Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tales of a routine medical appointment

I went to the doctor today because I'd hurt my foot, somehow, on Monday. No idea what went wrong, and the worst trauma I could think of is that maybe I stood on it funny. My family doctor wasn't available, so I went to student health, for what I figured would be a routine exam.

It's never that simple when you have a chronic illness that most doctors know little to nothing about.

"A bit of swelling, but no bruising. Hmm, hmm. And you have an autoimmune condition. And you take [looks at my chart and reads off the names of my medications]. Yes. Numbness? Tingling? Nerve pain? So your pain doesn't normally feel like this. Problems with your eyes or bladder? Have you been sleeping ok? Do you have a fever? No? I'll take your temperature. Open your mouth and say Aaaaah. Ok I'll just listen to your heart and lungs. What's your blood work like? Any clear explanation for those numbers? Yes? And you're not worried? Ok, fine, fine. Have you had your rheumatoid factor checked lately? Have you? You have! Ok, ok, ok. Uric acid? Urine test? All fine? Yes? Oh, that's good - maybe it's just broken."

As he's writing a requisition for an x-ray (I did check and fortunately, all he wants to x-ray is my foot), I ask why he insisted on checking my vital signs for something that's so localized to my foot. "You were here," he explains. So I get up to leave, and when I'm halfway out the door, he stops me.

"Blood pressure?"

I am lucky I left without a pregnancy test.

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