(Cross-posted at Προστάτις.)
The triage nurse told us to have a seat in the waiting room. I found myself scrunched into my chair in child’s pose, my head resting in my husband’s lap. I imagine there are few things more ridiculous-looking than a 6’0″ woman curled into child’s pose sobbing, but it seemed to lessen the pain ever-so-slightly, so there I was. I had reached the point of not caring about a public display of pain. My husband gently stroked my hair and whispered that it was going to be all right, but I could hear the worry in his voice.
This time, the ER docs ordered a CT scan and wrote me a prescription for narcotic painkillers: methocarbamol and hydrocodone. Those drugs may have addled my brain and made me think everything was funnier, but they definitely took my pain away and allowed me to become semi-functional again. My pain was still bad though. Throughout the weekend, I found myself counting down the hours until I could take another pill as the pain in my neck began to creep back.
The doctors also told me to make an appointment with my PCP to have my neck evaluated; however, the last PCP I had seen was 12 miles away in Mundelein, and I had only seen her once or twice, the last time being ~18 months prior, so naturally, I didn’t do this. I kind of treat doctors the same way I was (at the time) treating God: I avoid them until I desperately need something from them. I had a temporary solution to my symptoms and didn’t really care about treating the cause.
The passing of time over the weekend ebbed away at my small supply of narcotics, and the realization dawned on me that I wasn’t getting anymore unless I could get a non-ER doc to sign off on another prescription. So on Monday morning, August 13th, I called my insurance and asked them to switch my PCP to a family practice closer to where I lived. I then called that practice and got an emergency appointment time slot in the afternoon.
Something you should know about me: when given a choice, I only see female doctors. If I have to see a male specialist or ER doc, that’s perfectly fine, but give me a list of primary care providers and I’ll always pick a woman’s name from the list. I’m sexist like that. When the receptionist said she could get me in with XYZ over the phone, the name she said sounded like a woman’s first name coupled with a last name. It was like my drug-addled brain heard, “We can get you in with [Mara Jade],” and I said, “Sounds good.”
Paul had gone back to work after taking Friday and Saturday off to care for me, so I took Harley with me to the appointment, and the two of us were ushered back to the exam room. While the nurse was asking me questions, I said something to Harley wherein I called the doctor a “she,” to which the nurse replied, “It’s a he.” What the hell, I thought, How in the heck does a man wind up with a name like [Mara]? That is not at all a unisex name! Oh well. I wasn’t about to dismiss myself from the exam room when prescription narcotics were at stake.
It wasn’t until later on, when the doctor was giving me paperwork, that I read his name and realized the receptionist had only said his lengthy last name over the phone. It was like his full name was Luke Marajade, so I had heard Mara Jade when it was spoken over the phone. (Just to be clear: his name is not really Luke or Marajade, but how awesome would it be if it was?!?! We would ALL want to see a doctor named Luke Marajade!)
That is how I found myself sitting in an examination room, waiting to see a doctor.
To be continued.