About a week ago, I went to the hematologist, and the appointment was not a success. Let me tell you though, I was unhappy when I left. Not crazy-unhappy like when I had to be sedated to have an MRI done. Not nervous-unhappy like waiting hooours in the waiting room for an MS appointment. Just unhappy. Here’s why…
First, I convinced my mom to go to this appointment with me so let’s address this. Some people may think this seems a little ridiculous that I like having a family member go to the doctor with me, but it’s for several reasons:
- I cannot remember anything. Anything. I mean major things I said or actions I did even yesterday slip my mind. My friends will say, “How on earth can you not remember when you..,” and it’s true. I just don’t. Sometimes the stories scare me, well, not the stories exactly but the fact that I did something so major and have no recollection of it. It’s as if I have a split personality and this different person inside of me is saying and doing… while me (or who I think is me) did not and would not say or do what others believe I supposedly already said and did. Confusing? That’s just a dash of being me. Anyway, this is why I like to have someone with me — Because I cannot remember anything so it helps to have reinforcement ears (and many times, someone that offers to take notes while I mostly look deer-eyed at the doctor).
- I’ve been to so so.so.so many doctors visits now that I understand a simple doctor’s visit means at least a 45 minute wait time or more (like over two hours which it is has before). This means it is nice to simply have a friend there, to talk to, to get your mind calm. Granted this appointment was not a scary one, but don’t we all know by now it is nice to have a friend by your side? Yes, yes it is.
- After doctor’s appointments, I like to run errands. I see doctor’s appointments as an errand so it mostly starts my day and then I continue running errands until dinner time. In fact, now that I think about it, doctor’s appointment days might be reserved as exclusive errand running days. Here again, I like to run errands with my mom as she is my best friend so she is mostly dragged to these appointments before we begin our List of Places to Go.
Alright. So I brought my mom. And briefly put, the appointment was a mess. You’ll remember in Answers, Part II I was going there after a sudden and frightening emergency room visit where the doctor thought I had a bladder infection… but the urologist said I didn’t and that I might have a blood disorder… but the hematologist said I had… (wait for it…) nothing. *Exasperated sigh*
At the doctor: Basically a finger prick of blood then a wait. (Sidenote: I would much rather be prodded with a needle than a finger prick. It hurts more, and I cannot get out of my head that people are different — some have thick fingertip skin, some are thin; some have blood vessels near the tip top of their fingertip, others have a little bit more cushion tjere… and I just do not see why in this day and age we have a one-size-fits-all finger prick thing. It grosses me out.)
Moving on. Soon, the hematologist came in — a younger male, really tall, and very… unknowledgeable. He began by asking me why I was there; I told him. Then, he asked where the pain was concentrated in my ER stint; I told him and mentioned that it really hurt most under my right rib cage to which I learned is home to my liver and gallbladder (probably the most interesting tidbit of the appointment, sadly). Next, he told me he would look at my blood work and determine if there were any blood disorders. My mom and I were curious. “What type of disorders could there be?!” we gasped. “Oh, there are a vast amount of blood disorders” and sighed — like “Don’t bother me with such piddly questions” and here on “vast” he said, “vaaaast” imagine in that rich, uppity accent that should be followed with “my deeeeear” or something while he has his pinky out and sipping from a mojito. “Mercy! What types are there?!” my mom questioned, now nervous, sitting up straighter and ringing her hands. “Weeeeell,” (picture that accent again) “weeeeell,” (now the doctor is blushing and not looking at us) “weeeeeeell, just soooo many that there’s… weeeeeelll, there’s… there’s just a lot of them — too many to naaaaame, you know.” Humph. Too many to name? And you are the blood doctor?! I thought about pushing him further to belittle and embarrass him (a bad trait of mine), but then quickly rationalized that that will not accomplish anything so I let him feel more comfortable rushing out of the room (a good trait of mine).
Once he left, I did my own research *clearing throat* and learned anemia is one of the more common blood disorders. I did a lot of research, spouting off facts as my mom listened and we waited. We’ve secretly always thought I was anemic and again, we came right back to that conclusion. Let’s bullet again. I’m in a bullet-type of mood.
- For starters, it’s where one’s body lacks healthy red blood cells. Interesting because for whatever reason or another, a large population of my red blood cells like to go MIA.
- Then there’s fatigue or loss of energy which I always face but blamed it on MS (which I mean, it could be). I joke that I can fall asleep anywhere, but I really can. I feel bad when friends see me because I often believe I am sitting there listening alertly on the sofa and suddenly, I wake up and they ask if I enjoyed my nap. It’s how I would imagine narcolepsy to be.
- And tinier ones like shortness of breathe, headache, dizziness, pale skin, leg cramps, insomnia. Again, check, check, check, and keep checkin’.
Yet, when the doctor came back, he tells me the same thing every other doctor has said: You are not anemic and showed me my blood results, which he now had back. Further, he said he did not know what was wrong (*Grrrrrr*) because my white blood cell count was back to normal (big surprise as I obviously was not in the emergency room). Remember, a normal person’s white blood cell count is between 5-10,000 and at that time, I had a perfect six-point-seven. He also showed me this paperwork:
which broke down my white and red blood cells. He said the only thing that was slightly low was my RDW (shaded in light gray) which is red blood cell distribution width and notice, it is only slightly less than normal because a regular person’s RDW is between eleven-point-five percent to fourteen-point-five percent, and mine was at eleven-point-three percent. Apparently, if it was crazy high or something that means I’m anemic. In the end, every single column looked pretty dang good, my words not his.
I left dropping a ridiculous amount of money on a visit with a blood disorder doctor that could not name a single blood disorder only to be told I was super-duper healthy. Dead end and frustrating. …Or maybe not? Maybe it’s good no blood disorder popped up. Clearly I wouldn’t want to add it to a growing rolladex of health issues. Still, the problem remains that no one knows what is causing this sudden high spike in white blood cells… I even asked the blood doctor, “If that happens again, what should I do? Was there something else I should ask to get to the bottom of this?” His reply: “See your family physician.” …I won’t get into the aggravation I had and still have when the words “family physician” are said because clearly what I need is a specialist… it’s just no one knows what type.
So, onward in my path for answers. Again! I’m pretty sure I see doctors more than my friends. Friends, I’m sorry. Doctors, hopefully we can navigate out of this dead end. You know, they do have GPS readily available now…