Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dr. Holly Hobbie and the Oxymorons

This is an email to a friend.  It's still making me laugh today, so I'm posting it here.  Just keep in mind that I am an alcoholic with an alcoholic sense of humor.  Read it as tongue-in-cheek or with a grain of salt.  Which ever one you prefer.  Without further ado...


I don't imagine you've heard about my latest adventures (we need to get you on facebook - that's how I interact with the world lol).  Last Thursday evening I started running a fever.  Stayed home from work on Friday because fever kept hovering at 102F.  Saturday still feverish but realized my right shin had been getting progressively more painful as the weekend went on.  By Sunday afternoon (because, really, who DOESN'T wait until Sunday to seek medical advice) I called the nurse-line and told them my symptoms and how my leg was now red all the way around, HOT to the touch, and there was a lump on it.  I asked if I could just ignore it and it would go away.  She insisted that that plan hadn't been working out so well for me and that I better come in.  NOW.  No, not "some time Monday", no, not "later today", NOW, and get someone to watch the kids and drive me there.  NOW.

Apparently she didn't realize WHO she was talking to.  Don't boss this alcoholic around.  But...wiser heads prevailed (since I rather enjoy having TWO legs and didn't want to have a stroke or something) I made arrangements to go in.  SIX hours later, the had done an ultrasound of my entire leg (lucky skinny wenches with no meat on their legs!  that hurt!) and determined that it was not a blood clot (phew).  Then the question became "What the hell is it?"  Always a fun game to play at the Urgent Care (an oxymoron if ever I heard one), on a Sunday, with their C-Squad (which is worse than the junior varsity players that usually pose as doctors on Saturdays) staff in attendance.  After a nurse tried and failed to get an IV going on me FOUR times, I told her if she didn't go find another nurse, I would run the IV myself and then announce it LOUDLY in the hall that I would help her other patients too (and yes...I apologized for it later, but used my passive/aggressive, Catholic guilt-tripping skills to make sure SHE was apologizing to me way more than I was apologizing to her).  Getting answers from Holly Hobbie (aka Dr. Sarah - which, I'm pretty sure if you don't use your last name, you aren't actually a MD - not that P.A.'s aren't good, but I think this one was playing dress-up in mommy's scrubs) was like pulling teeth.  Blood counts were good, so at least it was a localized infection.  IV antibiotics, and oh yeah, we're going to keep the IV in your arm for the next 3 days so we don't have to stick you again, so come back tomorrow afternoon (and no, don't make an appointment because we'll need you in urgent care again, but it will be busy, so be prepared to wait about 90 minutes which will be fine since you can't have your IV until 3 pm anyway), and then come back the next day too, K?  Great.  Oh wait, what?  You want to know the diagnosis for why your leg is on fire?  Umm...we're going to go with cellulitis (means skin infection, but I'd advise you NOT to google it.  You just can't un-see some of those photos).  Gee...thanks for the definitive answer there,Doctor Barbie.

Oh, the ridiculousness of it all.

So, today, I went there again (feeling a little self-righteous and martyr-like after suffering through the tragedies of the previous day) and sat my 60 minutes in the waiting area (I think they should have vibrating chairs in there.  It would at least make the wait "fun".  Then again, they'd have to be throw-away chairs cause NO one want to be the 2nd person in the chair.  Ok, scratch the vibrating chair idea), got into the room and was pleasantly surprised by my favorite practitioner!  I have her the Cliff-Notes version of the dog and pony show from yesterday and she just shook her head.  I told her I need to be well for Gopher State.  She told me I need to stay off my leg for the rest of the week,come in for IV antibiotics again tomorrow, and follow up with oral meds for a week.  I told her that if I lose my job I would move myself and my children into her home.  She said I could come to work if I can lay on a couch with my leg up.  Done.  Thank goodness for those alcoholic rationalization and justification skills!  Just when I thought I had the upper-hand, she reminded me that breaking the rules would only hurt ME and I should, perhaps, follow directions.  I reminded her that as an alcoholic, I am a MASTER in taking the poison and waiting for someone else to die.  She asked me when I slept last.  I told her I slept in 10 minute increments last night.  10 minutes was all I could get before I'd either bump my leg, or roll over on my IV.  She told me that the severe pain I'm in makes it difficult to sleep and she would give me vicodin.  I reminded her I'm a drunk with a fondness for opiates.  She said, "Ok.  I can work with that.  I'll give  you ONE, and when you come back tomorrow, if everything is ok, you can decide if ONE more will help or not."  ONE?  She's no fun at all.  ;-)

I have to stop now so I can get home and get my leg up.  If you made it this far in my email I offer you the following sentiments:
1) congratulations! - you can follow the insane ramblings of a drunk in pain (but with a helluva sense of humor about it)
2) condolences - you have undoubtedly had a few brain aneurisms trying to follow this
3) love and admiration - 'cause I know you've made it this far.  You're a stubborn alcoholic like me - you're not going to let some tangent-strewn email get the best of you!