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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Three Chicken McNuggets That Saved Spouse From Certain Death

Well the labs are in and except for having to take a little bit of synthroid for the rest of my life, my stats are pretty damned good. My bp is low, so low in fact that it took two new medical assistants to examine the equipment to see if it was faulty, then panic and find the regular one who knows me, to tell them that 'not all fat people have high blood pressure. Jesus, get a grip'  My sugar and triglycerides were also impressively normal and I was about to hop off (hop. she laughed ruefully) the exam table when I remembered something. 'Um...take a look at my tongue, would you? I think I might have thrush.'

The look on her face was doubtful and she'd glanced at her watch and nodded when an assistant mentioned her lunch had arrived so I knew time was short and I had to keep her attention. As a rule she was remarkably unimpressed and frightfully forgetful even of things I'd mentioned thirty seconds prior so I went into my spiel.' Remember when I had the flu last month?' Her eyes lit up and she nodded for me to continue. Encouraged, I made my case, 'Well, you prescribed that inhaler because my asthma kicked in and it contains a steroid. In fact, you were going to prescribe the oral steroid for six days too but the last time you did that, I almost took a pickaxe to Spouse's head because of that rare 'psychotic' side-effect and I reminded you of THAT and you agreed it was probably not a good idea and why tempt fate which is why you prescribed the inhaler and told me to use it as much as I needed to? Well because I was out of it for about a month I didn't always rinse so....' She was convinced (I am nothing if not animatedly entertaining) and laughing said, 'Stick out your tongue, Princess.' (They all call me Princess there) and I did and she tried to recover her professionalism but did say, 'EWWWWWWWW' and concluded that not only did I have thrush but it was a very very very bad horrid awful case which might have progressed down my throat so she prescribed a 'swish and swallow'.

I asked if there was something else I could take. I've heard of the 'swish and swallow' and also in anticipation of this very conversation had also conferred with WebMD like any web-rat worth their apple cinnamon instant oatmeal and knew that there was only one thing they would prescribe and it would taste like crap, such bad crap that if crap had to take it would say, 'Damn. That tastes like crap'. She said, 'No' and laughed and asked me mock patronizingly if I'd like to see her partner knowing that I would not only demur but have a visceral physical reaction to the suggestion because although he was a really nice guy, there were no doctor/patient professional boundaries between us in his eyes and I'd spend most of whatever time I had with him, listening to him piss and moan about his wife and how he just wished a giant knife would fall from the sky and put him out of his misery and end it all. I guess he figured because Spouse is Jewish I was used to epic kvetching but this guy was an Olympiad and I'd stagger out of the office stunned, emotionally bruised and if I could get away with it, probably suck my thumb in a dark corner somewhere humming soothing lullabies and rocking myself into a semi-catatonic state. 

The doctor was nice enough to call in the scripts so I stepped out and waited for Spouse. He was getting his lab results back too. He was a wee bit testy with me because when they called me in, they asked if we wanted to be seen together and simultaneously he said YES and I said NO and flounced out of there without a second glance. I had girly stuff to discuss with the doctor and wasn't interested in what he considered 'our options' on organs not found in his body. 

He came out stricken and said, 'Lets get out of here,' and I instantly felt awful that I hadn't been in there with him, in spite of everything, and I asked him what was wrong and out in the hallway he told me that one of his results came back really bad and but they thought it was a glitch so he had to go back again for a re-do. He is by far the healthiest person I know and I figured it was a lab error and told him everything would be okay and reached out to hug him and he pushed me away which is typical and not unexpected so we stepped into the elevator and left.

Later he had to go on an errand and went to pick up the meds and I was instructed to start the 'swish and swallow' immediately and repeat five times a day, so I began the routine and a few hours later I felt as if I'd eaten glass. Then it stopped. Then it started again. Lather, rinse, repeat. At one point I felt a wave of nausea which is not-uncommon as I have to take prescription strength vitamins regularly and they can do that but my mouth started to water and I KNEW and also knew that the mere act of me getting up would cause me to do irreparable damage to my ivory wool berber carpeting so I turned to Spouse who was surfing on his laptop, and said very calmly but very urgently 'I need you to do something right now, please. Don't ask any questions. Just do it, understand?'  He nodded. 'PLEASE GET ME SOMETHING TO THROW UP INTO' and he jumped up and ran inside and I heard the pot closet door slam open, appropriate pot movement noises and he flew in and handed it to me just at the moment I needed it. His timing was impeccable.

I was sick like that (and in other ways that need no explanation, do they?) for a good hour and the whole time my stomach felt like broken glass broken glass walking on broken glass......and I said, 'As soon as I find the strength, I am going to bed' which shocked him speechless because I am the master of insomniacs. I didn't usually hit the bed until dawn. In fact, he was accustomed to my cue for coming upstairs of birdsong outside. He probably didn't understand that although it would have been NICE, I certainly didn't expect to actually get any sleep. I was only 'taking to the bed' because I was so sick and exhausted. I sat there for a good half hour saying my goodbyes and farewells and I love you's online in case I never 'saw' them again and crawled up the steps and went to bed. Then I got up to brush my teeth and wash my face and took two Xanax on the off chance that I might be able to knock myself into some rest in spite of the pain and then crawled under the covers.

He came up about three or four hours later with Wonton. She was miffed that I went up without her and did not do her usual goodnight ritual with me but swished her plume tail in disapproval and disappeared into her little 'apartment' under the dresser next to my side of the bed. I was wide awake and laying there. The TV which normally soothes me just by being on was an irritant and I shut it off and lay there in a fetal position praying to die. The pain did not subside. Spouse was sound asleep and I hated that he could sleep and I couldn't, just for that night. Normally, I didn't care because of my chronic sleeplessness but I was hardly rational. How would you feel if there was barbed wire in your belly? I looked at him willing him to awaken.' Have some compassion!' I wanted to scream but didn't. Why should both of us be miserable, I reasoned and then again I got hit with the wave and my mouth filled up with water again and I crawled around the bed and onto the cool tile bathroom floor.

I opened the doors of the large vanity sink and reached for the little basin I wash my delicates in and pulled it and three boxes of Boutique tissues, a bottle of jewelry cleaner, two bottles of hydrogen peroxide (does he DRINK this stuff) and an open package of Q-Tips which exploded upon impact. I sat there in misery for at least a half hour covered in Q-Tips sobbing and moaning. I heard a noise and Wonton was sitting in the doorway with a 'What's wrong' face and came over and lay down next to me. What made me cry the most was not the pain in my stomach, not the disgusting mess all around me, not even the unsympathetic man asleep in my bed (who needed to work the next morning to be fair) but what made me weep the most was the two Xanax floating in the mess in the basin. I would have no relief. Nothing. Not even that.

I swished and spit out tap water with my hand and cleaned up as best as I could and climbed back into bed. I had chills and was sweating. I threw off the covers then pulled them back up. The pain did not let up so I lay there and watched the stars disappear through the skylight above my head. The day had dawned. And the next thing I knew something was buzzing in my ear. I reached up to wave it away and it was Spouse, dressed and showered. Looking at the clock on the cable-box I noted that I had two hours of sleep and he was asking me if I wanted anything to eat from the diner, maybe some meatloaf and I got up and ran past and around him. He took that as a no and left to lunch with his buddy.

Lying there I tried to will myself to sleep. I thought of some cool dialogue for my book and maybe a new subject for my own blog, the shards of glass in my stomach reminding me not to get too excited.  I did fall asleep and again heard a buzzing around noon and it was him telling me he was home. I told him that I might not be able to make that wedding in New Hampshire this weekend and he was neutral about it and went downstairs. He is very frugal (except when it comes to buying himself a new gadget) so the idea of saving money on gas was outweighing the disappointment of not seeing some old friends. I felt really bad because I love New England and we hadn't been there in over a year. I asked him to bring me a glass of water but he forgot so I threw on a pair of sweats and camisole because I was still yucky sweaty.

I turned on my laptop and logged into my usual haunts and found a lot of warm fuzzy emails and comments and messages in my inbox. I posted an update of my condition in the forum I contribute to the most and a crush said something supportive that was instantly challenged by another alpha male. My friends were texting me back and forth saying did you see this and that aww look he's defending you and I pointed out that it more more Gorillas in the Mist chest beating than saving the delicate fair maiden. It had nothing to do with me and everything to do with male pride and to top that off there were now multiple suggestions all over the internet on how I could off my indifferent husband, from Visine in his coffee to Ex-Lax brownies to asking for that prednisone prescription after all and I had to go back to reassure everyone that everything was cool and his life insurance policy wouldn't never cover spousal-cide so I was SOL there.

Later on he got me juice (which I could not keep down so he drank the entire carton) and Chicken McNuggets (I ate three, he ate the other seven) but as far as I'm concerned he's redeemed himself. FOR NOW.





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