Friday, October 11, 2019

The One in Which I'm Tired to the Max

Cartoon Black Woman Sleeping At WorkI'm not so great at going to the doctor. Although I'm better at making doctor appointments than I am at dentist appointments. Then again, that's not really saying much.


I had been feeling really ridiculously fatigued for some time when I finally broke down and made an appointment.

"What are you seeing the doctor for?"

"Um, I want to see the doctor because I'm tired. I mean, like really tired. I'm afraid I'm going to fall asleep at school and the kids will videotape me and put it on Youtube, and I'll become a meme known the world over. Then it'll be, 'You know that sleeping teacher meme? Yeah, that's me.'"

"So you want to see the doctor because you're (pause) tired?"

"Not just tired. Tired to the max."

Yes, I felt like an idiot making an appointment because I was tired. I mean, hello? I'm a single mom; of course I'm tired. And this was back in May so all the students in the land were officially done with school despite the fact there were 3 more weeks left. This means they were acting like this:


I mean, the good ones were acting like that. The others were acting like this:


So it was perfectly normal that I was tired. I mean, I'd worry more about any teacher who wasn't burned out and tired in May. Because clearly, any teacher who isn't exhausted in May has access to the good drugs.

So I went to the doctor with my perfectly inane legitimate complaint of I'm tired. The doctor was too busy to see a patient who was "tired" so I saw the PA. I have issues with anemia so I asked her to please do some bloodwork to see if that was the cause of my fatigue. She did that as well as some tests to check my thyroid 

When my results came back, she told me that I was a little vitamin B12 deficient.

"But I already take B12 and iron because of the aforementioned anemia."

I swear I saw the PA throw up her hands and shrug her shoulders through the phone. "Well, you also tested positive for some thyroid antibodies."

"Okay? What does that mean?"

"I'm not sure. I'm referring you to an endocrinologist."

It took a couple months to get in to the endocrinologist. I paid my $45 and met with another PA.

"Your primary care doctor referred you to us?"



"Um, I guess I have some thyroid antibodies."

"Yes, but your thyroid function is normal," she stated, puzzled.

I shrugged because, well, I'm not the one with the MD. "I just don't want to be so tired anymore."

"Well, the antibodies are indicative of an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. It can cause thyroid problems. Your thyroid is fine right now though. You definitely need to have it rechecked every year because it could develop in the future especially with your family history of thyroid disease and autoimmune diseases. But it isn't the cause of your fatigue now."

"Okay. Well, just so I don't feel like that $45 was a waste, could you maybe hook up an IV with a caffeine drip for me so I can stay awake all day?"

Apparently not.

In August, I went back to my regular doctor, or well the PA that is, for my annual physical. 

"I'm still excessively tired, and now everything hurts too. My ankles, my knees, my hips, my hands, my left elbow, these fingers . . ."

The PA ordered some autoimmune tests. I tested positive (which sounds like a good thing, but isn't) for many of the antibodies, prompting the PA to refer me to a rheumatologist.

It took a couple more months to get in with the rheumatologist during which time, my hips have become so painful, I can hardly walk some days. I can't handle walking up stairs. I haven't had an uninterrupted night's sleep in 2 months and not just because my neighbors like to let their dogs bark all night, but because the pain awakens me every time I turn over. So I paid my $45 and saw yet another PA.

The nurse tells me to strip down to my undergarments, put on a "gown" (which, let's face it, is basically like when you were a kid and you cut a slit down the middle of a brown paper grocery bag to make a "vest" so you could be an "Indian" when you had your little classroom Thanksgiving celebration where you invited the classroom next door who dressed like Pilgrims.) So I stripped, donned my paper vest, and hopped up on the table. I'm using the word "hopped" here, but honestly, I grunted as I tried to maneuver onto the table because MY HIPS HURT SO MUCH.

It took almost 20 minutes before the PA came in. I nodded off twice. The second time my head bobbed, I looked down and saw a dryer sheet stuck to my underwear, which is always classy. Worried that the PA would finally walk in right as I was peeling the April fresh scented sheet off my unmentionables, I quickly grabbed it and looked around for a garbage can. No garbage can. What kind of doctor's office doesn't have a garbage can? I surmised it was probably in a cabinet, but I wasn't getting down to find out because A. MY HIPS HURT and B. It would be thoroughly awkward to be tip-toeing around the office, dryer sheet in hand, while opening cabinets in search of a trash can when she walked in. So I stuffed it in my purse.

The PA came in and asked me 101 questions. How long have your joints hurt? Are they swollen? Do you get any rashes? Do you have ulcers in your mouth? Are your eyes dry? Do your fingers turn white in the cold? What was the name of your first pet? What is the name of the street where you grew up? Coke or Pepsi?

In the end, they're treating me as if I have lupus even though she was hesitant to actually diagnose me with lupus at this point. They're running more tests. I'm starting some medications that will hopefully decrease my pain and fatigue. Oh and I have some pretty bad bursitis in both hips. Since I can't take anti-inflammatory medication because I'm on blood thinners for my antiphospholipid syndrome, I'll be getting shots in my hips next week. Although I don't relish getting a needle that's roughly the size of a flag pole stuck in my hip joints, I'm in so much pain that I say bring it on! Plus, it won't be nearly as bad as someone giving me a shot IN MY MOUTH! So there's that.

You would think I'd be upset that I may have another incurable autoimmune disease, but honestly, I had convinced myself that my diagnosis was going to be - You're crazy; it's all in your head. Oh, and you're old and fat. So knowing that something real is going on and there's medication to help combat it is actually a relief.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Meet my Neighbors

My kids and I have been living in this little apartment for the past couple years. I don't really know any of my neighbors, but I've picked up a few nuggets about them nonetheless. For example, I know the people who live next to us like to sing songs. In Spanish. Very poorly. Really loudly (seriously, I was able to use Shazam through the walls to learn the name of the song. It was Calma. Catchy tune.) 

I know that the people who live above us are from Jamaica and when they have their door propped open, yummy cooking smells waft down to us. My kids and I have also surmised what their favorite pastimes are. In fact, we've compiled a list of the top ten favorite activities of our upstairs neighbors.

10. Bowling


9. Jumping rope


8.  Irish clog dancing with a few of their closest friends


7.  Leap frog


6. Sack races


5. Auditioning for Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk.


4. Shot put


3. A little home maintenance

2. Parkour


1. Reenacting Miley Cyrus's Wrecking Ball on Hippity Hops.

And meanwhile, I want so badly to do this:


But my broom broke and the handle is only about 2 feet long now. And I'm afraid if I complain, they'll add loud music to their repertoire so I'll stick to complaining about the herd of water buffalo that live above me on my blog instead.

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