Yesterday I went to the doctor to have a physical. I hadn't given blood in more than a decade, and that was when I was tested for mono and I don't even remember because I was in a delirious mono-inflicted fog and doubt I was fully aware of my own name let alone my surroundings. Wait -- I take it back. I had to give blood before I got my tonsils out at age 20 so they could check my bleed time or something. But anyway. I felt it was time for them to check my blood for various and sundry potential ailments and such.
I was corralled down to the lab and assumed I'd be there all day, so packed to the gills was it. I tried to remain calm even though I was surrounded by about fifty coughing people. I read Life of Pi to pass the time. I still haven't made it past the point where I've always given up before, but I am determined to forge onward. The doctor noticed that I was carrying it and said she read it but isn't sure how she feels about it and wants to know what I think when I'm done. Finally I was called back to the testing area along with ten other people and we were placed in these little stalls not unlike those in a horse barn. No curtains, no doors, nothing. So I'm sitting there with a needle stuck in my arm while 2.5 vials of blood are juiced out of me trying to take deep cleansing yoga breaths and singing "The Rainbow Connection" in my head to keep from passing out while people are bustling by with sloshing cups of urine and it's just a great germtastic commotion in general. Yuck. I got out of there, washed my hands about forty times, and headed to work.
I went to get a haircut in the afternoon, and the hair stylist has also read Life of Pi though he admitted that he's much more of an Us Weekly person than a book person, which I guess means I'm the last person on earth not to have read it yet.
I then went to my old roommate's house for an emergency eyebrow consultation. She tried to wax what I've been trying to grow out, but it wouldn't work. I guess my eyebrow hairs are cemented to their roots or something. She admired me for letting them go so much and conceded that they weren't growing in very evenly. Augh. Then I headed to M.'s for steamed pork gyoza, crunchy rolls, cucumber salad, and American Idol. It was good to visit with her and her daughter who wanted to sit with me and told her mom, "Nanny Youey and I yike to cuddle." (A lot of aunts around here go by "Nanny" -- don't ask me why -- and her mom has called me Louey since childhood, hence my moniker.) (She recently told M. when instructed to pick up her toys, "Mom. Yeave me a-yone.") The things that come out of her two-year-old mouth and the pronunciation of which kill me, they really do, as does her urge to quiz me on the names of all of the Care Bears. When I left, she gave me a hug, patting me on the back, and said, "I yuv you." COME ON. I can't imagine what it would be like to care for a small child on a 24/7/365 basis, but seeing one for a few hours at a time sure does just fill your whole damn life up with goodness and light.
So this afternoon the nurse called to tell me that my sugar and thyroid tests came back normal. Super. So I asked if she could tell me what my cholesterol is (cholesterol level? I don't know the terminology) and she said that one hadn't come back yet; they're still waiting on the CBC, the Chem 12, and the urinalysis. So we hung up. And I did some Googling and deduced that the cholesterol test is not a part of those. And since I'm getting a physical and am curious about my overall state of health, I'd like to know how mine is. So I called her back and she acted like I was the biggest idiot on earth for asking if it's included in those tests and she was like, no. So I asked, quite reasonably I thought, since they're still obviously tooling around with my blood to do the other tests, if it's too late for the doctor to order that the cholesterol test be done, too. You would think I'd asked her if she could check my blood for the presence of little bits of rice krispie treats floating through my veins. She said I would've had to have fasted. I said I did. She said yes, it's too late. So I asked if she could just run it by the doctor just to make sure because I thought since I was having a physical that cholesterol would be tested. I guess I should have specifically requested it, but I just assumed. My favorite part of the conversation was when she asked, as if inquiring why I wanted the cholesterol test, "Do you have cholesterol problems?" I paused for a moment as I composed myself into saying in the most patient voice possible, "Well, how could I know that?" As in, "IF YOU DIDN'T TEST IT, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE?"
I appreciate that nurses work very hard and are faced all day long with very stupid and annoying patient questions, but I just wish they wouldn't sometimes talk down to me as if I am clinically insane or trying to ruin their very lives. The nurse who did the little pre-exam yesterday (different from the one I talked to on the phone today) treated me with such contempt and disdain that I almost left in horror before the doctor even showed up. She asked if I'm on any medications, and I said the pill. She stopped writing and turned to face me, scowling and spitting out, "The birth control pill?" As if "the pill" were not the universal shorthand for oral contraceptives but rather a mystifying phrase spoken in an alien language. Taken aback, I stammered, "Um, yeah." Then I tried to ask her something while she had her stethoscope in her ears, and she regarded me as if I were her most loathed and abhorred enemy of all time. I'm not kidding. I could feel her hatred starting to melt my face. She did not pause to remove the stethoscope to hear me, nor did she ask me to repeat the question once it was removed from her ears. Luckily the doctor was so nice that I forgot the heinosity of that nurse, and the lab nurse was really nice, too, and told me constantly how well I was doing as I remained conscious during the blood suckage. So it's not like every nurse I dealt with was wretched. But like, cut the patients some slack. Don't they realize that when a person gets blood tests done, she is secretly wondering if she is dying of some horrible disease and should maybe be treated with a little peace, love, and understanding? Sheesh.
I guess I'll call back tomorrow and see what the deal is. Everyone in America is shrieking about how tonight is the most exciting night of television in the history of the world, what with the skating, the singing, the dancing, and the surviving, so I'd better assume the couch position.
About this time in ...
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