Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sucks to your ass-mar!

Piggy* had ass-mar. Now I've got it too. I guess I've always had it. I could always tell I did. I was just being stubborn and didn't want to go to the doctor for it. A couple days ago though I was not feeling very well and decided that since I have like a team of doctors these days I might as well go get an inhaler.

For the last few years I have really noticed that I have trouble breathing after being around pets. Last week I went to visit Debbie and Colleen and they have a dog, so I took a couple squirts of Flonase and a couple hits of Chlor-Triplon before I left. It didn't help. Their dog was outside all night, but I still started feeling a bit of tightness shortly after I arrived. Part of me hoped it was just because I drank a few glasses of red wine (red wine is poisonous to my delicate ecosystem of a body. It always makes my heart race and makes me feel out of breath). By the time I left it still hadn't faded at all, (like it does with red wine), and in fact it was much worse. As of Tuesday night (five days later) I still hadn't felt any better. It felt like I had inhaled more than just dog hair. Chlorine gas maybe. Or needles. My lungs actually hurt when I breathed, and it felt like I had half a lung worth of fluid in each one. The worst part was when I would lay down to sleep the fluid would gurgle and whistle with my breathing and the sound was loud enough to wake me up!

On Tuesday I decided to go see a doctor. I mentioned I have a team of doctors... but they are the wait-3-months-for-an-appointment kind of doctors so I went to a mediclinic. I waited for an hour or so before they called my name. There were actually only three people in line ahead of me, and I saw them all come and go before I was even called in. As far as I could tell the place was completely empty of patients, but they still made me wait. After I waited in the large waiting room they moved me to a little waiting room and I waited some more. Oddly, after a doctor finally came in to see me, my entire examination was only about 2 minutes long. He listened to my breathing in about six different places and then took me to the lab for a breathing test. He told me to have a seat and someone would be with me shortly.


So I took a look around my third waiting room of the night. At least I got to see where all the patients were. I saw about ten people already waiting. I had noticed that the doctor put my sheet at the top of the lab tech's in-box so I assumed that she worked from the bottom. I looked for a place to sit and saw that there were five people standing, yet there was an unoccupied chair. I guess nobody wanted to sit next to the biker. I decided that since I was a male-to-female transsexual, I was therefore brave enough to handle anything - so biker or not, I sat down. I was sitting there about a minute when the lab tech came out and called my name. When I got up to follow her I looked back and everyone still waiting looked kind of pissed off, disguised as disinterest. I wonder if I was prioritized to the top of the line, or if the lab tech just didn't know my sheet was just recently added. Either way though, I didn't really care - my ass was already sore from all that sitting.

The lab tech said the test was difficult. I wondered if there was a written portion or something because I thought I just had to breathe into a tube. How hard can that possibly be? It turns out that it was hard. You take a couple normal breaths and then you inhale as much as you can, then you blow it out as hard and as fast as you can. When your lungs are all fluidy though, this test makes you end up coughing, hacking and choking followed by raspy gasping, then more coughing. I had to do it three times too, so I had three bouts of really sick sounding coughing. I was embarassed to think of the sounds my old waiting room buddies were hearing, but I was hoping they at least realized I was sick and that I didn't bud in line on purpose. When I walked back to the waiting room they didn't look disinterested in me anymore, but they all looked kind of disgusted. I could tell that this time, the biker did not want me to sit next to him!

A little while later the doctor came to get me. He said that according to my results I was breathing at about 64% of normal. He explained that I have asthma, and I was feeling the effects of constricted airways and congested lungs. He told me all about the prescription he just scribbled on a little piece of paper and with that he shooed me back to the original waiting room. Altogether I had about 1 and a half hours of waiting, and 15 minutes of doctorin'. I noticed that there was a pharmacy attached to the clinic, but it had it's own waiting room that was half-full of people. I guess if I was more of an optimist I could have said the waiting room was half-empty, but I'm not - so I decided to go elsewhere.

I drove down the street to a different pharmacy. The pharmacist looked at my little piece of paper then said, "That'll be ten minutes", as she pointed with her eyes at a row of chairs next to the counter. It wasn't so much a waiting room as a waiting section, but this time I didn't mind sitting. I was not feeling very good. My breathing was pretty bad and I was actually a little out of breath just from the walk from the parking lot, so I took a seat. I watched that little pharmacist go for nearly the entire ten minutes. She wrote some stuff down, she wandered here and there, she chit-chatted on the phone to someone else who works in the store somewhere, and I think I heard her put 34 yellow pills into a pill bottle. When my little internal timer estimated I had been sitting there 9 minutes and 48 seconds she went to a cupboard and grabbed an inhaler. Then she put a sticker on it and bagged it and met me at the prescription pick-up counter. I was a little sick of waiting tonight, but I never really questioned that the doctors at the clinic were all very busy. This pharmacist though... it took her TWELVE SECONDS, NOT TEN MINUTES! If it only takes 12 seconds why make me wait ten minutes? Why not just give it to me??
Pharmacists.


~~~


I've been using the inhaler for the past couple of days. My breathing is doing much better now so the inhaler must be working pretty good - good enough for me to have already forgotten it at work anyway. I think that by tomorrow I will be back to my normal self. Just in time to go to Jenn's house and start all over again - she has a cat.




* Lord of the Flies, Page 9

He hesitated for a moment, then spoke again. "What's your name?"
"Ralph."
The fat boy waited to be asked his name in turn, but this proffer of acquaintance was not made; the fair boy called Ralph smiled vaguel, stood up, and began to make his way once more toward the lagoon. The fat boy hung stead at his shoulder.
"I expect there's a lot more of us scattered about. You haven't seen any others, have you?"
Ralph shook his head and increased his speed. Then he tripped over a branch and came down with a crash. The fat boy stood by him, breathing hard.
"My auntie told me not to run," he explained, "on account of my asthma."
"Ass-mar?"
"That's right. Can't catch my breath. I was the only boy in our school what had asthma." said the fat boy with a touch of pride. "And I've been wearing specs since I was three!"

5 comments:

Ryan said...

Sarah, if you have asthma do not take Chlor-Triplon. It can kill us.

In fact, don't take any over the counter decongestants or antihistamines at all without speaking to a SPECIALIST in asthma.

Regular doctors don't know crap all about drugs in general, and about asthmatic interactions, even less so.

Incompetent medical care of my asthma nearly killed me when I was a child and again recently.

Knowing you, of course, you will get good and informed right quick.

Sarah said...

But... what about the benadryls I take at night so I fall asleep?

Schaughn said...

My friend and I were in Wal-Mart to get some prescriptions filled. They told her 20 minutes. SO....we wandered off. After forever had passed, we went back and checked in. We were told that they were extremely busy, and to check back in another 10 minutes...so we did. My friend went to pay, and the amount was clearly wrong. Her prescritons should have totalled 150 dollars...but did not. So...she mentioned the drug name that was missing. The cashier said "That's not on here?". Friend said "No, and I've been waiting for over a half an hour to get it". The cashier said, in a very heroic way "Wait here. I'll be right back". She charged over to a pharmacist, did not appear to be pleasant about it...and in a very put upon manner, walked to a shelf right by the door, printed out a label, and gave the cashier the product. As she came out...we hugged...danced...sang...

Oops...but you get the idea.

Shaynec said...

Allavert for me; asthma and all.

Max said...

Hey Sarah.... sounds like the usual... the docs are not quite the "gods" they hold themselves out to be... insteaed are a small step above the 17th century witchdoctors.

Good luck in your search for a treatment that works!