sunday @ urgent care

I self-diagnose.
this is not unusual for me.
me being me.
if i have a pain, or a twitch, or an unusual symptom i google it, and then i self-diagnose.

i am not a doctor but i play one on google.

i have been in excruciating pain for about seven, eight days.
i have googled myself into a frickin’ spin.
i have a pain that runs from my (right) shoulder to my elbow from my elbow to my hand. at first i thought nothing of it. a twinge. but days passed and the pain persisted and i wasn’t sleeping, which by the way, was so deeply, deeply depressing because of how faithful i am to my beloved ambien… but i digress… i went for acupuncture, which kinda helped. not fully. but kinda. sorta. after two sessions, my acupuncturist put this gooey, smelly patch on my shoulder and said that it was going to pull out all the toxins. i was to leave it on for 48 hours and then remove it and then apply, rub in, vegetable oil to the area.

okie dokie.

the patch, the toxins, the vegetable oil.
did not help.
not one bit.

i am not sleeping.
i am cranky.
i am irritable.
i am cursing ambien.
i am alternating hot & cold.
i am tossing & turning.
i am fed up.

this morning i tell ken i want to go to urgent care ASAP. he tells me that there’s a football game on, and asks: how about going tomorrow. i tell him i have an idea: how about he toss me a football, i’ll fall down and then he can take me to urgent care and we both win. a win-win. he says no-no. i tell him that our marriage may not survive this. he doesn’t take the threat seriously. i leave in a huff and drive myself to urgent care.

i get to urgent care and there is not a soul in the emergency room. not a soul. just me. my immediate thought is hmmm maybe not a good urgent care place. i give the receptionist my photo ID and my health insurance and explain to her that possibly i have bursitis, or maybe tendinitis, or possibly possibly the beginning of a heart attack or a clogged artery, or two. she nods as she types in my information into the computer, the bubble over her head reads: wow, this broad is fucking cuckoo.

i am taken into an examining room. the nurse is obese. seriously obese. she weighs maybe 450 pounds, and looks like she’s about to keel over. i feel like i’m in a stephen king novel. she takes my blood pressure and pulse. i am perfect, she says. just perfect. i tell her that i’m not perfect. that perfection is overrated. how can i be perfect i say when i’m clearly unwell. she looks me straight in the eye and says, “no, you are perfect. perfect blood pressure, perfect pulse. perfect.” the bubble over my head reads: “wow, where do they find these nurses, i’m having a possible heart attack and…” just then the doctor walks in. a jovial well dressed guy who can’t seem to bend his arm. he asks me what the problem is. i tell him that i’m in excruciating pain, my right shoulder and right elbow, and he looks me right in the eye and laughs, and says, “i’m in the same exact pain. shoulder, elbow, hand. been in pain for a month. i don’t know what it is.”

really, i say, i’m not encouraged. you’re in the same pain i am and you’re the doctor…
yeah, he says, i am.
i’m the doctor.

how about we take some x-rays. he says.
how about i get to see a new doctor who can diagnose me and make me feel so much better. the bubble over my head reads.
okay. i say.

i go into the x-ray room. a lovely technician with a happy face takes a few x-rays and asks me to wait while she ‘takes a looksie’ before giving them to the doctor. the doctor who has the same exact pain as me.

as i sit there, waiting, i hear her say out loud: OH MY GOD.

and in that moment, in my mind, i went from having bursitis to having terminal cancer, i went from life to death, i went from ken is such a selfish, selfish human being to wishing he were with me holding me making me feel better. i went from wanting a caesar salad, to longing for a chopped liver sandwich which made me think about my mother and then i thought, sure, sure, sure i’m this close thisclose to death of course i’m thinking of my mother, of course. chopped liver and my mother, and then i thought chopped liver… what am i chopped liver? and then i thought huh… what am i chopped liver?

in 30 seconds flat i went from bursitis, to oh my god i’m dying, to a stand-up comedy act in the catskills.

the happy face technician comes in the room. she looks at me, i look at her. she says: i’m so sorry we have to retake the x-ray, i screwed up. they were all blurry.

you mean i don’t have cancer of the elbow? i ask.
no, she says, no. how silly.

i tell her that i’m a little concerned because the doctor has the same thing i have, and he doesn’t seem to know what it is. so, i ask her what she thinks.

after a few moments of great thought, she says: “have you googled it?”

square fucking one.

Category: Uncategorized 10 comments »

10 Responses to “sunday @ urgent care”

  1. Jacqui Brown

    You are fucking hysterical girl!

  2. Maya North

    When my husband was having his coronary bypass, they assigned him a doctor especially for the occasion. This doctor works for our HMO. After a few times watching this man work I approached him and said “If I get down on my knees and beg, will take me for your patient? You’re one of the first doctors I’ve ever met that I thought wouldn’t get me killed if I was unconscious!” As insulting as this is to other doctors, I am *not* comforted to discover that I know more about medicine than many of the doctors I’ve met. Mind you, I’ve studied medicine for fun on my own since aged 10 and while there’s no substitute for experience, 47 years of diligence makes Maya a fairly knowledgeable woman. However, for this knowledge to be useful, I have to bloody well be CONSCIOUS! Thus it is that the woman with the shoulder pain and Google probably knows more than one might think.

    P.S. It is unlikely to be bursitis. A bursa is a small sac in the joint, the purpose of which is to cushion your joints. When you have bursitis, this sac swells up and hurts quite fiercely, but generally is localized. It does not usually run down your arm. The real danger is when a bursa becomes infected, but usually ice and a pain patch made with capsacin is incredibly effective.

    There are a number of possibilities for this pain, one of which would send me to a chiropractor to take a look at my neck, as well as a trip to my own doctor…


  3. DebraDeAngelo

    You and I are so much alike… elbow cancer! 😀

    Did you try the megadoses of natural Vitamin E? It takes about a month of taking it regularly to notice a difference. You need at least 1,000 units for it to work. (I took 1,200 units daily… must be natural, not synthetic, however! Very important!)

  4. Vickie Stahl

    I do wish you a diagnosis but I must say, my heart races a bit and I get a shot of mindful energy whenever I read one of your justified rants. Somebody find this woman a flicking competent doctor because we need Amy Ferris heathy! Didn’t George Clooney once play a doctor? Worth a shot…

  5. Michael Ann

    Sounds like a pinched nerve…

  6. Judy N

    This was hilarious! But, hey, I get the same thing, and it’s a combination of tennis elbow and carpal tunnel. Physical therapy, especially sonograms–I think they’re sonograms–really help.

  7. Sharon Dellorco

    I sincerely hope you get a diagnosis so you can concentrate on the treatment process and start healing. I live with chronic pain – it’s not easy.

    My heart goes out to you.

    My prayers always,
    Xoxo S.

  8. Debbie

    OMG you CRACK ME UP! Hilarious post Amy … still laughing.

  9. Valentin Haith

    Exercises to restrengthen the wrist and hand muscles can be of benefit and help alleviate the problem and pain associated with it. These can be achieved the use of a tension ball that allows the hand to squeeze and release, providing a non impact exercise that is quite effective. This unawareness often lends itself to sleeping positions that cause the spine to remain in an unnaturally curved position for too long. Here’s a hint: if you ever wake up in the morning feeling “stiff”, this is a sign that you may be sleeping poorly and not even realize it.,

    Take a look at the most recent blog post on our blog site

  10. Eldon Wetzel

    There are fluid filled sacs located throughout the body in areas of friction. These friction areas are generally between bone or tendon and skin. The fluid filled sacs are called bursae together and one is called a bursa. Approximately 160 bursae are located throughout the body and they secrete a fluid that provides lubrication to these body parts. When one of these bursae is injured either through consistent activity or from a direct trauma then bursitis results. There are two types of bursitis which may be a result of an infection of the synovial fluid or from too much movement. This is obviously painful and bursitis sufferers are always in search of pain relief.’

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