Saturday, January 5, 2013

I Am Not A Doctor, But I Play One Over The Phone

Look away! This post is hideous. It's not for the weak of stomach. You have been forewarned.

Do not expect this to be a tale suitable for June Cleaver and her everyday pearls. Not unless ol' Junie has been beset by that banished Women of Atlanta photog, who has asked her to straddle a chair, backwards, while wearing men's clothing, and to take those pearls into her mouth, and ever-so-slightly suck on them.

I love my mother. Truly. But she has some wacky ideas. Perhaps it's a generational thing. She went to her doctor for a check-up yesterday. Rode the trolley from the parking lot to the door of the hospital/clinic building. She asked the driver why the parking lot was full. "Well, it's all these sick people. Everybody's sick! I've got a terrible sore throat right now myself." Mom mentioned to her doctor that she has had sinus issues. That two mornings ago, she woke up sick to her stomach. She thinks it's from that drainage down the back of her throat. He prescribed Amoxicillin tablets. You know Amoxicillin. Kids take it in the pink bubble-gum flavored liquid form. Mom has pills to be taken twice a day for ten days.

Mom is a bit of a hypochondriac. Shh...I don't want to hurt her feelings. But it's true. Last year, she had a nosebleed issue for which I took her to the ER. She called me and said she was having a really bad nosebleed, and she needed to go. That she didn't think she could drive herself like she had earlier that morning. Hear that? She had already been to the ER once that day with a nosebleed. Since she's on bloodthinners, I did not want things to get out of control.

The way Mom described it, blood was pouring out of her like ocean into the corridor on the Poseidon that ultimately became Davy Jones's locker for Shelley Winters. I imagined her to be spouting buckets of her life liquid. Needing a bucket hung under her nose like a human maple tree giving up its sap. When I arrived, she was holding a towel over her nostrils. I saw a couple of blood spots. It was not soaked. But because Mom was near to panicking, I drove her to the ER. The whole way, she sputtered that she was strangling on the blood running down the back of her throat. I told her to lean forward, and spit it into the towel. Again. Red spots. Not a river. She was not exsanguinating on my watch. To hear her tell it, one would have thought that swallowing all that blood would have left her abdomen bloated like the belly of a fly-eyed third-world child, robbed of nutrition by a peckish Sally Struthers. The ER staff fixed her up. She called me at work the next morning in a panic that it had started again. But sitting quietly for an hour made it stop. She's fine.

So...yesterday she took the first antibiotic pill around one o'clock. She had memorized the side effects pamphlet. She really didn't want to take that medicine. She never takes much medicine, she says. Only all of her blood pressure meds and vitamins and calcium and fish oil and cholesterol stuff. Long story longer, she called me at the stroke of nine this morning. I could tell she had been waiting until what she thought was a respectable hour.

"I was SO sick last night! I had diarrhea. I did not take that antibiotic pill at night. I didn't think I should. I think I'm having a reaction to it. And this morning, I am SO nauseous. I could hardly eat a Little Debbie cake and take my morning medicines. Do you think I should call the doctor? Or try to take another dose this morning?"

I told her that it was pretty early for that antibiotic to cause a reaction like severe diarrhea. After one pill of the twenty prescribed. That it might happen while her body adjusted. Didn't the pamphlet say that? She agreed that it said something like that. But the thought of more food made her sick to her stomach. She didn't even think she could eat half a Little Debbie with that pill. Okay. To begin with, ever since my dad died fourteen years ago, my mom's meals consist mainly of Little Debbies, snacks, meats, and breads. Nary a fruit nor vegetable crosses her lips without a good haranguing. I suppose she thinks she's an off-duty cook now. That she can do as she pleases. I don't begrudge her the reprieve.

I knew that Mom's term diarrhea could mean anything from pooping twice in one day, to pooping two turds instead of one, or having a moist poop instead of a rabbit-pellet-dry one. I kind of doubted that she was pouring buckets of brown poop-water out of her nether region every thirty minutes for six hours. So I asked her how bad it really was, that diarrhea. "Oh, I had to go several times. Then I fell asleep last night from eight to eleven, so I didn't think I should risk taking another pill and being miserable all night." She did admit that she had not had any more diarrhea. But that she felt nauseous when she woke up. Apparently forgetting that she had felt the same way two mornings ago.

Seems to me that Mom might have been coming down with some bug already, before even going for her checkup. Or that she might have picked up something in the waiting room. When I mentioned it, she said, "Do you really think it would have hit me so soon?" Even though the antibiotic ingestion resulted in almost instant diarrhea.

Because I know of my mom's penchant for harboring expired foods, I asked her if she ate anything when she took that first Amoxicillin pill. You know. Because the pamphlet usually says to take it with food. "Well, I DID eat some chili that your sister brought over. And I had some slaw with it." Okay. So Mom admitted to a sumptuous repast of chili and slaw, roughage so foreign to her system that I am shocked they were not stopped at the duodenum for a passport.

Am I the only one who sees another possible explanation for the diarrhea?


Sioux said...

That second-to-last sentence, about the duodenum--made me snort aloud, it was so funny.

I think your mother is sitting on a goldmine. She could be making loads of money instead of just doling out her talents for free.

She could compete with Kosmo and his much-shorter friend, for the "good" parts at the local medical school. From the sounds of it, your mom has the symptoms down pat. No smoky background or darkened room necessary for her.

Chili, slaw and Little Debbies? Yeah, I think there's another culprit besided the antibiotic.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Well, who DOESN'T enjoy a good duodenum reference?

Now I am beset with the image of my mother sitting on a gold mine of poo.

Let's hope that if she goes the med school acting route, she is kept on a separate floor from pigmen, suicidal car-divers, little boys who need three home runs hit for them, elderly women with neck problems from catching their adult sons treating their bodies like amusement parks, and formerly obese men with accidental Junior Mints sewn up inside them during surgery.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

My dad always enchants me with a list of everything he has eaten since I last spoke to him, then, for some reason has to describe the same food exiting his body. It's those close father/daughter moments I look forward to.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Maybe your could encourage him to take up a hobby, like collecting expired foodstuffs.