Honestly and seriously. I'm almost at that point of appreciating exactly how crapified I felt so that I can be being so not there any more, ya know? Almost. 'Cuz that would be ridiculous.
A to P: I'm thinking of donating my body to science.
P to A: There's nothing left inside for them to look at.
The University Level
It's brighter on the University Level. There are nicer pictures on the wall and overall it seems a lot cleaner. I am in La Grange. Missing yet another shift of work. Damn.
They've booked me with the next available. Her assistant is Norma and Norma is new. But she's got a nice kind of walnut colored manicure and I admire it and we're off and running. She collects my metadata thus far and I change into a gown and since I'm alone, there's no one to amuse me, so I look at my clothes hanging on the hook and wonder how they got so frighteningly grimy around the edges and what my Mother would say about that. Decide to go to WalMart on the way home and score some new threads.
Interestingly, the next available is a pediatric dermatologist so once again, I'm listening to a baby scream in the next room. He screams. He stops. He screams again. Good brakes.
The doctor knocks once and flies into the room. She looks like Pam Dawber from Mork and Mindy. We squint at each other wondering if we've met before but nope. And off we go.
She performs the most subtle full body visual exam I've ever witnessed. She says she thinks I have Henoch-Schonlein purpura which ironically usually occurs in children. I have this feeling had she not been a pediatric doc-this wouldn't have been at the top of her mental rolodex so I take that as a good omen.
(The reason I can even begin to remember the name is that it has the same initials as this disorder(?) or classification known as Highly Sensitive People. Some members of my family think they're highly sensitive but maybe they're just Prime Ministers of the Chump of the Month Club. Who is to say?)
If it's okay with me, they're going to take a biopsy. Now, ya mean? I ask. Yes. Right here? I ask. It's like a mini-surgery right on the table. Which is where I stop gathering intel and start keeping myself really calm. Where is P with his legal pad?
Pam Dawber decides on an area where she's going to cut. She asks if I have any preferences. I'm like, uh, have you seen the rest of my poor body? I'm not really worried about it. (Really-I'm just making more mysteries for the scientists of the future, right?) She picks a spot on my right thigh and she takes a purple marker and draws dots around a tiny area. This is a good place, she says, because you can watch it. Umm okay.
She leaves the room and the nurse goes into action. Wiping things and getting needles ready and getting me ready and surprisingly-injecting me. You'll feel a big pinch and then some burning. Oww says me. Sorry says her.
The doctor returns and is also surprised to find me numb. We are good to go and for her-that means cutting and for me-that means not looking. She says it hurts less if you don't look.
It's over in a flash and we're talking medication. How do I feel about Prednisone. I feel like I don't like it and I don't want it. I don't really know what it is but this pill factory! You should see my counters. Amber bottles everywhere. Ya know what I'm taking? Only the Prednisone and only for so many days because This Has Got To Stop. (Except for my beloved ibuprofen but I'll get to that in a minute.)
Prednisone is used in extreme cases and my ankles in their current incantation are extreme.
I won't show you pictures. You're welcome.
We had Thanksgiving and then we went over to Mary Kay and Bob's for dessert because Leni would be there too. It was lovely and sweet and I reached down and scratched my calf because it was itching like a mutha and we got home and we're sitting on the couch and I say, Jeez my legs are itching. And I pull up my pant leg and my leg looks like Zombie-Pub- Crawl-A-Go-Go.
No. Really. It looked like someone had taken a red house painting brush and splattered my entire leg universe with raised red itchy spots. Kah-ray-zee.
I mean after all this, right?
I ask the doctor-is this from stress? Stress does a lot of things she says, but it doesn't. do. that.
Then they wrap me all up and ship me to the next room for all of the tests. Things have gone from: "Call this dermatologist-it's going to take a few days to get in to see him because there's not a lot of dermatologists around." to:"STAT".
There's a urine test that I haven't studied for so I have to sit and drink two glasses of water. And then the blood tests. Like 5 of them. With Norma. Who is new.
I tell her they had trouble finding veins in the hospital. After her first unsuccessful attempt, I say, hey if you have to go find an old-timer, I'm not going to complain. She goes and finds a woman who is from another country and has had enough of my nonsense before we've ever met.
She admonishes me. Do not tell people you are a hard stick because you are not, she says. And you're scaring them and you're scaring your veins.
She finds a vein somewhere in the underworld of my left inner elbow and for the next five days, I sport a mark that looks like a giant splat of cheap Avon lipstick on my inner arm.
My ankles-mostly the right one but the left doesn't want to be excluded-are raw and swollen and sore. If this is arthritis? I'm not playing.
Symptoms of Henoch-Schonlein Purpura continued...
Arthritis. Joint inflammation, involving pain and swelling, occurs in approximately three-quarters of cases, particularly affecting the knees and ankles. It usually lasts only a few days and does not cause any long-term, chronic joint problems.
One night, I got home and I couldn't come through the door. My gym shoes were cutting into my swollen ankles. P rolled me my rolling office chair and that's how I got into my house.
It was bad.
But I Prednisoned and ibuprofened and sucked it up and I was surrounded by Fezziwigs. (You remember Scrooge's cheerful boss?) My two favorite library supervisors listened to my nonsense and actually found me someone who had been down Prednisone Lane so I could ask a lotta questions and I went hobbling off to the library's Staff Day(You think I'm going to let this nonsense stop me from eating my fancy sandwich and a real Coca~Cola? I think not.) and found myself surrounded by helping verbs in the form of my co-workers. Me humping around on this stupid stick-I'm not even very good at it.
I did two massages on Friday night and I stood for just more than half of my shift on Saturday and today-I'm just trying to trust my directions-which is always hard for me to do but the cane is back in retirement and I didn't take it along on last night's long walk/maiden voyage with my new, handcrafted, glow-in-the-dark, reflective, hand-knitted by my elementary school friend Beth, pink hat so I think we're not out of the woods completely but the smell of pine is fading fast.
The dermatologist wanted me to return to the Primary Care for an ankle X-ray but I refused and when you start to turn down yet another test which would cost you yet another day of work? You know you're feeling better.