The Life and Times of Poopwa Foley

Archive for the ‘medicine’ Category

A friend of mine confided today her heartfelt wish that the Feminine Product Makers would combine the power of a Shamwow with a tampon.  It would be called a Shampon.  Mary is a genius and when she makes a zillion dollars from her invention, I can say I knew her when.
Today, I wish I had a box of Shampons.  This girl stuff?  For the effing birds.  My uterus is throwing an absolute hissy fit because there’s not a baby in it, and I am dealing with the homicidal and bloody aftermath.  At 46, I neither want nor need a baby unless it’s covered with fur and has four legs and comes when it is called.**
The cramps I have today?  Breathtaking.  Meaning I take a breath and gasp in pain with any movement, including my own heartbeat.
I was going to go work out at lunch time today.  I have my “instant witch, just add candy” t shirt, tennies and sweats and my secret lucky fob to get in.   Mother Nature nixed that idea.  Her ideal workout for me today takes place in a dark room and involves climbing up on the couch with a blankie, heating pad, a cup of hot, strong tea and a viewing of the Practical Magic movie which I have never seen.  After that movie, another cup of hot tea, chocolate, and the movie Twister which I have never seen either.***



ok, I’ve seen it once or twice.  And this picture might be in my bedroom, maybe.



For now, however, I’m swallowing ibuprofen like tic tacs, plastering a fake smile on my face, and trying to just make it through the day.  I would complain to my mother but I already know she would tell me to just “put your big girl undies on”.
I would do that except they’re soaking in peroxide.
                                                                                             
**plus, I will be a grandmother soon and will hold her so often that I will be able to trick my own hormones.
***This is a filthy lie.  I have seen Practical Magic so often that I can recite it word for word and have the soundtrack completely memorized.  Ditto for Twister.  I love me some tornados.
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Who says gynecologists aren’t fun?  Me.
If you haven’t read about my recent invasive trans-vaginal ultrasound or even more invasive, painful biopsy, please do so now.  It will prepare you for the next chapter in the hopefully closed book of my female health.  I’ll just wait here.  I have some wine, anyway. 
Oh, are you back already?  Ok.
At the end of Fun Female Field Trip Part 2, I discussed the next step my doctor thoughtfully laid out for me in my pursuit of gynecological wellness, also known as “being able to get some sleep at night and quit worrying” syndrome.
I was assured, repeatedly, by two nurses and the doctor, that the test I needed to have to determine why I was surfing a never-ending crimson tide was quick and most importantly, painless.  This test would be done with water and ANOTHER trans-vaginal ultrasound.  I learned a long time ago not to Google things of a medical nature but I would have Googled the shit out of it if I could have remembered the name of it.  I didn’t remember the name of it because my mind had blocked it out.  It tends to do with traumatic experiences. 
For those of you who skipped ahead and didn’t read the other posts, obviously you failed in “listening and following directions” in grade school.  A trans-vaginal ultrasound is just fancy talk for an ultrasound wherein you can’t pee for approximately a week in preparation, and then a gigantic “wand” is used to view what’s going on from the inside.
Ladies, beware and trust me on this.  If you enter an ultrasound room and there’s both gel and a “wand” covered with a fresh condom, you can bet money that wand is taking a trip to hoo-hah land.  It’s messy.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s embarrassing.  And in my case, it was inevitable.
The day of my test, I was sick with anticipation but just wanted to get it over with.  Surely anything I was imagining was far worse than what actually would happen.  What’s a little water, after all?  I like swimming and baths.  I got to the doctor’s office at 12:45 p.m. for a 1:00 p.m. appointment, and was immediately weighed (a story for another day) and unceremoniously tossed into a back room.  I was handed a sheet and given a look that clearly said you know what to do.
There I sat, getting more and more nervous, for 45 minutes.  45 minutes is not a very long time if you’re going out for ice cream, seeing a movie, or getting a massage.  However, if you’re naked from the waist down under a tiny sheet, and more importantly if you’re me, it’s a very long time.
The nurse finally came in and explained that Doctor (they always do that, too, don’t they?  Call them Doctor like you or I would say “Tom” or “Ray”) was delayed at the hospital but would be in shortly and sure enough, within a few minutes, she was there.  Let the festivities begin.
I knew I was in for an hour of fun when I heard the word catheter and uterus used in the same breath.  Oh, joy.  I was subsequently speculumed and although they tried strenuously to put the catheter where it belonged, it wouldn’t go.  I have to give them snaps for effort, however.  Those ladies were determined.  I have the scars to prove it. 
However, their amusement was bought to a halt when water ran everywhere except into my uterus.
They figured out pretty quickly what was wrong, adjusted things slightly and YEP, YEP, OH YEAH, THERE’S THE WAND.



Silhouette Sorceress by Sattva/freedigitalphotos.net
um, not that kind.
She meandered around down there for a few seconds, but couldn’t visualize whatever it was she was supposed to see.  Because I had been put in this room and abandoned for a very long time, my bladder was too full.  Oh, sorry, totally my fault.    
Great.  Tools that recently were inserted were now un-inserted and I was told that the hallway was “pretty deserted” which was a good thing, considering the sheet I had to hold around me was the size of a tissue.
I took care of business, hopped back up onto the table, and the speculum process began all over again.  Once she was able to visualize the actual area she wanted to see, Doctor was very complimentary about my bladder emptying.  (I have been waiting for years for someone to compliment me about that very thing.  Good things come to those who wait, people.  Good things come to those who wait.)
Doctor fusses.  She harrumphs.  She seems very annoyed and finally says to her cohort in torture, “Go get (name withheld).  She can work the wand while I push the water.  I need to be able to visualize the complete uterus and blahbitty blah, blah, blah blah” which I didn’t hear because my brain was stuck on work the wand.
I have nothing against Germans.  I myself am part German.  However, the woman (and I use the term loosely) they pulled in to assist with my procedure was half German and half agony aficionado.  She took “work the wand” to new levels. 
I exhausted all my deep breathing techniques and Zen thinking and concentrated only on crab climbing backward up the table to get away from my persecutors.   At this point, I’m not sure what was so attractive about having this done in the doctor’s office as opposed to in the hospital under my good friend anesthesia.
I hear the German say, “I see zee problem, Doctair.  She haz zee floppy oss.”
I finally find my voice.  “Hey, that’s a little personal, lady!  I’m right here!  It’s only floppy because I just haven’t been able to work out much lately!!”
I’m ignored.  No surprise there, because apparently (TMI, turn away now if you haven’t already) she was saying “floppy os” which is Latin for “mother of three.”
Finally, FINALLY, they see what they need to see.  And then some.  And it’s all normal.  Which is great news but I still have three women all standing between my legs, while more sensitive regions are covered by this tissue sized sheet.  Oh, wait, no, they’re not covered because the sheet has been pushed up for maximum humiliation and embarrassment.  (Or for them to be able to see, but I’m totally going with the humiliation thing.  I’m still bitter.)  Um, we’re done here.  You can go now.
The two nurses finally, finally leave the room.  Doctor pats my leg comfortingly (she thinks) and says, a glint in her eye, that I’m probably just going through early menopause.  “Don’t worry.  You won’t ever have to see me again.” (#youbetyourfloppyosIwon’t) A chirpy laugh burbles out of her and I think, of all the people on my shit list, you’re at the very tippy top right now.  I will do everything in my power to stay away from this office.
I am holding back tears, mostly angry tears because I’m pissed that my roundhouse kick to the German’s butt missed. 
I settle for letting the air out of her tires on my way to get ice cream and a 45 minute massage, floppy os be damned.

Part deux 

After my last medical visit a la the ultrasound from hell, I wanted to know when I’d find out what was going on in my “downstairs area”. 
Me:  How long will it take to get the results?
Them:  at least a couple of days.  Rest assured, you’ll have plenty of time for worrying.
Me:  (heart hammering in chest) Ok.
It didn’t take a couple of days to get the results.  The phone rang the very next day, less than 24 hours after the ultrasound, while I was lost in Naperville trying desperately to find Edwards Hospital, so that I could make it on time for my mother’s gall bladder surgery. 
It’s never good when they don’t waste any time calling you with the results. 
I listened to the results with half an ear while On Starring and Bluetoothing, watching desperately for street signs, looking for my turn, catching various words here and there out of the speakers.  Abnormal.  Hyperplasia.  Polyp.  Cyst.  And my absolute favorite, Biopsy.
I’m sure you’re all wondering how serious this really was.  And the answer is:  It was very serious because I was really, really lost.  When I finally found the hospital, I told all this to the valet parker boy, who actually yawned when I told him what an adventure finding the hospital was.  Your tip is going to suck, buddy.
Three hours I waited with my sister and stepdad for Mom’s surgery/recovery time.  Three hours is quite a bit of time to freak out reflect on the doctor’s choice of words.   
The hospital aide came out to tell us that Mom wanted coffee, and she wanted my stepdad to make it because he knew how she liked it prepared.  We all knew then that mom was recovering just fine. **
My biopsy was schedule for two weeks from that day.  Two weeks have never gone slower. 

Biopsy day

Two weeks have never gone faster, and before I knew it, the nurse called me to take two ibuprofen before the procedure, because I’d get a little crampy.  That day, I learned something vitally important.  What you think is crampy and what I think is crampy are two vastly different things.  The nurse on the phone advised me to take two ibuprofen before the procedure.  The nurse I actually saw that day in the room of horrors procedure room felt bad that I didn’t have the afternoon off, even though I sit down at my job. 
Of course, I took my cue from her facial expression, (pity mixed with compassion and a side order of sympathy) stiffened up, and unfortunately stayed tense the entire time, making it even far more difficult for the doctor and far more painful for me.
Doctor:  Relax! 
Me:  I’m trying!  (I am not trying.  I’m not relaxed at all, and I don’t know how anyone could be.)
I had the biopsy.  Here’s what I think they used… 



ntwowe/freedigitalphotos.net
There were many more sharp things sticking out of the tool they used on me.



…but it felt much larger. 
Me and my new friend Cramps went back to work that day for a couple of painful hours, then went home and curled up on the couch where I would spend the rest of the night milking this for every single second I could. 
It worked.  I got pizza that night.  And a nap.
They told me I’d get my results back within a couple of days.  I selfishly hoped that I wouldn’t get them back on my birthday, so I could sail through my 46th birthday blissfully ignorant of anything biopsy-related.  They granted that wish and called me the day after.
This time it was with a good word:  benign.  It even sounds nice in your mouth.  Say it with me:  Beeeenine.
Despite the pleasant tastiness of that word, I have to go back and be poked, prodded and ultra sounded one more time, and then my doctor will make a decision on what to do with my whiny self at that point.  Obviously, the female issues are being caused by something and they’d like to find my tolerance for pain figure out what it is. 
I’d like for them to figure out what it is too.  There are some *cough activities cough* that we’d I’d like to resume.  While I’m still young.
***My mom:  recovering nicely.  Her surgery that day was at 10:45 a.m.  She was home drinking coffee at her kitchen table by 3:30 p.m. looking for all the world like we just popped in for a visit.  It was amazing and we’re all glad she’s ok.
For those of you who are squeamish, please, for the love of God, look away now.  Don’t read any more.
For those of you who yearn to live vicariously through me…please, pull up a chair.  Let me tell you about my day.
At 45-almost-46, my baby factory has been shut down for quite some time, due to the fact that I had my tubes tied after I had my youngest daughter almost 20 years ago. 
I am now 240 months postpartum; I guess I should work on getting the baby weight off.  (#tryharder)
About 2 months ago, despite having my tubes tied, I exhibited every single symptom of pregnancy.  Sore boobs, lack of period, bloating, mood swings, nausea.  In short, I was really, really fun to be around.   When I say really, really fun to be around, I am lying through my teeth.
Just when the symptoms made me think I should go buy a pregnancy test, (despite the slim odds) or a priest for my exorcism, what should happen? 
Aunt Flo came to town.
And the flipping bitch didn’t want to leave.
I asked her nicely to leave.  When that didn’t work, I pouted.  I threw fits.  I threatened.  I drank.  I bribed. 
My family wisely hid the knives behind the furniture. 
I finally said Uncle.  I went to the doctor, explained everything, was examined, had blood drawn, levels tested, and a negative pregnancy test.  All tests normal.  (Praise God.)  So far, so good.  She then started me on something to help staunch the…well…you know.  Besides the referral to an actual gynecologist, I thought that was the end of that.
Except that I had to get an ultrasound today.  And not just any ultrasound, mind you. 
(*here’s where I would normally insert a picture.  However, I don’t have any pictures from the events of today that would be appropriate here.  After all, I don’t know you that well.)
The medical test from hell started when I had to drink 48 oz of water from 12:30 until 1:00 pm.  I’m quite the water drinker.  I drink water all day long.  However, drinking this much water in ½ hour was enough to make even me gag.
I parked the car at the hospital and despite having my legs crossed tightly the entire time was able to get to the ultrasound department.  It was approximately 7.5 miles from where I parked.  I was afraid I was going to be late.  The panicked staccato taps of my high heels on the tile floor took my mind off how badly I had to go to the bathroom.

Chris has a bad day

The first part of the test was uneventful.  I greatly enjoyed the warmth of the ultrasound gel on my lower belly.  It was very soothing.  The room was quiet and the light was dim and I would have fallen asleep except for the excruciating pressure on my straining bladder.
When the test was over, I was led to the bathroom and told to take my time.  I peed as if I hadn’t seen a toilet in a month.  The relief was immediate and immense.
The ultrasound tech was hiding in the hallway and sprang out at me when I exited in the bathroom. 
Her:  “Are you ready for the second part of your test?”
Me:  “Do you mean the part where I walk down the hall and find the exit?”
Her:  (chuckling expansively) “Silly you.  The second part, the internal exam.”
Me:  (smile fades, face pales.)  “No.  No, I’m not ready for that.”
Despite the elfin size, her iron grip lead me directly back into the room, where I am forced to “take off everything below the waist, but if you want to leave your shoes on you can.”
Leave my shoes on?  Really?  And take everything else off?  I have on black high heels, no pantyhose.  The thought of being nekked below the waist except for black high heels was a bit…pornographic to me.  The shoes came off with all the other below the waist things, and I was grateful that I had a cute pedicure.
Funny what you think of, grooming wise, when you’re having an internal ultrasound.  My feet were not the only thing I had groomed, and I was glad.
“You’ll feel a slight pressure.”  It was the only warning I got before the “wand” was “inserted” by Vlad the Impaler.
She apologized for the “pressure” over and over while applying said pressure and also for the fact that a couple of times I choked on it as it was coming up my throat.   
Finally she finished up and withdrew the entire 3 feet of wand.  I am thrown several dry washcloths to absorb all of the gel.  I feel like the guy in the shower in “The Crying Game.”
She escorted me down the hall.  I noticed that she kept looking to the right and left.  
Me:   “Did you lose something?”
Her:  “No.  I’m just looking for the right sized broomstick.  You’re not my only ultrasound today.”
***
Stay tuned.
*I went home and told my friend Lambrusco all about it. 


It has to be a cosmic payback for publishing the post on the spider in the ear.  Right? 

Last week after sniggering over all the comments on Facebook about people being afraid to sleep at night because a spider might have climbed in their ear as they slept, I realized I myself had an itchy ear.

As stated on Facebook, I really did rinse my ears out with peroxide, effectively killing anything that might have been in there (hopefully) and succeeded in making myself so dizzy I almost fell over in the bathroom.

I missed work last week on Tuesday because I felt so crappy; dizzy, flushed, really headachy…you get the picture.  Since then the pressure in my ears has increased, making it sound like I constantly have a crackling faulty speaker in my head.  And it HURTS.  Like someone took a baseball bat and cracked me in the face.  Not here, or here so much…but right here.



not here, or here so much…but right here.

 Last night, went home and was in bed by 5:30 for a 1.5 hour nap…then back in bed at 9:30pm, still not feeling well.

I dragged myself into work even though I felt icky, flushed, feverish; thinking I could gut it out.  Around 11am I cried “uncle” and made an appointment with the doctor for 3:30 pm.  Which was more like 3:45 pm.

She peeked in my right ear, very routinely.  However, she took an uncomfortably long time looking in my left ear, the source of most of the crackling.  So long, in fact, that I found myself wondering what in the heck could be that *cough spider cough* interesting in there.  I found myself spiderbabbling.

She stepped back, tiny hand on tiny chin.*

“Do you have a pet?”

It’s a spider it’s a spider it’s a spider it’s a spider it’s a spider

“Yes, why?” (It’s a good thing she took my blood pressure before this line of questioning.)

“Is your pet as black as your shirt?”

OMGOMGOMGOMG it’s a BLACK spider

I try to appear relatively calm as I tell her we have a black lab who as recently as last night (and every night, as a matter of fact) sleeps on the pillows of our bed.

“Puh” and “puhppy”

“You have a black dog hair in your ear.”

“Get it out.” I command.  Just in case it’s a spider imitating a dog hair, or perhaps she can only see one of its legs.

“It will come out by itself.  No Q-tips.  No ear plugs.”  Does she not know Q tips are a necessity of mine?  And that from time to time my husband, maybe, possibly snores (lightly, mind you, sort of a “puh” exhale) and that if I don’t have earplugs in, I will hear every single “PUH“?

In her musical voice, she says, “perhaps the ear plugs may have had a dog hair on them when you placed them in your ear.”  Oh, yuck.  Note to self:  throw away all ear plugs.  Because I don’t place them in my ear, I JAM those suckers in.

Long story short, she checked me out thoroughly, told me I had a fever (I KNEW I WAS SICK) and a sinus infection and put me on antibiotics.  For those of you who don’t know, Schnuk’s pharmacies fill a lot of antibiotics for free, regardless of insurance.  Lovely pharmacy.

They also have Q tips and ear plugs.

*I LOVE my doctor.  She is awesome. 

Cough.  Cough.
Welcome to my world for the past four weeks.  Actually, welcome to my dear, long suffering husband’s world as well, as he’s been enduring this as long as I have.  Neither one of us have slept through the night for quite a while, thanks to my new friend, Tickle.
Tickle = my cough.  It’s the most annoying cough you can possibly imagine.  The kind that starts as a little tiny tickle in your throat, and you think that you can delicately give a little “ahem”, clear your throat and move on with your day.
But that is not the case.  The “ahem” doesn’t work.  The tickle grows in strength like a tidal wave.  What felt like a tiny little speck of dust in your throat has now graduated into something that resembles a feather from a feather duster, except a little bigger.
Your eyes begin to water, you can’t speak, the feather in your throat has turned into the entire duster, and still you can’t clear it, because THERE’S NOTHING THERE TO COUGH UP.
And during the day, at work, several concerned coworkers have their fingers poised over 911, certain that I will choke to death at any moment given my recent coughing spasms.
The worst part, however, is the nighttime.  Invariably, I wake up at 3am or thereabouts, coughing, choking, sputtering and shaking the bed violently, disturbing my poor husband, who wakes at the drop of the hat anyway.  I’m not sleeping.  He’s not sleeping. 
I have tried Nyquil.  Vicks on the chest.  Vicks on the feet.  Vaporizer.  Mucinex. Benadryl, wine, Bailey’s on the rocks, four straight shots of whiskey.  (Surprisingly, no relief.)
I try to creep out of bed in the dark, which is almost impossible when you’re as visually challenged as I am, so there’s the requisite fumbling for my glasses, (and dropping them loudly) then finding my robe (after noisily fumbling a little more) and finally (as quietly as I can) trying to make it around the corner of the bed without stubbing a toe or barking my shin on the bedpost.  Sometimes I even succeed.
(Author’s note:  During one of these episodes, in the hallway, I hit my shinbone so hard on a box that I am still wearing the band aid.  True story.  Thanks for caring.  Maybe the whiskey had some effect after all.)
After days/nights of this, my husband helpfully whispers (when I stumble back to bed) that I should probably see the doctor for my cough so that I can get some sleep.  However, I get the impression that he means, “so I can finally sleep, because you’re about as graceful as a monkey when you climb into bed.”
At work the next day, I spend several terrifying moments googling “dry cough”, I raced for the phone to secure an immediate appointment with my doctor.  After lots of questions (on her part) and lots of nervous shaking (on my part) she informed me that one of the major side effects of my new blood pressure medicine is DRY COUGHING. 
She informs me to stop taking that medicine immediately, busily researches for a moment, then settles on a non-coughing alternative, faxes it to the pharmacy, and leaves.  I sigh in relief.  No need to wonder how to fit an oxygen tank in my car for the COPD I was certain I had.  Dr. Perky sticks her head back in the door, informs me that “Oh, by the way, although a dry cough is not one of the side effects of this new medicine…leg/foot swelling is a possibility.”  And smiles.
I breezily assure her that all the exercise (say wha?) that I do at the gym will probably prevent any swelling.  She assures me right back that exercise is not going to help, but if my feet get swollen to the point of being uncomfortable, or if my calves start to scare dogs and small children, to give her a call.   My mouth is hanging open.
Wait, how swollen are my feet going to get?  I ask faintly, but she’s already on the move, surely racing to impart equally good news to her next patient. 
I sit for a moment longer, sullenly rustling around on the white paper as I am imagining big old Frodo feet stuffed into my favorite pair of heels, and sigh. 
I almost miss my cough.

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  • Mary Fran Says: Thank you for contributing to Sweeps Week! We make a great team. Maybe we'll collaborate in our next lives? SISTERS! lol :)
  • Mary Fran Says: What's better than a Baby Shower aka Early Baby Birthday Party? Baby's FIRST Birthday Party! (Although it's hard to call them "baby" by one! They grow
  • Ann Jones: I'll have to check it out, thanks for the heads up!

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