Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Some Things I Learned Today

You're never too old to learn something new. At least I can hope "never" is part of the lesson. At the very least, I haven't reached that too-old stage yet.

I learned I was wrong. When I set up an appointment with an allergist, since I haven't seen one in years and wanted to find out what's going on, whether my symptoms are well controlled by the meds or have maybe diminished, I was told to take a break of 10 days from my meds before coming in. Oh-oh! I imagined all the different ways I could be miserable from cutting that safety line. It turned out I barely could tell the difference, except for two fewer pills to take.

I learned that there are all sorts of stupid questions that can be asked on one of those give-us-your-medical-background booklets they send out before you set foot in the office. Just one example: marital status. Is it U, M, S, D, W....? Oh wait a sec: back it up. What the heck is the "U" for? Nobody knew. Hey, maybe "Undecided"? How about "Unappreciative-of-the-stupid-form"?

Another example: What color is the stuff draining down the back of your throat? Hey, I'll let you know as soon as I grow an eyeball back there, presuming I don't choke on it. Those eyeballs take up a lot of space, you know, and if I could grow another one, don't you think I would have found a way to avoid my recent cataract surgery? Pull out the spare, pop it in where the blinded one used to be. Voila!

I learned that when one omits plugging in the Kindle overnight before an appointment, it's sure to flash "low battery" within 5 seconds of turning it on, freezing up the screen until you get it home and recharged. I guarantee it.

I learned that the way to make the PA giggle while we were going over all the stuff she needed to ask me before the allergist showed up was to describe what my skin reaction to the EKG leads' adhesive looked like. She will never get that visual of the aftereffects of having sex with an octopus out of her head. She's probably still giggling.

I learned a whole lot about what they think is important that I haven't even thought about for years now. The dermatographic uticaria hasn't shown a hint of itself for years. But it's the very first thing they had to test for because it would make a major difference in however else they tested me, and how they could read the results. I also learned it still wasn't about to come out and play today either.

I learned my allergist seemed disappointed that nothing in the 30+ needle pokes in my back -not my arm because there were too many - showed any reaction to the allergens they'd just embedded under my skin. I also learned which parts of my back were really really sensitive to those pokes. For the record, top center, first three rows down. Rest, not so bad.

I learned that my beta blockers kept my allergist from performing the next test she wanted to do. No, I forgot what exactly it was, just that it could possibly garner a severe reaction, the kind where somebody yells, "Epi Pen! Stat!" But the beta blockers would slow down the ability of the pen to work, and, even near as we were to the hospital, bye-bye me. Not exactly optimal.

I also learned she was determined enough to find my current allergies that she sent me over to a lab for a blood draw, along with a two page double-column list of stuff to test for. If my blood has a severe reaction, being out of my body, it won't kill me.

I learned the lab she sent me to moved, but didn't find that out until after I tracked the building down, found parking which was not available in any close position, and hiked inside and upstairs only to see an empty suite. Luckily, the sheet giving directions listed a phone number, and it only took another 20 minutes to locate the new building. It had no close parking either, perhaps because the waiting room was already full of folks who weren't reading from their Kindles either.

I learned how good the lab phlebotomist was at not only locating a usable vein despite my scar tissue from years of blood donations and draws, but that it actually can be done with my not feeling it whatsoever! That was a first. Usually even the best leave you with a little sense of being touched. I also learned that it takes 8 full tubes of blood to be able to complete that whole list of tests. It was OK, though. I haven't had a significant blood loss since last May with my knee replacement, so I was well stocked.

I learned it's possible to head out the door for an allergy evaluation at 10:00 AM and not arrive home until 3:00 PM. Admittedly, there was a very brief stop at WalMart for a couple things, but after my day so far, I managed to totally space the dog food which is why I went there in the first place!

Finally, I learned that I don't want to learn quite so many things tomorrow.

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