Sunday, December 5, 2010

Can I Be Twenty Again? Where's My Time Machine?

I can't seem to resign myself to the fact that every time I go to the doctor, it is either an event, or the scheduling of an event.

I had major surgery back in April of this year and although I thought this was going to resolve my issues by removal of the supposedly offending organs, I find myself yet again at the beginning of yet another round of testing and possibly exploratory surgery to see why my body is once more failing me and why the surgery didn't solve my problems.

Why do I feel like I'm 80 years old most days?

I don't want this to seem like a whine fest, but sometimes I feel like God kind of spit on me twice - mentally and physically.  I can't seem to get the mental part under control because I am constantly being assaulted with yet another medical procedure which is intended (I am SURE) to cause the maximum emotional distress.

There is a psychological test that they give to chronic pain patients to determine their readiness for future medical procedures and one of the statements for which you have to choose an answer is "When I am uncertain about what the doctors are going to do to me, I get extremely anxious."  At least, I'm pretty sure that's how it read...if that isn't it, it's close.  Every time I would read that question to a potential surgery candidate, I would cringe, thinking of how every test I seem to have now involves something nasty or invasive.  What is it about being over the age of 45 that means if you are going to have a medical test, you either have to fast for three days and then drink something so nasty it will probably come right back up (assuming you can choke it down in the massive quantities they are requiring you to ingest) or them wanting to look up your rectum with a very long hose?

I made the unfortunate mistake of allowing my boredom after surgery in April to propel me back to work after three and a half weeks.  In retrospect, that was a huge mistake, considering they decided they no longer needed my services in October.  I probably should have saved myself the ensuing medical nightmare.  Three and a half weeks to recover from major surgery is Just. Not. Enough.

I now find myself, almost eight months after my surgery, experiencing symptoms I won't describe here, but which are of concern enough to my doctor to order testing.  Can I put some creepy music to that word?  If the testing fails to show anything, the next step would be exploratory surgery (cue the music again).  What the hell?  I thought I was done with this.  I am running out of organs for them to remove, which should mean  that I am done with the whole testing and surgery thing.  Apparently, the body being the complicated thing that it is, you can never give over too many organs to be completely done.

I find myself frustrated, annoyed, in pain, and worst of all, extremely anxious.  My CT scan is scheduled for this Thursday and I had to pick up the "prep" from the diagnostic center last week.  Last week, this Thursday seemed an eternity away, but I find with each passing day that Thursday looks like it's going to actually arrive and I am going to have to down the contents of that large bottle sitting in my refrigerator after all.  All of a sudden, three weeks from now has arrived and I'll admit it.  I'm scared.  Not of the test.  Of drinking that foul crap in my refrigerator and what it will do to my already sore and most likely scarred insides.

The doctor tells me that the CT scan will likely show nothing (which is a good thing, right?) and that, when that happens, he would next send me to a surgeon for possible "exploratory surgery."  Oh. My. God.  Again?  Seriously God?

Speaking of God, if he's up there, I have to believe he has a serious sense of humor.  My particular genetic makeup has spawned bipolar disorder, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and a host of other seemingly unrelated symptoms that probably point to some sort of autoimmune disorder or vitamin deficiency (Justin is leaning heavily toward vitamin deficiency since my agoraphobia has become of epic porportions since losing my job in October.  I keep telling him, "Look what happens when you actually leave the house!"  I like it here, where it's nice and safe and I don't have to worry about what people think of me.

When I found out that CT scan "with contrast" meant drinking 450 ml of white, chalky crap starting two hours before the test, I went into full panic mode and my mind immediately started attempting to get out of it.  I know what drinking that stuff means - I've had a HIDA scan people and this is the same thing!  The more rational people in my life managed to convince me that the CT is actually a good idea and they would help me get through it. After annoying my doctor with a totally off the wall theory that maybe my medications are causing my symptoms and him telling me he could prescribe herbal tea if I liked, but that wasn't going to change the need for the testing, I finally agreed to down contents of the dreaded bottle on Thursday and have Justin drive me over to have the test done.

Again, it's not the test itself that scares me.  It's what I have to do to prepare for the test.  If anyone even suggests the word colonoscopy, I am so out of there.  I won't be 50 for another four years and then we can talk.

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