The Graduate

When Cuz was here day before yesterday, I told her I had to go to see the pulmonologist today. I was dreading it for more reasons than usual. Not too long ago, a woman was attacked in the parking garage. I’ve always felt kind of uneasy walking in there so when I’m by myself, I head to the roof.

I also told her I planned to have a heart to heart with the doctor and stop going to see him if he couldn’t give me any more than “stable, no better, no worse”. Every four months, I’ve been to see him only to be put through a mild form of torture, but torture, anyway. A PFT wasn’t listed on my appointment card so maybe that would be skipped.

Last night, I set my timer for seven hours…I thought. I was all snuggled into my bed when it went off. I’d set it for seven MINUTES. I set it again and that time, I was sure it was right.

This morning, I didn’t want to get up when the timer went off. I lay there for 13 minutes after it stopped dinging. I know that because it counts up once it gets to zero.

I did all my routine stuff, then took a bath and got ready to go. I put my hearing aids in and they did the doodle-de-do in unison. After the second serenade, I turned them off. The felines were on the deck but I didn’t have time to feed them.

It was cool with a brisk wind blowing. My little car got knocked around on the road but I made it to the ::insert scary music here:: PARKING GARAGE. When I got to the roof, I think most people had the same idea. It was packed with vehicles. I found an empty slot and took it.

Next was the elevator. There was a tall man waiting. I surveyed the lunch he was carrying and it included fresh fruit so I figured he was probably safe. We were the only occupants and I got where I was going without incident.

According to my pedometer, it’s about 1,000 steps from where my car was parked to the doctor’s office. Of course, there was the side trip to the bathroom which added a few but not many. Oh, and I sat down in the corridor and changed my batteries so I could be sure of everything the doctor said.

I signed in and took my seat about 20 minutes early. My appointment time came and went and then another half hour was gone. The magazine selection wasn’t very good. I leafed through one or two and then went to the bathroom. At my re-entry, a man told me the nurse had called me back while I was gone.

Well. It wasn’t the nurse. It was the Respiratory Torturer. The Pulmonary Function Test Terrorist. First, she weighed me then directed me to a seat in the Torture Chamber of Horrors. I protested that my appointment card had nothing about a PFT. Well, the person who filled it out left it off. I’m supposed to have one done every visit. Well, BLECCCCHHHHHH! I wasn’t a happy camper and it probably showed.

My O2 sat was 94 which is low for me. She didn’t volunteer any information about the results of my test (she would have had to tell me between coughs—mine). I was directed back to the waiting room to, well, wait.

People came and went and I was put in an exam room where I waited some more.

The Doctor

The Doctor

By and by, the doctor came in. He shook my hand and inquired as to my health. I told him I was okay. “Okay? Just okay??” I said I was wonderful, marvelous, exceptional.

He started flipping through my chart to find my CT results from over a year ago. They evidently weren’t there because he left the room for a few minutes. When he came back, he said he wanted me to have a followup CT done for comparison. Then he launched into the barium swallow once again. I objected but he countered with, “You said you would think about it.” Yes. I thought about it and decided against it.

He questioned me about hobbies—do I do woodworking? Do I keep birds as pets? He’d asked me the questions before so he should have known the answers. When I cough, do I cough anything up? Yes and no, it isn’t bloody. It’s always clear.

Then he dropped the bombshell. He’s skeptical of the pulmonary fibrosis diagnosis. He believes there are factors that he hasn’t figured out yet.

I brought the conversation back to the barium swallow. What if I had it done and it came back that, yes, I have esophageal reflux? What could be done that I’m not already doing? Medication—I take medication. He countered with the fact that mine turns off the acid but it doesn’t control the reflux. I could still have Stuff coming up and interfering with my breathing. There are a couple of different avenues to handle that.

We went back and forth for several more minutes. Okay. If I did agree to the barium swallow, what was the date on the original order? Oh, he’d give me a new one. He laughed and said he’d give me a new one every time and I could decorate my wall with them.

The procedure there is that the patient doesn’t leave the room until the nurse comes back with orders, etc. I thought I was going to pop before she got there and when she did, she had my appointment card for—six months from now! I’ve gone from three times a year to two!! She also had orders for a CT and barium swallow to be done there on the 12th. I objected I’d do the latter at my local hospital. She left and there I was, in misery. When she came back, she’d made appointments for both the CT and the swallow so I wouldn’t have to go back to the Mother Ship. Praise the Lord!

ALDI (did you know that stands for Albrecht Discount?) is on my way home and I couldn’t go by without stopping. I proved it isn’t a good idea to shop when hungry. Everything looked good and I bought too much. I also snacked in the car. My bad.

What I couldn’t get at ALDI, I got at Walmart. It was getting dark enough for me to have to use my headlights driving up the mountain.

I didn’t know whether the animals had been fed or not but I pulled up to Cuz’ house in any case. There was no evidence that anyone had been here and I knew it would be nigh onto impossible to unload the car if the outside lot hadn’t had their food. I fed them more out of self-defense than pity. Selfish, I know.

Twinkle had to be fed, too, and I needed water and food, myself. The PFT has worn me out. My head aches and my throat feels a bit scratchy. I’m feeling sorry for myself and I think I’ll shut this down and go to sleep.

2 Responses to The Graduate

  1. Lila November 7, 2014 at 6:34 am #

    I feel sorry for you too. Hope that helps, but I doubt that it will.

    • Tommie November 7, 2014 at 7:30 am #

      Thank you. Misery does love company. If I could go and just see the doctor, it would be much more pleasant but I guess it wouldn’t tell him what he needs to know. At least I won’t have to be tested as often.

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