I went to the doctor. I told her about the pain. She asked if I injured myself or possibly overexercised. I said no, this seems to be an allergy attack.
She didn't understand. She said she'd never heard of that. I told her that I have this problem when I eat dairy, that I've tested it, and this is definitely the symptoms that I get when I eat dairy. That's why I don't eat dairy now. She asked if I might have accidentally eaten dairy and I said that I could have been crosscontaminated when I went to Starbucks on Tuesday but the soy mocha tasted like a soy mocha and they knew to not put any dairy in it.
"Any chance you might be pregnant?"
"Are you sure?" she asked with complete seriousness.
"Yes. I have not had sex in the last 9 months. I'd know by now."
"When was your last period?"
Someday there will come a point where a doctor asks a woman if she might be pregnant, gets laughter as a response, and says "me neither!" instead of "are you sure? When was your last period?"
She asked me to point out where the pain was and I told her how it progressed and where it was right then. She asked me to describe the pain. I told her that I didn't know if this makes any sense but it feels like my arms are being digested from the inside out. I started crying. Then I started apologizing for crying. Then I started that maneuver where you hold your breath so you don't start sobbing. She said that she would give me some time to compose myself and come back in 20 minutes.
I felt like I wasn't listened to and then abandoned. I started sobbing loudly enough that people walking in the hallway would have heard. For ten minutes. Nothing says all hands on deck like extended sobbing that's audible from the next room when the door is closed.
After a minute I texted Cute Boy Person, who was already worried because I gave him the secret code for "my allergies are causing enough of a problem for it to be a psychiatric issue." I told him that last night, I got pissed off at my T-cells. That's very very bad because killing off your T-cells is a very feasible thing to do. I told him that my doctor's bedside manner sucks, she doesn't believe me, I started crying and she left the room. He didn't respond.
Finally the doctor came back and said that she'd looked through some of my file while she was gone and I definitely have allergy symptoms that she's never seen, so we'll find a way to treat the pain and she'll send me out for tests and she will alert my primary care physician, who she assured me is a very smart doctor. I love my PCP. That woman is brilliant and wonderful and one of the best doctors that I have ever had; she listens to me and she recognizes how smart I am. I totally lucked out when I got randomly assigned to her.
My phone started making incoming text noises. But back to Ms No Bedside Manner. She wanted to send me out for a bunch of blood work, testing me for lupus and lyme disease and liver function and kidney function and all the blood work and... the more she talked to me, the more tests she wanted to throw at me. And I reminded her, I don't have health insurance. She said "oh right, and I looked at how much you paid. You paid a LOT to see me. Let's make this worth your while."
She decided that I have joint pain, which is not accurate. The pain starts in the center of my upper arm. There is no joint there. But she wanted to treat it as joint pain so she wanted to prescribe anti-inflammatories.
"The computer won't let me prescribe that because of this drug allergy."
"It should be fine. I have taken other members of that class and haven't had a reaction."
"Well, how about... won't let me. How about... not that one either. I don't want to take any chances here."
"Oh, good point. If it is an allergy problem, we can't risk a crossreaction."
"What have you taken for pain before that's not this class?"
"OK, I'll give you 15 of that... wait. You paid me [many] dollars. I'm going to give you 30. But only take a half! I don't want anything to happen to you on my watch."
When I was gathering up my stuff to leave she said "we're going to find out what this is."
"I think I know what it is."
"Oh, what do you think it is?"
"Mastocytosis but it's an orphan disease so why would it occur to anyone?"
"Masto... mast cells... something with mast cells. Why do you think that?"
"Too many mast cells. The eczema on my face is similar to a diagnostic symptom of it. It includes the intestinal symptoms, muscle or bone pain, pressure urticaria— which I will have under my bra right now— numerous food and drug allergies, non-dangerous throat swelling, sensitivity to chemical smells. But the test will be expensive because they have to take.. shoot, I forget the name."
"Probably bone marrow."
"Yeah, that's right. They test bone marrow for that."
"You should also look at eosinophils. That might explain it too."
"I have looked at eosinophilia, actually. It's definitely similar but not quite as aligned with my symptoms. My niece has that. That's how I started looking at looking at these conditions. When the doctor described eosiniphilia to my mother, she realized that it sounded just like me."
"Well, between [primary care physician] and [head of the allergy clinic] we'll find it. They're both brilliant doctors. Just get health insurance, fast."
I have pain pills now. I feel good enough to drive to Oakland to see Mr. B but not good enough to risk taking a shower first. I haven't showered since Tuesday. I can take more pills when I get there if I need to. Hopefully I'll feel good enough to risk a shower and do the full day tomorrow.
I figure people should be happy that I plan to brush my teeth.