses—and cures. Like, the girl who was becoming paralyzed from the legs up? In a creeping, oh-no-it’s-stopped-her-lungs-now fashion? She eventually gets discharged and heads off to school the next day.

Oh, it’s good stuff.

As I rubbed my numb feet together under the starchy hotel sheets I considered climbing into the TV and sitting myself down in House’s office, hopeful that he was in-network. But who knew how long the wait would be without an appointment. And I was tired anyway. So instead I rolled over and snapped off the lamp, put my faith back into my real-world docs, and drifted off to sleep.


5 Comments on “Paging Dr. House”

  1. 1 Kathykate said at 11:03 am on August 18th, 2011:

    found you via Vanita! Another unsolicited wahoo: good for your doc for the lyme meds. take them, take them all, and take them for a least a month. The alternative is just too fucked up for commenting.

    Been there, done that. All good now.

  2. 2 Current Work Husband said at 12:13 pm on August 18th, 2011:

    As the current work husband/gay du jour I am happy to take up the mantel of eulogizer for our dear blogger. But, I feel she is such a strong writer that my ramblings would pale in comparison. I therefore offer my services to recite a pre-written eulogy produced by the decedent on a date I have chosen, that is super easy to remember.

  3. 3 Amy, Using Our Words said at 10:03 pm on August 18th, 2011:

    Ok, I know you don’t feel well, but your writing is still wonderful. And as a writer, I’d say that’s a win. Well, worth something at least. Here’s to hoping the antibiotics make all the difference. I’m sure Current Work Husband would rock the room, but let’s not find out just yet.

  4. 4 kristen said at 10:07 pm on August 18th, 2011:

    Aw, thanks, Amy! I actually think the drugs are kicking in. Yay!

  5. 5 Amy W said at 4:53 am on August 19th, 2011:

    I know you’re going to think I’m a crazy version of your Dad the copy cat, but I too have been sick & the docs can’t seem to get a handle on what exactly is wrong. I’ve had an MRI of my brain & c-spine. Finally I’ve found a doctor that is determined to get to the bottom of it, as I’ve been in constant pain & it only gets worse over time.
    I hope that you get better & that the meds work. I very much understand the frustration & fear of knowing that something is wrong & not having a diagnosis. I am usually pretty good with medical issues, but I have no arm chair doc diagnosis for you. Sorry. However, I’m certain there will be no eulogy for you yet, but that’s a really thoughtful offer.

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