Monday, April 02, 2012

A Little Knowledge...

... Can be the most dangerous thing!

I have to brag on the clinic I go to. The people there are the absolute best and I can prove it. For one thing, I continually bug the piss out of them and they have remained ever so patient with me!

Example: My doctor called me probably a week ago to let me know there were concerns over my recent lab results. He has me set to go see a nephrologist. Great. A kidney doctor. I get this particular call from my doctor while I am with my sister at her dialysis treatment. I literally felt sick to my stomach. I was shaking while I was on the phone and felt like I was going to cry if I talked much, so I couldn't do more than verbally nod and mentally stutter. I have been afraid of the very idea, though and remote possibility of dialysis for myself ever since my mother and two of my siblings have had to have it.

I am pretty sure that my doctor explained every single thing about those labs and his reasons for wanting me to see a kidney specialist. I can be so sure because my doctor always explains everything to me. The problem is I barely heard what he was saying and what I did hear, I forgot. I do that - forget things. A lot. I remember that I forget things, but...

Anyway. I was pretty freaked out by the news, and I couldn't even think straight. I was trying to imagine how my life will be if I end up on dialysis. Totally over, comes to mind. That sounds shallow and stupid, but I am trying to be honest. The only thing that kept me from crying was that I was in a roomful of dialysis patients. I've gotten to know a lot of these people. I didn't want them to see me bawling. I did what I do when I am feeling my worst: smiled and made small talk.

On the outside, I was one big public smile. Inside, I felt like a human mass of mess.

I traveled in my mind to the outer edges of a place I call Next Door to Freak Out World. I spent most of the weekend sleepless, crying and burning all kinds of nervous energy. My niece hid the coffee and anything else with caffeine. My sister had a full-time job in keeping me from freaking out on a nuclear scale. It was a mess. I was a mess.

Then I get the lab results in the mail - standard practice. These are the same results my doc told me about, no surprise. The clinic always mails out a copy. (Told you they were good.) I guess seeing results in black and white sent me from the outer  edges to the inner Land of Freaking Out. I kept looking at the results and trying to get them to make sense. I sometimes can't get regular words to make sense; these were codes and acronyms and weird numbers. (I'm really, really bad with numbers. Acronyms and initials weird me out because my brain tries to make them into whole words.) Anyway, everything on those pages started blending and blurring and swirling around. They were incomprehensible to me. I hate this fucking disease!!!! I just wanted to be able to understand what I was seeing.

And then...

I got this bright (or stupid) idea to go to the internet.

Did you know that if you type into Google Search the words "CBC labs" that  13,500,000 results will come up? Did you know that I only used one of the results to find out more than I initially wanted to know about my labs?

Good mercy. This internet-world-at-your-hands stuff is scary.

Tell me why I get these bright ideas to research this particular thing on a Friday -  after hours... I immediately wanted to call my doctor, but couldn't - not without sounding like such a panicked, paranoid head case that he'd next be referring to a psychiatrist. I didn't want to say anything to my sister because she was resting up from dealing with my neurotic, sometimes-hypochondriac ass all week.

Damnit.

Turns out I didn't have to tell my sister. Or at least I didn't have to bring it up. She pretty much guessed that something had me back visiting my imaginary friends in Freaking Out. So, I admitted what I'd done. Once I got started telling her, I did what I do when I start talking: kept going on and on until my mind and mouth were pretty much emptied out.

Dumbass.

That's my favorite word to hurl around at those who annoy me. My sister took it from me and beat me over the head with it. After that, she questioned whether I deserved to have access to the internet. Then she insisted that I just write down my questions and call the clinic.

Yeah, like I want to admit to my doctor that I'm a raving idiot who forgot everything he probably had already explained to me. I wasn't going to call. I don't want to be "that" patient. I swore I wouldn't call.

I called. Just a little bit ago. But I was sneaky. Instead of trying to reach my doctor, I decided to speak with his Medical Assistant. The assistant is a sweet young lady. I think she thinks I'm being treated for a mental illness along with my other problem. She might know something I don't. Whatever, I figured she would be the one other than my doc who'd know what was up with the lab tests.

This was a great plan until someone answers the phone. Right off the bat I'm told that the M.A. is on another line - and I'm told this by some lady who says that she can help answer questions about labs better than a medical assistant could. Well, hell. I don't know this lady, but I figure she must know something.

This woman has some good info. It's not like she told me not to worry at all, but she did answer the questions I had. She also told me not to be freaked out. And she didn't seem to think that my questions were silly or unusual. Whew!

Can you spell "relief" without being corny like a commercial? Wow. I guess I need to just chill. The lady explained things in pretty general terms, but I think it was her own sense of calm that helped get me down off the chair where I was stringing up a rope. 

I feel better. Kind of. Actually, I still feel a little bugged out, but I'm trying to stay chill until I have the appointment. 

My advice to anyone who is tempted to use the internet as source of serious medical information: Please don't. It will drive you insane. If you need to know something, call your doctor. You're going to need one anyway if you get hold of just a lit-tle bit of knowledge.

Peace
--Free

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