And I don’t watch ER, either

November 2, 2006

Edit: Update below. In a nutshell: not dying.

So, tomorrow? I’m going to the doctor. After having been hounded to within an inch of my life by the Husband, who is sick – sick, he tells you – of my bitching about still feeling achy and unwell nearly a month after actually being ill and run aground by the TurboBaby, I finally sucked it up and made an appointment.

Not exactly newsworthy, I know. But here’s the thing: I hate going to the doctor. HATE. IT. I can never quite explain what’s wrong with me and always end up sounding vague and confused and when they ask me questions about my general health and how I take care myself I usually end up fudging the truth so as not to sound like a total screw-up (yes, yes, three square meals a day, lots of liquids, plenty of exercise). I worry about not having the right answers (have I been nauseaus, or dizzy? Have I had an earache, or a sore throat that reaches back into the ears? Have I had a dry cough or a hacking cough? Has this been going on for two weeks, or three?) and not giving the right information (did I forget to mention the headaches? the ringing in the ears? the lingering feeling of dread?) I sit in the waiting room or on the examination table consumed with anxiety and guilt, veering emotionally back and forth between the conviction that I am dying from some rare and fatal illness and the conviction that there is nothing at all wrong with me and I am wasting everyone’s time. And I fret and worry and worry and fret about what will happen to me if I am sick (will there be needles? Will I die? Will there be needles?)

(Which, gah. Don’t even get me started on my fear – my toe-curling, gut-twisting fear – of blood tests and gynecological exams. Pregnancy, I needn’t tell you, was torture with its never-ending cycle of both.)

It’s too much pressure, the doctor’s visit. I can’t handle it.

So I avoid it, wherever possible. But I’ve been suffering from headaches and insomnia and occasional nauseau and earaches and general tiredness and malaise for nearly a month now, and it’s getting old. It’s getting old, and it’s getting in the way of life. I’m tired, and frustrated with being tired.

It may be that I’ve made myself sick simply by languishing in this autumnal funk. But then again, it may be that this autumnal funk has been made worse by ill health. In any case, I need to find out, if only to reassure the Husband that I am not perversely clinging to illness in order to make his life more difficult. So I’m going, tomorrow. I may lay awake all night tonight, fretting about rare tropical diseases and needles, but I will get up in the morning and keep my appointment.

You’ll be holding my hand in spirit, right?

To the best of our knowledge, Asian Bird Flu has not infected the local population of the Great Yellow-Tufted Budgerigar (a feathered, flightless creature, native to central Canada, easily identified by its high-pitched hoot and distinctive waddle).


UPDATE: SO, I am told by doctor that I have, in all likelihood, a post-viral infection, brought on and perpetuated by being consistently run aground by the Great Yellow Budgerigar, which, although flightless, is a fast-moving and demanding creature. Translation: I had a bad virus, and have been unable to recover because there has been no time or physical resources to facilitate recovery, and my body has, accordingly, rebelled.

That, or I’m dying, and the doctor couldn’t tell just by shining a light up my nose and in my ears.

And, hey! No needles. Yet.

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    Bobita November 2, 2006 at 10:37 pm

    I share your hatred of doctor exams (especially exams of the nether regions)…extending heart-felt mental hand for you to hold….

    Suzanne November 2, 2006 at 10:44 pm

    When I’m sick, I put off going to the doctor as long as possible, even if that means I hack up an entire lung before making an appointment. I tend to develop symptoms that result in something that resembles an “oh, you’re fine, it’s all in your head” diagnosis.

    Good luck with your appointment!

    Christina November 2, 2006 at 10:46 pm

    You can imagine me there with you, holding your hand and talking with you about feminism, blogtards, or anything else to get your mind off of the present.

    With a general feeling of ickiness for that long, they probably will take blood to test for anemia and thyroid problems, so I guess prepare for it.

    (I know, you don’t want to think about it. Sorry, I’m so used to having blood work done, and now I’m learning how to do it in class, that it doesn’t bother me anymore.)

    But hopefully this visit to the doctor will be worth it, and you’ll be back to full strength to keep up with WB soon.

    metro mama November 2, 2006 at 10:52 pm

    Make sure he hooks you up!

    Good luck tomorrow.

    Mrs. Chicky November 2, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    I’ll be there in spirit, holding your hand, because I too hate doctors. And needles. And sickness as well as being sick. They scare me.

    Just wanted you to know you weren’t alone. Good luck!

    jen November 2, 2006 at 11:04 pm

    ah, mad…if i was closer i’d go w/ you and bring a batch of bloody marys with us.

    that is simply the duckiest.

    lara November 2, 2006 at 11:07 pm

    i’m soooo with you on this one. i work myself up so much about going to the doctor’s that i end up in tears with anxiety. my first ever gyno visit – i ended up in tears *during* the actual exam, that’s how scared i was. so i will definitely be there, spiritually holding your hand (but don’t squeeze too hard – my hand is still weak from the IV i had to have a couple weeks ago… blech).

    wordgirl November 2, 2006 at 11:13 pm

    That little birdy you have is simply “PRESHUS”!! I’ll be holding your hand in spirit.

    K November 2, 2006 at 11:25 pm

    I loathe the dr as well. Hope you’re okay.

    And will you be live blogging it? :)

    Blog Antagonist November 2, 2006 at 11:31 pm

    We must be separated at birth. I loathe going to the doctor. You don’t even want to know how long its been since I saw the ob/gyn. I’ve been sick too, but am finally beginning to feel human again.

    A couple years ago I was feeling yukky for a long time. I convinced myself I had cancer, as I often do when anything is slightly out of whack. I finally went to the doctor. They did a full work-up and I just knew I was a dead woman walking.

    I did not have cancer. They pulled my gall bladder, (the ongoing nausea) gave me some Nexxium (those chest pains ended up being a nasty case of acid reflux) and I felt a LOT better.

    Good luck and feel better. I’ll be white knuckling with you in spirit.

    PunditMom November 2, 2006 at 11:37 pm

    Holding your hand and patting your back in spirit. Hang in there, HBM. We’re with you.

    MotherBumper November 2, 2006 at 11:38 pm

    Of course I’ll be there, holding your hand.

    And that part about fudging the truth about self-care and vagueness – that is sooo me too.

    crazymumma November 2, 2006 at 11:40 pm

    First of all…how good does she look. Dear gawd, enough to make a woman want to have another baby. Squish!

    I am medically phobic as well, I think bad enough that my Doctor dreads the yearly with me. I take an ativan,(want one?). Rescue Remedy does not cut it. So yes, I am Gripping your hands, but you are going to be fine. Cause you are a big strong intelligent brave lady blogger…..

    As to your symptoms…HELLO….first year of baby = hell on earth for Mummy and her health. It too shall pass.

    But I am glad you are going to the doctor….

    nomotherearth November 2, 2006 at 11:52 pm

    I actually don’t loathe going to the doctor, but I hear you about sounding like an idiot when I do. I rarely going (believing, instead, that the sickness will magically “go away”) simply because I don’t want to sound like some lunatic hypochondriac who goes to the doctor just to get attention. You know the type? And, I think that most doctors end up saying something vague like “you must reduce the stress in your life”. Yeah, right. Sure! I’ll get right on that.

    Oh no, I’m not helping am I?

    As to the needle thing, I have to be the strong one because the Husband hates them. Try singing the Pina Colada song – it helps. Not much can go wrong with Rupert Holmes by your side, huh?

    Kristen November 2, 2006 at 11:52 pm

    Oh dear, I hope you find out what’s going on. Take care.

    John took pictures of 10-month-old twins last weekend with that exact same chick costume – it’s adorable!

    nomotherearth November 2, 2006 at 11:54 pm

    Or was that, Jimmy Buffet?? I never can remember.

    Anyways, hope you feel better soon.

    Cute costume, btw!

    julia November 3, 2006 at 12:25 am

    NOT Jimmy Buffett. Rupert Holmes.

    Anyway. If you have to get blood drawn, ask them to do your arms with Emla or ElaMax. Both are numbing creams. My daughter gets this whenever she has to have a blood draw and she can’t feel a thing. You have to put it on 45 minutes before hand, though, so ask when you walk in the door. I’ve heard that Anbusol or any baby teething stuff will help, too.

    I had blood drawn the other day. She MASHED the needle around in my vein. Blood draws don’t normally bother me too much, but that one had me writhing. So, yeah. I’ll be thinking of you and hoping nothing has to invade you in any way, shape or form.

    The Budgie is too cute.

    urban-urchin November 3, 2006 at 12:52 am

    That’s one cute little bird.

    I despise needles and have to have blood drawn regularly- it’s my own little tiny hell.

    Good luck!

    Lady M November 3, 2006 at 5:15 am

    Good for you for going to the doctor! It’s always a drag to change routine for something you’re not exactly thrilled to do, but at least you’ll know a little more afterwards (hopefully).

    Cutest Wonderbird ever!

    chichimama November 3, 2006 at 8:41 am

    Good luck! Hope it goes smoothly, they find out what is wrong and it is an easy fix.

    Wonder baby is just.too.cute.

    mamatulip November 3, 2006 at 8:48 am

    Good luck at the doctor, HBM. I hope you’re feeling better soon…this has been going on too long for you.

    That picture of Wonderbaby is hysterical. I LOVE it.

    I’m holding your hand in spirit.

    kfk November 3, 2006 at 9:16 am

    Well except for the earaches, I have the same symptoms you describe plus a probable sinus infection. So let me know your diagnosis and then I can say I went to the doctor too! Although, I do have a standing appointment with my gyno next week and I am planning on dumping all my symptoms on her plate. We shall see if we are both dying from the same disease.

    Jo November 3, 2006 at 10:04 am

    I hate the doctor, too. And, between my kids and I we have spent way too much time in hospital and at doctor’s offices. Hope you feel better, Catherine. When I have to get a needle I close my eyes and mentally picture my gremlins doing something funny. It helps.

    reddragonsangel November 3, 2006 at 10:11 am

    Love wonderbaby/birdie- too cute! You explained your symptoms quite eloquently in one short paragraph- but I understand, I too feel like I am either dying and have a new disease, that has yet to be discovered, or I am just a hypochondriac and need more depression meds- to make matters worse, sometimes you get a doc that thinks you are a joke and has no bedside manner- and either tells you that you are full of it – or makes jokes about your symptoms- (sigh) I feel your pain and pray that if there are needles that you get a good phlebotomist- one that gets the vein the 1st time and you don’t feel a thing-and that you feel better soon- you are in my thoughts- p.s can I add a link to you on my blog?

    Jezer November 3, 2006 at 10:21 am

    Yes, holding your hand and reassuring you that it will be OK! I have some of your same symptoms, and I’ve made an appointment for myself to go in a couple of weeks–not to a conventional Dr., though, but to a doctor of naturopathy. No needles, only herbs and diet changes and tincture of bat’s feet and frog’s tongue. Kidding. Kind of.

    Good luck and hang tough. WonderBaby’s Mama has got to be in top form and deserves to feel good.

    kittenpie November 3, 2006 at 10:32 am

    OMG she’s cute.

    yes, I fully sympathize. I always feel a bit inept and embarrassed about foing to the doctor because I think I’m sick, and usually I’ve waited too long and am getting better and she can’t tell what’s wrong with me anymore, besides the obvious boneheadedness.

    I’m suffering something of a paranoia and quandry about going right now too. Not sure if I’m really having alarming symptoms or are just suffering from hypochondria.

    I think the enforced exams and needles in the preggy months have actually made me handle it better ebcause I couldn’t get around them, so I just learned to breathe deeply, demand the butterfly needle and the best tech, request a gentle touch, and breathe deeply again until it was over. Turns out the anticipation is usually the worst of it, except during blood tests where the ineptitude is the worst.

    Her Bad Mother November 3, 2006 at 10:42 am

    WonderBird, LOL.

    Exiled to Canada November 3, 2006 at 10:59 am

    We’ve all been sick for about a month. The wife is on antibiotics for sinus infection and little man still has a hacking cough. While you may hate having to go to the Dr., you do NOT want to go through what I did yesterday. I spent 8 HOURS in the ER writhing in pain from chest spasms and having many tests done (including two with needles and I HATE needles). At the end of it all, the nice ER Doc said “Well, the good news is you don’t have a pulmonary embolism but the bad news is you have severe pneumonia.” So go to the Dr. and avoid that scenario! Now if you’ll excuse me I have to slip into a percocet induced haze…..

    Susanne November 3, 2006 at 11:02 am

    I would have been holding your hand, only I’m too late by now. But here is important advice: Before going to the doctor make a list of your symptoms. In writing. Take it with you. Also, make a list of your questions. And then ask them. Even if they sound stupid by the time you see the doctor. Everybody’s stupid there. If you were not, you’d be a doctor yourself (or are you?)

    And then, and this is important: you don’t have to know everything. If you don’t know, say I don’t know. You might get a mildly annoyed look, but so what.

    (“And when did you hurt your ankle?” “Ahem, I don’t know, in spring maybe? Or last fall?”)

    Binkytown November 3, 2006 at 11:04 am

    I feel guilty for wasting their time too- even though they charge, what, about $200 to come in and tell me it’s just a virus? Why should I should feel bad about that? I’m holding your hand and unpacking my goody bag I keep stocked for just these kinds of occasions. Some goldfish crackers, juice, books, hot wheels, etc. To take your mind off of it.

    Oh, The Joys November 3, 2006 at 11:21 am

    Love that big, fluffy tummy!

    Michele November 3, 2006 at 11:29 am

    i too avoid the dr like, well the plague. And I probably even thought I had the plague and STILL avoided the dr.

    But on my few resigned visits, it has always been something far less fatal than I conjured up.

    Bird lovers everywhere are rejoicing at this rare and beautiful sighting.

    cinnamon gurl November 3, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    What a great costume! I just love the big fluffy belly…

    And on the health front: I swear by a B-50 vitamin. It has all the B vitamins, mostly at 50 mg I think but they’re all in the right proportions to do good chain reaction things. They help clear out stress hormones, and they helped me get rid of nausea that lasted months when I was not pregnant, and did great things for anxiety and dread too.

    And a massage is always good for headaches too. Yay massages!

    I’ve found doctors not very helpful for me in the past. So I did a lot of research about more naturopathic healing methods… But it always good to start at the doctor’s. Good luck and I hope you feel better soon! (And I hope the unsolicited advice doesn’t annoy you… I did it with the best of intentions.)

    Momish November 3, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    That has got to be one of the cutest costumes (and babies!) I have seen to date! Love it!

    As for the doctor? I am right there with you. I always feel like I just can’t win with them. Either I sound like a hypocondriac (sp?) and they pfft me off like I am insane when it turns out to nothing serious. Or, if something is wrong, then they lecture me on not taking care of myself. So, I just give up and put them off as much as possible. I’d rather be lectured then considered insane. Good luck. Virtual hand holding coming your way!

    Andrea November 3, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    I’m holding your hand. Also, sometimes it helps me to write it down and just hand the doctor my little post it of symptoms so I don’t forget anything. Maybe a little overboard, but I get nervous when those questions are peppered at me and my brain is firing a little slow with sickness to begin with.

    Good luck!

    Dana November 3, 2006 at 12:55 pm

    Oh Catherine! -hugs- I feel the same way about going to the doctor, however my reasoning is so irrational and somewhat stupid.

    My doctor is a family practice doctor which means he sees me for everything, including pap/pelvic exams.

    I often see him at church, at the store, at community events and I just can’t speak…knowing he’s seen my hooha and all.

    So then when I do have to see him I feel like the most rude witch for not being more friendly in public.

    See? Totally nuts. I am nuts!

    penelopeto November 3, 2006 at 12:59 pm

    i’m sorry – is my hand clammy? i’m not squeezing too tight, am i? you can do it.

    if it makes you feel any better, i was at the doc’s just this morning. pap, blood test, WEIGHT – the whole shebang.

    and i hate hate hate the dentist, but like someone wise tells me, put your big girl panties on, and do what you gotta do.

    plus, that’s one freakin cute little great yellow-tufted budgerigar you’ve got there.

    Crankmama November 3, 2006 at 1:21 pm

    Bring the bird with you… Nope, don’t. That would be a bad idea.

    I hope all is well.. or if it isn’t … could be easily cured with antibiotics.

    the weirdgirl November 3, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    Just in case no one has said this (no, I haven’t read all the comments and I hope this gets to you in time) ask for a thyroid test just in case. For a long time I would have month-long bouts of “yuckiness” that the doctors said was “nothing but stress”. Turns out it WAS stress… stress-induced hyperthyroidism. It’s a simple blood test and many women have thyroid issues that they never catch.

    Oh, and if they find nothing wrong and you still feel yucky try seeing an actual endocrinologist for your thyroid test.

    Lucy November 3, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    I know how you feel. My husband says that I’m a hypocondriac, but I’m fed up with feeling blah and there being no reason for it. A visit to an endocrinologist, however, as recommended by ‘weirdgirl’ is a great idea. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism after my second child. I still feel like I need a lot more synthroid than they are giving me, but, heh, it’s a move in the right direction – feeling alive again!
    Keep your heart up, you’re in good company. Most young moms know how you feel.
    By the way, your little one is so cute in the ‘chickie’ costume. Her beauty and cuteness is proof that you’re doing a good job.
    Take care of yourself,

    Her Bad Mother November 3, 2006 at 3:12 pm

    Hypothyroidism. Hmm. Are endocrinologists just listed in the Yellow Pages, or should I ask my regular doctor?

    Cuz I’m not convinced that there’s NOT something wrong with me.

    Amy Jo November 3, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    Well, I’m happy that you avoided the dreaded needle. For some reason, I don’t mind when they take blood, but I freak out when getting a shot. Rest up, ok?

    Michele November 3, 2006 at 3:33 pm

    Tell your doctor you want a full thryroid panel done. Then if they find anything really off, go to the Endocrinologist. Thyroid stuff is very common and very easy to treat but can really make you feel like a depressed, wrung out rag if not addressed. And pregnancy can really whack the thyroid. During and after. Or in the case, “peck” the thyroid.

    PeetsMom November 3, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    Good for you for going. Notice, I did not say FINALLY going! As a fellow needle-doctor-phobe, I can absolutely relate to how hard it is to actually get the body to pick up the keys, get to the car and actually DRIVE the body to the appointment. All the while the head is playing “I don’t want to go I don’t want to go I don’t want to go.”

    Yes, intellectually we GET IT. It should be taken care of…yada yada yada, but emotionally??? Yikes. There might be NEEDLES involved in recovery. Shiver. Shake. Cringe. Shake AGAIN.

    Hang in there.

    ewe are here November 3, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    It’s sooo hard to kick bugs when we’ve got little ones to look after. I hope you find some time to recover. Hang in there…

    Damselfly November 3, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    I know how you feel about going to the doctor. Around here, they love to ask, “How would you rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10?” and because I’m not a numbers person, I never know what to tell them, which just gets them all annoyed with me.

    Hope you feel better!

    Laural Dawn November 3, 2006 at 6:55 pm

    Maybe it’s your doctor???
    I had doctor dread until I found my current doctor – and I LOVE her. Like, I like her so much and talk so much that she always makes me book extra long appointments so that we can sort everything out (she talked me through PPD – so she’s used to me, my tears, etc).
    But, yes, get a second opinion because it could be something they didn’t take the time to diagnose. Like, something minor but solveable. Or go to a naturopath for the vials of liquid that seem to solve problems.
    Or sleep.
    Sleep helps too!!
    Good luck.

    crazymumma November 3, 2006 at 7:16 pm

    so, what is the recommendation? A week at St.Annes Spa, no child, no husband, no work, just facials and high speed internet? If so, can I come?

    Lisa b November 3, 2006 at 8:47 pm

    I was going to cheer that nothing was wrong (more than new-mom fatigue) but now I see you are on to hyperthroidism….
    oh dear.
    I didn’t feel better until my child was a year old and had been sleeping regularly so I’m with anne – a week at the spa seems like the perfect cure.

    Her Bad Mother November 3, 2006 at 8:59 pm

    Hmm… spa cure. Maybe there should be a mama bloggers spa retreat… like BlogHer, except with massages and pedicures.

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