Anticip…–In Which Your Mother Goes Back to the Doctor #StellarStoryChallenge

Dear Lily June,

There are few things in this world that rattle me more than going to the doctor. I’ve talked about this before, but between the ages of 19 and 20, I saw more doctors and specialists than I cared to count, and the worst part was never what they found. For so long, until I got my diagnoses of interstitial cystitis and stress-induced alopecia areata, it was what they didn’t find.

They didn’t find bacteria in my urine, although they were happy to proscribe me antibiotics anyway. One nurse even recommended cranberry juice and asparagus as a preventative measure against UTIs, though, as it turns out, with my condition, that was like pouring battery acid into the open wounds in my bladder.

They didn’t find lupus or any other specific medical cause for my hair loss, although they were quick to point out that stress causes the body to attack itself in all kinds of ways. Great, I thought at the time. Now I have to stress out about how much I’m stressing.

They didn’t find me a new bladder or new hair, not even so much as a zip lock bag or a wig.

In short, I was granted a whole lot of shrugs and referrals and testing to find out why they call medicine a practice and not a final performance. I felt like my body was going through a terrible dress rehearsal (though I never did break a leg…) and that, once on the real stage called life, I might do a much better job at living.

***

This time going, though, Lily, I can’t say I know my lines much better than I knew them the first time around. I still, no matter how well I prepare the script of my symptoms and questions beforehand, get tongue-tied in front of the doctors themselves. Yesterday, at my appointment, it didn’t occur to me, for instance, to tell my doctor that I was experiencing pain on a constant basis.

When she asked, her hand crammed into my lady parts for my examination, if I was having any problems, I clammed up. Amazing that being that open with a stranger wouldn’t stimulate me into conversation.

I was lucky that this particular doctor had an impeccable bedside manner, registered the discomfort on my face, and pried into my medical history until she got to the core of what’s been bothering me. Headaches. Weight loss. Bruising. Unexplained bleeding. And everpresent from the moment the doctors pulled you out of me has been pain.

It has nothing to do with you, Lily, or the miracle of your existence. If anything, your smile has kept these old bones going, even when I’ve felt like internally something was grating my organs up like a finely aged cheese. I have to admit it, no matter how much I’ve been trying to “push on through” to be a good Mommy to you: There is something wrong with me. Physically.

***

When I first scheduled my hydrodistention procedure last summer, I was months into mothering a newborn you and working full time, and I was strapped to the limit by medical bills and a complete lack of sanity brought on by PPD. When my doctor’s nurse called to say they’d have to reschedule because my urologist was going on vacation, I was only too eager to just say “To hell with it” altogether.

I wish I hadn’t.

The recent blood in my urine (the ten-cent word is hematuria, Lily) was confirmed at the doctor’s yesterday. (With all respect to doctors–seriously–I love it when they tell you something you already know, namely the symptom that brought you to them in the first place.) Now, I get the fun of putting my heart in my mouth and laying down on a bed of pins and needles until I get the results of additional testing.

Likely, they will find nothing.

Likely, they will, as responsible doctors do when they have no answers for a patient who is suffering, push me back up the specialist ladder. Likely, I will go back to the urologist and have to, once again, schedule–and this time go through with–that hydrodistention + cystoscopy procedure so that they can fill my bladder up like a water balloon and cram a snaking camera into my urethra.

For some patients, this procedure can actually provide relief. For others, the process is excruciating and can result in lasting pain for up to a month. Guess which camp your mother expects to fall into?

2.
I’m scared the procedure will make me feel like this.

***

In the meantime, beginning again at the bottom rung of a medical mystery, as I did eleven years ago, seemed to coincide perfectly with this week’s Six Word Story Challenge, hosted by the blogger Sometimes Stellar Storyteller. This week’s word for inspiration being “Anticipation,” I wrote the following piece:

You peed in that little cup.

I know it’s not likely to win me anything, but I found just playing along gave me some much needed (at least mental) relief. As your six “words,” Lily, might at this point only be “dada,” “mmphf,” “blahblah,” and “buttered bad guys,” I’m not expecting you to (yet) play along. But I look forward, in sweet anticipation, to someday crafting six-word (or more!) stories with you.

And I hope anyone else tuning into your online letters might join in, too, or at least cast their votes for others with far better narratives than I.

***

When it comes to getting my test results, I feel the feeling expressed in the immortal words of my favorite doctor, Frank-N-Furter:

***

Picture Credits:

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17 thoughts on “Anticip…–In Which Your Mother Goes Back to the Doctor #StellarStoryChallenge

  1. lindalanger6 says:

    When dealing with doctors, it’s like getting a thread of your sleeve caught in the medical machine, which pulls you in and grinds you up. I will hold you in my heart and think of you as you go through this test.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bitsfromheaven says:

    Well, without the proper degree, and filled with anxiousness for you, I say…

    Wowzer! Zoinkiez….perhaps the cursing expletives we use rarely whilst commenting….

    This just sucks.

    I am sad that your lingering issues have done such a kind soul so very very wrong. I don’t have the words, but my heart heart breaks for your long lasting search to be whole. I will keep you in my prayers sweet lady, and my admiration for you is all the more 💜

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Allie P. says:

    Well. Shoot. That’s no good. No good at all. I enjoy a good mystery every now and then, but never one that ends with phrases like blood in the urine. I hope that you find a doctor who can get to the bottom of what ails you. The Mayo Clinic does wonders when it comes to detecting the undefinable disease, but I know that may not be an option. Virtual balloons and lollipops to the patient patient.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Patricia says:

    Just to cheer you up, I’m going to tell you about my experience with full bladders and ultrasounds. I went to Planned Parenthood to have my IUD replaced because I only had catastrophic insurance. They informed me that I had tumors in my uterus (no worries, Fibroid tumors, not malignant) and needed to see a Gynecologist. Not knowing that they are not known to be cancerous, I panicked and made an appointment with a gynecologist immediately. For some reason, I was sent from one location to another and back again and after waiting a couple of hours, I was told to go have lunch and be sure to drink lots of water so that my bladder would be full and they would get better results of my external ultrasound. So I drank the largest diet coke that Jack in the Box had, yes Diet Coke, not water. I had to pee so bad but I had been told not to empty my bladder. When I went to back to their office, I was sent to another office and then back again because no one knew what office I had my appointment at, mind you I had to pee really really bad. Finally, I was on the table and the technician was having trouble seeing anything because of all the gas bubbles caused by the carbonation and gas bubbles are very painful and the liquid caused me to not only have to pee but to have to poop. I was literally crying and begging to be allowed to go to the bathroom. The technicians kept trying to soothe me and get me to hold on but I was doubled up. One tech asked me if I could just let out a little as I pooped and then she said, “No, I guess not.” It had been another two hours since I drank the coke by that time. Finally, they told me to go to the bathroom and they did an internal ultrasound.

    My next installment will be “How do I afford surgery now that I have found out that my insurance wasn’t effective until the day AFTER I went to the doctor’s office?” Word of warning: Just because you get your insurance card, doesn’t mean that your insurance is effective.

    Footnote: No more tumors, no more lady parts, no more birth control, no more visits from Mrs. Jones. Ahh Freedom…👏

    I wish I could be there to hold your hand, in fact, I’ll bet we all do.👭

    No worries, LilyJune, we got this.👩‍❤️‍👩

    Liked by 3 people

    1. dearlilyjune says:

      Patricia, you always know just what to say! Your experience made me want to laugh and cry in equal measure, mostly because I’ve been there SO OFTEN. Because of my IC, I constantly have to void my bladder, but when it came to getting my ultrasounds for LJ when I was pregnant, I had to practically contort myself into yoga-style pretzels just to hold all the water they asked me to drink (a gallon!) inside while I waited for an hour each time!

      I’m looking at–at the very least–$1000 out of pocket for the procedure. Hopefully, they can tack it to the bills I already owe for Lily. If not, this is why God invented credit cards, right? Hallelujah, Visa!

      In the meantime, I am so jealous of your lack of lady parts. I’ve got my beloved daughter now. Bring on early menopause! And thanks, again, for your kindness. It means a lot and helps me feel less alone going through this.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Lonna Hill says:

    I get tongue-tied when I go to the doctor, too. I hate it. I plan ahead, do my research, think of all the questions I need to ask and then can’t seem to think or say anything while I’m there. I spend all that money and when I get home, I’m so frustrated that I left with no more information than before I went. It’s so frustrating. I hope you get the answers you’re looking for soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Blathering says:

    Really sorry to hear that you have to go through all of this, it sounds awful. I’m grateful that I have not had any chronic health problems, (except chronic insomnia for years before and right after having a baby which was a bit debilitating with a newborn that didn’t sleep, but didn’t cause any physical pain!). I am quite sure that I would not have been able to cope with constant pain, medical appointments, and intrusive painful procedures all while having a baby to look after. I hope you give yourself a lot of breaks, for having to cope with all of that.

    Liked by 1 person

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