Monthly Archives: April 2015

Working Overtime

I lay on the exam table ready for my gynecological exam.  The doctor stood next to me and began feeling around my throat. Wrong body part doctor, I thought.

“Did you know you have a lump here?” he asked, gently palpating the base of my throat.

“No,” I said.

“You need to have it checked out right away.”

“Well, I just started my summer term. Can it wait six weeks?”

“OK, six weeks and no longer.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. At 20 years old, I still hadn’t outgrown the invulnerable phase. By the time I dressed, I had already pushed it out of my mind. And then as I passed his open office door I heard him already on the phone discussing my case with the surgeon. Wow, I thought, he’s really worried.

I was admitted to the hospital on a Thursday afternoon, the day before the term ended. I had been allowed to do my open-book psychology final in the hospital. I sat cross-legged on the bed and did my test. My then husband would drop off the test in the morning after I was taken to surgery.

After the surgery, I came to and remember reaching out my hand for help. My husband was sitting there and spoke to me.

“It’s all over. You’re in your room now.”

I returned to oblivion.

I came to again, this time with nausea and the accompanying fear of choking to death as I was flat on my back and couldn’t move. I tried to speak and couldn’t. I reached out my hand again and there was no one there. I will never forget the terror I felt for those few seconds before the nurse appeared.

I went home Monday after the stitches were pulled. I never felt any pain. The diagnosis: Benign encapsulated thyroid tumor. Half my thyroid was left behind somewhere in that huge building called a hospital. I was lucky.

Fast forward a few years. I am now a nursing student and observing in OR. I get to see my surgeon in action. I am so excited. They set up a step stool for me; I stand 5’2” on a good day. Now I can see clearly.

I can see clearly how his hands are shaking and trembling all over the place. I focus on that and mentally wrap my hands around my throat in the universal sign of a choking victim.

Those hands, those hands were in my throat! It’s a wonder I didn’t cave and fall face forward into the patient’s open abdomen.

~~~

I share this (abridged) story from my work in progress about my nursing life only because my thyroid has taken center stage again. What’s left of it is apparently working overtime. I feel a little cheated because if my metabolism is revved up, as my labs reflect, I shouldn’t have any extra pounds to work off.

1050UBs LifeCore Fitness

1050UBs
LifeCore Fitness

But, alas, I do, and I have a new BFF to help me with that.

Yesterday, I had about a gallon of blood removed. At least it felt that way. The phlebotomist even asked if I was OK before the penultimate tube was filled. I was.

My PCP had wanted labs. I said let’s check my thyroid, but did he include a full profile? No. So I had to go back and it coincided with the regular labs for my rheumy.

In the past, I’ve been treated for hypo and hyperthyroidism, but for decades my labs have been normal. I’ve been scanned within an inch of my life, literally. That’s how close that behemoth of a machine feels next to my throat.

I’m sure that will come next, but for now I will concentrate on the Dick Dale concert we will attend tonight. We’re spending the night in Fort Lauderdale and throwing caution to the winds.

Advertisements

Pokes Galore

I had my two-week BP follow-up last week. Like a good girl, I’ve been taking my Lisinopril every day, well, except for one day. I had a glass of wine and decided to skip it, but then I felt guilty for doing so. So I said, what the hay, I’ll have both if I feel like it. YOLO, right?

Doc asked me if I’d been taking my BP. He looked surprised when I said no. I don’t have a personal BP machine, nor do I plan to get one. It did cross my mind while I was at my “favorite” haunt, CVS, but I totally forgot to check it. I mean, why raise your blood pressure?

When he took it, I read 132/80. He was happy with that, but he wants to see me in three months. Which means I have to keep taking this little pink pill for three more months. And he wanted a slew of blood work, fasting. I usually stroll into the lab sometime in the early afternoon. This meant I had to get up early and go get bled before breakfast.

I’ve never been a morning person. I perk up around noon. The idea of rushing out of the house, sans breakfast, to go get needled wasn’t all that appetizing. It took me a few days to psyche myself up, and when I walked into the lab I knew why I go late in the day. It was packed to the rafters.

Two and a half hours it took for them to end up sticking me twice. That’s never happened to me. They always get it on the first try. But I was submissive and said nothing. No need to rattle the phlebotomist and cause her to stick me thrice.

What kept me calm was the ongoing thought that in a couple of days’ time there was going to be another needle introduced into a far more sensitive part of my body. I would have willingly taken a third needle to my right arm in place of that.

I knew two things when I walked into the ophthalmologist’s office. The sight in my right eye was better and I was going to get another shot.

The scan proved me correct. The blood settled by the retina was half gone. Vastly improved, but needing more treatment.

There was only one glitch. The cheaper drug he’d used before was not available, they’d ordered wrong or something. But, he had a sample of the designer drug, if I was of a mind. First, I asked if there was any difference in effect. They were essentially the same he said. It was a matter of dollars and cents for the pharmaceutical.

OK, how impacted would I be in the dollars and cents category? No impact at all, he said.

I mulled it over for a bit. We can order the other drug and you can come back, he said.

Did I need more anxious anticipation?

No. I’m here, prepped and ready I said. Just do it.

The immediate after effect was different. My eye was only slightly red, the sting was mild. I could open my eye, though it was sensitive to light.

I’d driven myself there figuring I’d sit in my car for a bit while the worst of it wore off, but I had no trouble driving home immediately after. I had almost no discomfort for the rest of the evening and night. The next day my eye was slightly pink and slightly sore, a result more than likely from the Betadine antiseptic. I used the artificial tears frequently and as he said, all was back to normal after a day.

The eye injection was definitely easier the second time around but I still don’t want to do it again, though I will probably have to. I did postpone the next appointment a few days past the four-week window as we won’t be in town. We plan to be in NYC celebrating our daughter’s 25th birthday. A quarter century. How did she get so old?

***YOLO = you only live once. I sincerely hope!