Saturday, May 03, 2008

I'm a T-Rex

I've had it with the medical community. I think I'm going to go live on top of a mountain and heal myself with leeches or something.

Yesterday, I was supposed to have an MRI. This test actually has nothing to do with the myeloma. I've had bad headaches off and on for pretty much my whole life. I've always thought, "They're just headaches. What can I do?" My dad has always had headaches. My grandma always had headaches. It was just my genetic curse, sort of like my infamous motion-sickness problem. I've tried a few things: chiropractors, massage therapy; I even saw a couple of occupational therapists who were convinced my neck and back muscles were all screwed up. Nothing has helped. Since I've had WCK, the headaches haven't gotten any worse, really, but it has been much harder to cope with them while taking care of an infant and then chasing after a toddler. About a month ago, I hit an all-time low as a mother when my head hurt so bad I couldn't fix dinner for WCK. I turned on her favorite cartoon, moved her little table and chair in front of the TV, gave her the most effortless foods I could find (a Lunchable, a fruit cup, and a box of raisins), and then crawled back to the couch.

WCK studied me with concern.

"You have a headache AGAIN?" she said.

I told her I did.

"Then is Daddy going to come home and play with me?" she asked.

Oh, it was so sad. I called my doctor the next day.

Now, this is my regular, lonely, non-oncologist doctor. The one I hardly ever see. She said that everything I'm describing sounds like migraines, and she gave me an AMAZING migraine medication called Imitrex. This is a miracle drug. I take it at the very first sign of a migraine, and I haven't had a headache in a month. My only complaint about it is that it should be spelled "Imatrex", so it would also spell "I'm a T-Rex." I guess I can't have everything.

Anyway, even though my doctor is 99.999999 percent sure these are migraines, she wants me to have an MRI to rule out anything else. (I assume "anything else" = "horrible brain tumor") I had an appointment yesterday at the hospital right by our house at 1:30 p.m. Jay came home to look after WCK, but he had to leave again for an important meeting at 3:30. He was confident I'd be done by then; I was pretty skeptical. If I've learned anything from the medical community in the past few years, it's that most procedures end up having an epic wait time. Still, I decided to go anyway.

I showed up at 1:30. I checked in with the woman at the admitting desk and gave her my name, my appointment time and told her why I was there. She looked at some official-looking computer print-outs and sort of shuffled them around and told me to have a seat. The only seat open was directly in front of her desk. I sat there and waited for someone to call my name.

And waited. And waited. And ...

Around 2 p.m., Front Desk lady gave me a funny look.

"Are you a patient here?" she asked.

"Um," I said, wondering if I was on a hidden-camera show. "Yeah."

"Why didn't you check in?"

"I .... did." Seriously. Where are the cameras?

"With who?" she asked, seeming sincerely confused.

"Um," I said. "With YOU?"

She stared at me. "I don't remember you," she said.

Despite the fact that I had spoken with her and then sat directly in front of her desk for 30 minutes ... SHE DID NOT REMEMBER ME.

I'm not making this up.

I gave her all of my information again, and apparently was checked in for real. I learned later, however, that I was now considered "late", and they'd let other people go in front of me. I had to wait some more, and then fill out a mountain of paperwork, followed by more waiting. By now it was nearly 3 p.m., and I was told I wouldn't be called back for at least another 15 minutes. I called Jay, and we talked over the options, like bringing WCK to his work meeting. Um. Yeah. That wasn't going to work. I had to leave before having the MRI.

I got a call about an hour later from a cranky scheduling woman, who tried to lay the blame on me. I tried to explain the Twilight Zone Receptionist, but really, I couldn't. I got another appointment for today, which I have to leave for in about two minutes. I'll let you know how it goes. If I even get in.

That's not the end of my medical, woes, though. Stay tuned for Part II: M-spike drama.

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