Saturday, July 17, 2010

Internal Strife

Been stuck on a downer train for the past couple of weeks. It started with a pain in the lower right side of my abdomen. After two days I made an appointment with another doctor who shared my primary physicians office as my own doc was out for the day. She gave me a pelvic examination. She sent me to Beth Israel, a hospital I've dictated previous experiences at here and here. She said she had to rule out appendicitis. She called ahead, I didn't have to wait long to get a bed. I changed into a robe and waited to be seen. The doctor's smugness didn't match the cartoon whales on his tie. He took one look at me and told me I didn't have appendicitis. Yeah, I coulda told him that, but the pain in my right side was there, it was real, and it was right where my appendix was. I asked him if the scan would show another cause, be it ovarian or otherwise and he said it probably would. In the meantime I pissed in my second cup of the day and got an ultrasound on my belly. The doctor told me it pretty boring inside of my uterus. That's the word he used, not "routine" or "normal" but boring. He got gel all over my panties. It could have been prevented. They gave me a pitcher of liquid to drink over the next hour. I drank. I waited. Two hours. The IV in my arm started hurting. They kept it in just in case they needed to take more blood. They didn't. Finally my blood tests came back, my second pregnancy test of the day was negative, everything else looked normal. Time for the CAT scan. I was escorted into a room. The technician was on the phone. I sat and I waited. She finally noticed me after about four minutes. She went to find the radiologist. She couldn't find the radiologist. She tried to call the radiologist, the radiologist didn't answer. She paged the radiologist, the radiologist didn't answer. A line started to form with patients waiting for their CAT scans. Finally another radiologist came down. They told me they were going to put something in my veins that may make my mouth feel warm. It did. It also made my pelvis feel like it was on fire. It passed and I passed through the machine. Back into my bed, an elderly hypochondriac was talking about gout. Her husband was humoring her. The smug doctor was friendly with her. He was ignoring me. She started whimpering. I laid there still in pain. The doctor came back. He told me he didn't have appendicitis. I told him I figured. I asked him if anything else showed up. He said I had two small cysts on my ovaries. I asked him if that's why it hurt. He said maybe. He gave me a prescription for Percocet for my troubles and discharged me.

I called my doctor on the telephone. She said that I should go see a gynecologist. I went to see the one at Beth Israel's Union Square medical building. It was on the second floor. There was a piano in the center of the open space between offices. No one was playing it when I went in. I signed in. Everyone else was pregnant. I waited. The gynecologist saw me. She was friendly until she stuck two fingers up my ass without me expecting it. She said the two cysts were small and normal and probably not the problem. With her hand inside me she pressed on two spots on my abdomen and asked me if they hurt. I said no. She said, "I just had your ovaries in my hand and you didn't have a flicker of pain. I was watching your face, nothing changed." I agreed. I asked her what now. She said, "It could be a hernia, irritable bowel syndrome, a bone fragment, a slipped disc in your back, it could be any number of things." That didn't make me feel better. She said a word I didn't understand and don't remember. I asked her what it meant, she said it meant I was essentially a mystery at this point but I should come back for a sonogram next week. That was all she told me. I waited for the woman at the desk to stop talking about cooking. She was busy convincing her co-workers that she could indeed cook. She was talking about meat. How she rinsed it before cooking it and then doused it in rum so it wouldn't taste fresh. I asked for an appointment next week. She said they were full for the next three weeks and gave me a number to call somewhere else. I walked back out to the mezzanine to make the call. A red-headed woman sat down at the piano, made eye-contact with me and started playing. I couldn't hear well enough to make the call so I walked away. The other doctor didn't have any openings for three weeks and one day. I went back to the office and scheduled my sonogram for August.

I called my doctor. She said I should come in. I'd been in pain for a few weeks and nothing had changed. I told her about the gynecologist. She felt my belly. Said something about my intestines. Told me I needed to see a gastrointestinologist. Maybe they needed to do a colonoscopy. Maybe they needed to do plenty of things, but it was beyond her medical reach. I sighed. I told her I just wanted to know, be it good or bad. I started thinking about everything I did, my posture when I sat, the position in which I slept, everything I ate and drank. All the seemingly harmless things that could be making my phantom condition worse. She asked me if I noticed any situations that seemed to make things worse. Walking, having sex, eating, and going to doctors. She said she thought it might be a hernia. Or a muscle strain. Or an injury from having sex. That's when I felt the pain for the first time, during sex. She gave me another prescription for Percocet, as I was nearly out. My mom was in town visiting. She was in the waiting room waiting for me. I had to rephrase what doctor told me. Didn't want to lay it straight out, that maybe I had hurt myself getting railed too hard by my boyfriend.

I am seeing the gastrointestinologist on Wednesday. I was told to keep my appointment for the sonogram and the follow-up appointment with the gynecologist. I keep telling people I hope it's not irritable bowel syndrome (which it's not, my bowels are working like champs) or a hernia because those two things seem embarrassing.

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