Friday, July 14, 2006

Itchy and Scratchy, the Sequel

I tried to make a doctor's appointment this morning. Hey! Have
you heard? They can't make appointments for the same day you
call. You have to plan ahead when you are going to be sick or
rashy, and schedule your appointment accordingly. The woman
told me, "I can take your number and have someone call you if
we can work you in." This was at 8:40 a.m. I told her that would
not work for me, as I was going to a funeral and could not have
my phone ring. She seemed truly sorry, but no appointment. I
asked if I could come in and wait. "Sure. Go to the second
window, and we'll see if we have anything."

So I met my buddy Mabel at the funeral home to pay our respects
for one of our teaching buddies, whose mother had passed away
earlier this week. We had been there about an hour when Mabel
kindly informed me that my rash was getting worse. I knew it was
itching more, but couldn't see my own neck, which is where the
most severe rash lies. In fact, it had all run together into one big
red neck. How appropriate.

Even though I'd been planning to stay for the funeral, I cut the
visit short and headed for the doctor. Don't worry about Mabel.
She had adequate companionship.

I went to the doctor's second window, as instructed. People
stared at me, like I didn't know the proper protocol. The woman
behind the window stopped hacking away at her computer, and
said, "Oh, my. I'll see what we have." She told a pleasant little
story about having a reaction to Cymbalta, and breaking out in
a rash. Then one of the nurses who is always entertaining chimed
in as said she, too, had a reaction to Cymbalta. Isn't that a mood
altering drug? Like an antidepressant or something? Why are
these people not happy working for my doctor? Anyhoo...we
chatted about the good times for a few minutes. Then the window
lady asked me if I could see Julie, the nurse practitioner, at 11:15.
It was then 10:00. I said, "Sure. What else am I going to do,
looking like this? I'll wait." She told me I could go back to the
first window to sign in, and she would warn them she had worked
me in. So I did.

At 10:15, they called me back. I knew better than to get excited.
It's usually another hour wait in the exam room. I had brought a
Readers' Digest. Because I have a thirst for knowledge. I yearn
for it. (If anyone can remember what that line is from, I'll post a
picture of myself in a dress. If I can find one). A nurse whose
body must have tolerated Cymbalta, as she was not rashy, took
my vitals. Temperature 98. Blood pressure 120/75. I was relieved
to learn that I was not dying from some mysterious blood infection.
Because I think I would have had a fever if I was. I gave the nurse
the details of my Cefprozil dosage for the sinus infection.

Around 10:30, the nurse practitioner poked her head in the door.
I had never met this one before. She must be new. She looked like
Dr. Susan Lewis on ER, only shorter, and with more than one
facial expression. She inquired, "Stella?" Hmm...I don't know who
Stella was, but I hope she brought a Readers' Digest. "Noooo...
I'm Hillbilly Mom, with the rash." Julie the NP peered at me though
her granny glasses, and said, "Ohh!" C'mon, people. It's not like I
had a football-sized goiter on the side of my neck like Elaine's old
woman on Seinfeld. The one who dated Mohandas Ghandi. The
Mahatma. I just have a bright red neck. And forearms. And
shoulders and back, but I try not to flaunt them to the public. Julie
took the white-coated woman she was towing and left, saying she'd
be back in a few minutes. Ha ha. Like I was going to believe that.

Several stories later, in the midst of Life in These United States,
Julie poked her head back in. "Uhh...we have three people ahead
of you. Your appointment isn't actually until 11:15." Which in
doctor-speak means: 'You'll be lucky to see me by 12:00'. I know
the drill. "That's OK. I didn't really have an appointment. They
worked me in." Julie said she'd be back as soon as she could.
The white-coated stranger remained mute.

I read some more stories, some Humor in Uniform, and scratched
a little bitty bit. Julie returned around 11:30. And the mysterious
white-coated woman. I wish they would at least introduce these
people. Generally, they will tell you if it's a med student, or some-
body in training. She was about as old as me. Yet she didn't need
a walker! Go figure! Anyhoo...Julie was very thorough in going
over the chart, and asking me questions, and looking at the rash
in various places. She said she felt sure it was the Cefzil, which
is what Cefprozil really is, and offered me a shot of Benedryl or
steroid. Hey! Julie! I'm not a doctor, even though I watch them
on ER. Don't be giving ME the choice, like it's a shot of liquor.
Because in that case, I'd say, "Give me one of each." IF I was
a drinking woman, which I'm not. Now.

I asked which was better, and Julie said it didn't make much
difference. I told her I had a 30-minute drive home, so she said
I'd better not have the Benadryl, which could make me sleepy.
You ain't a-woofin', Julie girl. I had it with my Ampicillin reaction,
and the last thing I remember, I sat down in the car and my head
clunked against the window. Don't worry. I wasn't driving that
day. Julie took one more look at my rashy arms, and was a bit
puzzled because one of the blotches had taken the shape of a
line. She said she was going to run it by one of the docs, and
towed white-coat out of there.

After running a few laps around the building, arm-wrestling the
other nurse-practitioner, and having a game of dominoes with
the doc over a Meat Lover's Pizza, Julie and white-coat came
back. Julie had decided on a shot of whatchamacallit, which I
assume was steroidal in nature. She said a nurse was getting it
ready. Just then, a woman hollered from down the hall, "Do we
mix anything with that?" I must have said my "EEEEEEE!" out
loud, because Julie said, "Oh, she means do we add a painkiller."
She then hollered back, "NO. It's just the shot." She made a
note on the chart about CEFZIL ALLERGY and said she
hoped I got to feeling better, and that they'd keep me about
10 minutes after the shot to see if I had a reaction to it. Then
she and white-coat left to find bigger fish to fry.

The nurse came in with my shot and laid the syringe down on
the counter. She also had a companion. I don't know why. Think
of how on-schedule these people could be if they EACH worked
on a patient instead of going in pairs. The nurse looked a bit iffy.
I've seen her there before. She's looks like she's right out of
nursing school, and right out of the most rusty trailer in the mobile
home park, but hey, looks can be deceiving. She said, "It has to
go in your butt." Gosh. My day just got better and better. I asked
her what I would feel like if I had a reaction to the shot. And she
said, "I don't know. Maybe you'll break out in red bumps." Hey,
if I want a laugh I'll watch Last Comic Standing. I asked if it would
hurt, and she said, "I don't know. It's a shot." Duh! She jabbed the
needle in my butt, which did not hurt, but when she pushed that
stuff in, it did. Her companion said, "Well, now I know this burns
when it goes in." Glad to be of service. The shooter put a bandaid
on my butt, and then washed her hands. Bet you're relieved to
hear that part. She told me I could go. I told her they wanted me
to wait 10 minutes to see if I had a reaction to the shot. This was
news to her, but she said OK, and then left and closed the door.

Guess it's a good thing I didn't have a reaction, because nobody
would have known until they needed that room after lunch time.
I read some more, and noticed it had been 20 minutes and nobody
had come to get me. So I opened the door and saw the original
nurse who took my vitals. At least she seemed embarrassed.
"Oh, it's been way longer than 10 minutes. Do you feel OK?"
Yep, let me outta here. I told her I hadn't paid the copay yet,
so she took me up front. The two ladies working at that window
said I didn't have to pay, because the computer showed I had
a credit. That was news to me. A salesman had his whole torso
through the window, and said, "I'll take her credit." I told him
the rash went with it, so he declined.

From there, I headed down the elevator with the Pizza Hut
delivery girl. She said the elevator was taking a long time. I
told her that I'd been there over two hours, and I didn't think
a few more minutes would make a difference. She said she
had another load to bring up, and was in a hurry. I KNEW
they were eating pizza instead of 'consulting'! That little delivery
gal was so pleasant I almost gave her a tip. She didn't even
stare at my red neck.

I don't think the shot has helped me, but it hasn't hurt. I am still
itchy and rashy, but it isn't getting worse. As long as I know it
was due to the medicine, and it will go away in a few days, I'm
OK with the itching. I just didn't want to have something deadly
flare up over the weekend.


Blogger Redneck Diva said...

Something usually does flare up over the weekend, so I'm proud of you for being proactive and nippin' it in the bud. That achey ear on the kids always turns into a 104 fever and vomiting on Saturday night. Or the kid who you thought had a itty bitty bladder infection on Friday afternoon turns out to be the kid with the distended spot on her intestine come Saturday night. Good times, good times.

So did anyone offer a reason why the antibiotic took so long to proclaim its dislike for you?

Still sending non-itchy thoughts your way!

9:47 PM  
Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

I hope you are feeling better HBM...thinking of you

6:11 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Hi Hillbilly Mom,
I hope you don't pass it on to others in the Big Blogger house, last thing we want is to itchy scratchy people fighting it out.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

Nope, they had no explanation. Though when I looked into it, the med said to be sure and tell your doc if you'd had a reaction to penicillin. Which I did, JUST BEFORE he wrote that prescription. I guess he figured I'd tolerated it before, so he'd keep trying it. Bad decision.

Thanks. It's still about the same, but the giant hive on my neck has gone from red to pink, and doesn't itch as bad.

That would be quite a battle. I'll try not to touch anybody. I am still sorry I gave Lantern the Not-Type A Influenza.

9:33 PM  
Blogger aka_monty said...

See, I KNEW I should have gone to medical school.
I would have opened a clinic for walk ins only, and no tag-teaming.

I hope your rash is clearing up even now!!

10:02 PM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

I, too, wish you had gone to medical school. Then I would have TWO bloggers giving me free medical advice.

Here's an idea for you: go to dental school, and have night time office hours. You will get a lot of business from people who can't miss work.

7:45 PM  

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