No matter how well-informed a patient is, no matter how much of the differential diagnoses have been considered, no matter how well a patient seems to know and recognize patterns not just for a wide variety of diseases and illnesses, but particularly for one already experienced first-hand, chances are well nigh nine in ten that your doctor will patronize you. The whole time I was in that room, I was Brad Pitt on the couch in True Romance, stoned and out of it but still sharp enough to know when he’s been dissed.
I mean, honestly. I have all the symptoms, have been through this before, have double and triple checked it on eMedicine.com and WebMD because I don’t like to waste doctors’ time or mine, and dammit, I know when excruciating muscle aches and flank pain very fucking well could be a kidney infection. No UTI ever made me wish for coma.
I don’t even know why I bit. I mean, I got the antibiotics, and that should have been enough. But the way he looked at me after the examination and said, “Well, you’re kinda strange. It’s not usual to have pain on both sides. Usually only one kidney is involved.”
“What I actually said was that both flanks hurt, but that one hurt more than the other, and that the rest could be attributed to referred pain. Same goes for the lower back, leg and neck pain.”
Oh, and the skin crawlies. Ever get so that you can’t stand the merest touch on your skin, when the brush of softest cotton feels like sandpaper? Oh, let me tell you, I was in agony in the waiting room, allowing Dylan to count the freckles on my arms to pass the time. BOOM. “One…” BOOM. “Two…” and so on to BOOM. “Twenty-seven. Now let’s do the other arm!”
And then I did what I try not to do, because it’s just not nice. After the doctor gave me his sympathetic looks and made a fuss of looking up antibiotics that would go with the truckload of other medications I take, he said, “I’ll treat you, but for a UTI. And I don’t think you’ll need to come back to see me.”
I couldn’t help it. “No, I won’t need to come back. I just needed the prescription. My pathologist step dad and I can take it from here.”
He gave a wistful shake of his head. “Well, you know, he works with dead people—”
“Actually, no, he doesn’t. He is or has been editor-in-chief of at least three of the medical journals you probably read to stay on top of your practice. I’ll be fine.”
In other news, I just received three nice emails from Phil:
- “I hope you are feeling better. I wish there was something I could do. Maybe I will make soup.”
- “Your soup is on the stove as we speak!”
- “Soup is still simmering—smells good…”
I knew that if I fell in love again it would be with a chef. A nice chef.