That's Me

That's Me

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gag Me

So I went to the doctor because I got super sick super fast. My immune system thinks there are big, bad scary mobsters constantly invading it, so when there really is something naughty in my body, it gets completely whacked out. A simple 7-day cold is not so simple for me and I get an unfortunate case of month-long bronchitis that threatens my ability to inhale life-maintaining...air.


My immune system on a happy day: "OMG! There's a towel touching us. KILL it before it kills us! Quick, all forces attack! A fever! We need a fever! And a rash! A rash and a fever, now!"

My immune system on a sad day: "HOLY CRAP!! It's a virus that we've never encountered before! We don't know what to do now. Ignore the virus! Just kill Eddi!!"

That's a simple run down for you in non-medical terms.

I once waited too long to go in and get treated for what I knew was strep throat. I have always been a frequent strep throat getter, so I know the second I have it. In my head, pushing myself harder to get school work done and not taking the time to go to the doctor made more sense than taking the time to go to the doctor and rest, and then get better quicker so that I could study and go to school.

Learned my lesson, didn't I? (No.) But I got a nasty complication from waiting too long and it took 6 months to clear up...and now I have to go to the doctor the second I have a sore throat so that I can be tested for strep and be treated immediately. Waiting even 24 hours can lead to a repeat complication--because you get it once, you are at very high risk for getting it again and it being worse every time--and I really don't have time to die.

So I call my doctor's clinic. No openings for that day and since it's in my record "If Eddi calls saying she has a sore throat, do whatever you have to do to get her butt in here so she doesn't die" or something like that, the receptionist got me an appointment at their sister office in another town. Off I went to the sister clinic.

Sick Eddi.

First I had to go through all the usual questions with the medical assistant. She left. I waited.

The nurse practitioner walked in and proceeded to ask me the same exact questions. All of them. While reading the answers the MA had entered, checking to see if I gave the same answer. Then she would enter my answer next to the first answer, using her little hunt and peck typing method. This took forever.

I was not pleased. I already went through this. Just test me and send me on my way. 

When that was over, she said the name of my doctor and asked, "Is that your primary physician?" 

I thought, No. I just have that on my chart for kicks. 

"Is it just me or are you this
amazingly stupid with all
your patients today?"
I said, "Yes."

Her: "Is that who you normally see?"

Nope. That is totally not the meaning of primary. "...Yes."

Nurse Practitioner: "He's at the other clinic." 

Me: "Yes, he is." 

Annoying Nurse Practitioner: "Then why didn't you go there?"

'Cause you seemed like a fun one to come visit instead. 

Me: "They were booked up for the day. Since I had to be seen immediately, they sent me here." 

Nurse Practitioner: "I'm not understanding why you're here anyway."
"I don't even want to talk
to you anymore. Can I speak
to someone who knows what
they're doing?"

Me: "Excuse me?"

Her: "You haven't even been sick for 24 hours."

Me: "I need a strep culture as soon as I suspect I may have it because I have to be treated immediately, preferably within 24 hours of getting sick."

Her: "But you've had the sore throat less than 24 hours." 

Me: blink...blink

Her: "Why would you come in here when you haven't been sick for longer than 24 hours?"

I went through it again, reminding her of the note I showed her just a few minutes before from my doctor. The one that said I need to be cultured within 24 hours of the symptoms beginning.

Her: "Have you been around anyone that was sick?"

Me: "I'm a nursing student so I'm exposed to a lot."

Her: "So...friends," as she entered into my chart.

Yup, that's it. Nursing students are notorious for spending a lot of time with friends. 

She looked in my ears and nose, and listened to my lungs. Then just stood there looking at me. I became uncomfortable. I looked around the room. I adjusted my face mask. I coughed. I scratched my neck.

After more than a few seconds, she washed her hands and went back to her computer, saying, "Just as  I suspected. It's an upper respiratory infection."

So you have unnatural powers? You can test for strep with your mind? "Will you be doing the throat culture or is the nurse going to come in and do that?"

The NP turned around with a shocked look on her face and said, "Oh. Did you want a strep culture?"

Nope. I just made the appointment, got out of my death bed, drove half an hour with a fever, donned this beautiful mask, and tolerated your wonderful care, just to tell you that I'm supposed to get one. I'll be leaving now. 

"Yes, please."

Her: "But you have a cough."

Me: "Yes, I do."

Her: "I've never seen strep with a cough."

Me: "I always get a cough with strep. Sore throats are irritating."

For your reading pleasure, here is how I recapped to hubby my coversation with this woman:

My favorite line, regarding me having a cough with strep and the line we now use at home about anything: "I'm not saying it's impossible but...[dramatic pause] it really is not possible."

After all that, she asked yet again if I'd ever had strep before. 

He doesn't know me.

I got my throat culture and she did a thorough job, that's for sure. I am completely convinced that she gagged me for longer than was absolutely necessary. Her "sorry, honey" did nothing to make up for any of the torture she put me through that day. 

To top it off she said she was going to give me an inhaler for my cough. I asked her if it would keep me up at night or if I'd be able to sleep. 

She looked at me with a very "duh" look and said, "I can't tell you if your cough will keep you up." 

Me: "No, not my cough. The inhaler." 

Her: "It's albuterol."

Me: "Yes, it is. Will it make me jittery and keep me up or will I be able to sleep? I didn't sleep last night at all from my sore throat so I'd like to be able to sleep." 

Her: "Again [voice of someone summoning all their patience while reasoning with a 3 year old] I can't tell you if your cough will be that bad tonight." 

Me: "I'm asking about side effects of a steroid. I've had steroids before and they make me hyper." 

Her: "No. That's not a side effect of this at all or of any steroid. Steroids don't make a person hyper. If you can't sleep, it's because of the cough and I can't do anything about that." 

Me: "Actually, you can prescribe cough medicine that will help me sleep." 

Her: "How do you know about that?" 

Me: sigh 

Someone really should have told this woman that just because you want to be something when you grow up doesn't mean you'll actually be good at it. 

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