But a puppy will make it all better

By Mir
August 15, 2006

I had a mammogram this morning and was told I definitely do not have meningitis. Wait. That’s not right. I mean, I had a mammogram AND I don’t have meningitis, but that’s not what happened.

The mammogram was completely uneventful. This was disappointing. Why, based on my last mammogram, I was expecting at least two blog posts’ worth of material out of this adventure. Damn that tech and her efficient, ordinary ways!

After having my breasts smashed between a couple of plexiglass plates, I stopped and bought myself a chocolate chip muffin, because I figured I (or at least, my boobs) had earned it. That was the highlight of my day, right there. It was still warm. (The muffin. Try to stay with me, here.)

I had two important phone calls to make after returning from my exciting morning. First, I called my gynecologist’s office to let them know that the estrogen gel samples forced on me at my last visit were indeed lovely, and I would appreciate it if they would call in a prescription for me so that I can continue to use the gel. It’s not that I haven’t really enjoyed walking around with a big sticky patch on my ass for the last two years, or anything, but why not get a little wild and crazy and change things up as per my doctor’s suggestion? They agreed to call it in for me.

Next I called my primary care doctor’s office and said “HI I HAVE HAD A HEADACHE AND A FEVER FOR 10 DAYS NOW AND I DO NOT LIKE IT” and they gave me an appointment to come in and see the nurse practitioner. I happen to love the nurse practitioner, which is useful, because my doctor is never actually available. I often see Dr. Backup, but he is male (and young! and cute! which are two highly UNdesirable qualities in a doctor who sees you naked sometimes!), and with the nurse practitioner I tend to feel just plain stupid, as opposed to the stupid AND flustered I often feel with Dr. Backup.

Let’s note for the record that TODAY I actually didn’t feel too bad. I only had a LITTLE headache, today. And no fever! Really, if not for the fact that yesterday I thought I was going to DIE (when? oh, right around the time I realized I had pretty much tried every pain medication I had in the house and MY HEAD STILL HURT), I would’ve skipped this entirely. But it seemed like I should get checked out, just in case.

So the kids and I set out for the doctor’s office, and they brought books and I brought a large sack full of angst, and the nurse practitioner came in and oohed and aahed over the kids (particularly over Monkey’s loose tooth, which is dangling on the gum from an invisible thread) and asked me what was going on. We talked a bit, and then she examined me.

She looked in my ears, nose, and throat. She tapped on my face. She had me move my neck all around, and she felt my neck and told me I’m very tense. (Really? My neck is tense? Was your first clue the way my shoulders delicately nestle inside my ears, or was it something else?) She made me lie down and she felt around on my stomach and legs. Then she told me I could sit up again.

She made some notation on my chart and announced, “Well, you don’t have meningitis.”

“Oh!” I said. “I get it! We’re going to play what I DON’T have! Is it my turn? I don’t have… ummm… leprosy!”

Whaddaya know! I was right, too!

So, um, I have been definitively diagnosed with Not Meningitis. But she has no idea what I DO have. And I managed to deduce this because the next thing she said was:

“But I have no idea what you do have.”

It’s that kind of sureness that makes me trust those in charge of my healthcare.

[Okay, in fairness: About two sentences later, she said that if she “had to guess” she’d go with mono, as she’s seen “a rash of adults” with mono, lately. After she said that? “I have no idea” started sounding pretty good.]

She went on to say that it could be any one of a number of things, and she wanted to take some blood and run some tests, but not to worry, we’d get to the bottom of this. Of course, I had to try to listen to this through the stereo chatter of “They’re going to take your blood? Cool! Can we watch? Does it hurt? Will you get a sticker? How much blood do they take?”

Then she launched into how, in the meantime, we need to break the headache cycle, and we could do that with some strong painkillers. Like Vicodin. Which is great. I’m a fan of Vicodin. But I can’t actually take it during the day when I need to take care of my kids or drive or, I dunno, THINK. I pointed this out, and she said something about how at least I’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep when the pain is bad. Okay, then. Bring on the narcotics. Woo!

I did get my blood taken; it didn’t hurt; and the kids got stickers. I kind of feel like I got a raw deal, but what’re you gonna do? I did get a Daffy Duck band-aid, so there’s that.

At about 5:15 (so, after the doctors’ offices were all closed) the pharmacist called to say that my prescription had been received, but the estrogen gel isn’t covered by my insurance. The patches are, but the gel is not. The kicker? The uninsured price of the gel is HALF that of the patch. But it’s not covered. That’s logical! Hooray for HMOs! (I need to make a call about that in the morning, or maybe I’ll just start using Canadian mail-order for my hormones.)

Tonight I had to go to some PTA thing because apparently I am a committee chair…? Seriously, who’s in charge of this thing, and how did this happen? No thinking person would make me chair of a committee, especially in this town. A group of three PTA higher-ups were clustered around me trying to explain the meeting schedule, and I said something about how I’d have to check with my sitter, and one said “Well your husband can stay home with the kids!” and I said, “Yeah, um, I’m divorced,” and all three of their faces just fell. It was sad, really. You’d think I’d told them that I was delighted to have been made a committee chair, because really nothing has been going well since the leprosy was diagnosed.

I managed to escape by going to pick up a friend’s dog. They are going on vacation and we will be dogsitting all week. This is good, because the dog is sweet and cute and the kids love her. But this is bad, because HELLO, I have been feeling like crap and now I have ANOTHER SMALL CREATURE to take care of. Oh well.

Tonight I was on the phone, reporting my mysterious but definitely not meningitis-ish state, and the dog clambered onto my lap and licked my nasal cavities. I believe she was trying to tell me something. Like that she will make me all better. Or maybe just that my breath smelled like peanut butter. Hard to say.


  1. Susan

    Mmmm, Canadian mail-order hormones. They’re the best.

    We gave Henry Vicodan once, when he was four and had cut the tip of his toe off with an IKEA end table (don’t ask, just don’t). He acted like a drunk college kid, patting my face and saying, “I LUUUUUVE you, Mommy. You’re so PUUUURRRRTY. Can I just PAAAAAT you some more?”

  2. Sheila

    Did you know that just because a drug isn’t on your health plan’s formulary doesn’t mean you can’t get your insurance to cover it anyway?

    All your doctor has to do is submit a preauthorization or some such explaining why the drug that IS on the formulary simply won’t do (tried it and it doesn’t work, etc.) and request the insurance cover the other drug. They usually comply.

    You already knew that, didn’t you? If so, my apologies for the unsolicited advice. But hey, I’m 41 and I just found out this year…because I live under a rock…apparently.

  3. Red

    I love me some legal drugs. That’s the only good thing of going to the hospital to be cut open for something. They gie you great drugs.


  4. Bob

    “She made some notation on my chart and announced, “Well, you don’t have meningitis.”

    “Oh!” I said. “I get it! We’re going to play what I DON’T have! Is it my turn? I don’t have… ummm… leprosy!””

    my diagnosis: smartassitis. I believe that this isn’t the first time you’ve (we’ve) suffered from this condition.

    hope the vicodin helps, or at least entertains. you be trippin’, man.

  5. Juliness

    Oh how I wish you would have actually said the leprosy thing to those “interesting” (read: small-minded) PTA group leaders. You and I definitely should have traded stories because divorce is hard enough without actually being forced to walk around with a big, red “D” on your sweatshirt. Or having somebody think you aren’t as smart or as moral or hell, even as pretty as you used to be. Ok, I’ll stop.

    Feel better lady, ok?

  6. Amy-Go

    I LOVE when the doctor says “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.” That is SO much fun. Especially when they charge you for the visit anyway. Here’s hoping the blood tests show SOMETHING…preferably treatable. ;)

  7. Lesley

    Maaaaaaybe the PTA ladies faces were not falling in dismay or disgust–maybe they were just planning which one of them was going to ask you out first! Because you’re THAT pretty! Congratulations on not having meningitis!

  8. Randi

    I’ll take a wild guess that the bloodwork comes back fine, because that’s how it ALWAYS is…when you feel like you’re dying the bloodwork says your fine, and when you feel fine, the bloodwork says you’ve got Cancer or something. So, I guess, be glad that you’re feeling sick! And be glad it’s not your birthday…TRUST ME.

  9. Aimee

    I think Bob nailed your diagnosis. It’s curable, but exacerbated by the presence of morons, who, sadly, are everywhere.

  10. Sunshine

    oooooh, mono. Been there. Worst is over in two weeks – which means you’re more than halfway there. If you have mono. If you have something else, well, then, I’m of no help to you…hope you feel better soon!

  11. Karen

    I was going to say mono yesterday, but I didn’t want to scare you. Mono is one of those diseases they don’t work too hard on because while you feel like utter and compete crap, it won’t kill you. If it’s mono, this too shall pass, and no matter what you do, or don’t do, you will sloooowly begin to improve. Until one day you’ll feel so good, that you’ll suddenly realize just how sick you had been.

    I will refrain from any comments about it being called the kissing disease. ;)

    If it’s not mono, then um, never mind and I hope it’s something they can cure with a handful of M&M flavored pills.

    Is Vicodin the one that makes you feel like your head is floating 3 feet above your shoulders? The one they gave me after my C-section and I stopped taking it because I wanted to not drop my baby on his head, or at least care if I did.

    Woo! Rock on and sleep well.

  12. Stephanie

    Let me be the first to say, “Happy birthday tomorrow!”

  13. InterstellarLass

    I myself like Hydrocodone. Beautiful man, just beautiful.

    Maybe the puppy just thought you were pretty!

  14. Mom101

    Oh geez Mir, I’m torn between laughing too loudly,and reaching through the computer screen and hugging you too tightly. I would even do my best not to squishy your breasts again in the process.

    Next time have two chocolate chip muffins, one for each boob.

  15. Chewie

    uh…MONO?….the….KISSING disease?

    Who has been having bouts of KISSING?

    small bouts…days of kissing followed by weeks of not…

    but still.

    Mir’s got the KISSING disease!

  16. Katrina Stonoff

    Vicadin and a Daffy Duck band-aid? Sounds like a great doctor visit to me, leprosy and all.

    Besides, once you take the Vicadin? You won’t even care that your flesh is white and falling off.

  17. Gillian

    I am so pleased to learn that we share a birthday because that makes me like a relative. Then I can scold you for not standing up for yourself and shouting “You aren’t giving me a damn Daffy Duck Bandaid! I demand Smurfs or Tweety Bird!”

    And I get to go get a mammogram today too. Man we must belong to a really sucky family!

  18. sumo

    A dog licking your face can be a great pick-me-up, but remember that s/he would just as happily be eating poo.

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