On Saturday afternoon, I made strawberry shortcake for CN. He loved it.
But after he ate, he said he didn't feel well. After some jokes about how I am poisoning him and/or not washing the strawberries, he decided to lie down. I joined him, because I didn't feel well either (little did I know, I was hours away from getting a migraine, and this was my body trying to warn me). Besides, my calves were killing me, thanks to my trainer's brilliant idea that I do 150 calf raises AND 30 pound lifts (45 times) on the calf weight machine at the gym. I would spend the weekend trying to stretch out my calves, only to end up hobbling around on my tippy toes, like some geriatric Barbie doll.
After our nap, I felt a little better, but CN felt worse -- much worse. He had nausea, dizziness, bloating, lower back pain, chills and....let's just say that "things" weren't "moving along". So I spent the evening taking care of him. I felt helpless, because nothing I did seemed to make him feel much better. I tried to stay up late with him -- he was in so much pain that he couldn't sleep -- but I konked out around 11pm. "Wake me up if you need anything," I said drowsily. I suck at being a night owl.
This pattern went on through Saturday night, all day Sunday and all day Monday. CN would eat, feel terrible, lie down, writhe in pain all night, then wake up feeling slightly better in the morning. And he had to go to extreme measures to get things "going", if you know what I mean.
To make things even worse, I woke up with a mild migraine on Sunday, so I was feeling pretty miserable, too. Thanks to a lot of caffeine, I managed to keep most of the pain at bay. So we went to Wal-Mart. But that was it! By the time we left, both of us were feeling worse. We laid around in bed for the rest of the day, feeling like crap!
"Wow, we are one exciting couple," he said.
On Monday morning, CN went to go see Dr. Quack. I call him Dr. Quack because when CN went to him last year, complaining of um....something really gross that can be a sign of something REALLY bad, he told CN to "just cut back on alcohol".
WTF?? A young, otherwise healthy man comes to you, complaining of unexplained bleeding, and you tell him to cut back on beer??! ARG!
"I really wish you wouldn't go see him again," I said. "He's a quack!"
"Well, I already made the appointment," he replied.
CN comes back from the doctor and calls me at work. "Ok, Dr. Quack says I have a kidney infection."
"But you have been complaining about gastro-intestinal issues," I replied, confused.
"Yeah, I know. But he tested my pee, and it came back infected. So I'm on antibiotics."
I remembered his lower back pain -- it must have been in his kidneys. That kind of made sense. I asked him if Dr. Quack said anything else about his other symptoms.
"Yeah, I told him about the dizziness, and he said I probably have congested sinuses, so he told me to go buy some Mucinex," CN replied.
"Do you have congestion?" I asked.
"No," CN answered. "But I bought some anyway. Just took the first dose."
Who the hell is this doctor?? I thought to myself. And why is my normally intelligent boyfriend just accepting everything he is saying as gospel?? Doesn't he see that this doc is a moron?? Apparently, I am going to have to just do all this for CN, because he cannot be trusted to be in charge of his own health. This is so ridiculous.
That's when I recognized this particular Voice in My Head: It was the worst voice of all. It was the voice of The Czarina. I was turning into my mother before my very eyes. As terrifying as it was, I couldn't stop it. It was like a ventriloquist had taken over my body. I was the dummy on her lap, saying whatever she would say.
"Ok, well, I will come check on you when I get home today," I replied. [Czarina Voice Translation: When I come over today after work, I am going to make you go see a real doctor who gives logical answers, because I am pretty sure this doctor got his MD from the back of a cereal box.]
By the time I got home, he was feeling a lot better, but he hadn't really eaten anything that day, so we went to grab some BBQ. As soon as he finished eating, he felt terrible again. Seeing the pattern of eating --> illness, I tell him I really think he should go to see a gastroenterologist. I was worried he might have IBS, diverticulitis or an intestinal blockage -- or worse.
We go home, and he's now really uncomfortable and lying on the couch. "We might need to go to the emergency room," he said. I explained (ok, Czarina's Voice explained) to him that if we go to the emergency room, they will put him at the bottom of the list because he's not bleeding to death and he doesn't have any heart/lung issues. Then, once they get around to seeing us at 4am, they will probably tell us to pop some vicodin and call your regular doctor in the morning.
He agreed and decided to stay put for the time being. He took some tylenol for the pain. To make him feel better, I stayed at his house in case he needed anything.
He felt ok yesterday morning -- not great, but ok. I went to work and came to check on him at lunch. It was time to visit a REAL doctor. One who didn't prescribe medicines for non-existent symptoms.
"But I've already been to the doctor," he whined.
"My coworkers recommend Dr. B," I said, ignoring him. He was going to the doctor whether he liked it or not. [Czarina was in full swing now.]
"Shouldn't we wait until the antibiotics really kick in? I mean, I'm fine! This is no big deal!" he said.
That's when I lost it. I gave CN a tear-filled lecture about how worried I was and how he's got to go to the doctor, if only so that I can stop worrying. I listed off all the reasons I wasn't happy with Dr. Quack and told him a bunch of scary stories I had heard about unresolved gastro-intestinal issues. After about 20 minutes of nagging, lecturing, guilt-tripping and begging, he finally caved in and agreed to call.
Dr. B couldn't see him for 2 days.
"Ok, yeah, Friday is ok, then," CN said into the phone.
"No, it's NOT!!" I hissed. "You need to see someone TODAY!!"
We called the doctor recommended to us by Dr. B's receptionist.
"Tomorrow morning at 9? Sure, that would be ok," CN said into the phone.
By this point, I was ready to grab the phone away from him and do it myself. What is it with men and doctors??!!
"Does he specialize in gastroenterology? Ask her if he specializes in gastro-intestinal issues," I asked. CN asked receptionist #2.
"No, he doesn't," CN told me. He went back to talking to receptionist #2.
"My chief complaint? Uh...I don't feel good. Just, ya know, in pain, in my back, mostly," he said.
"No!! You are having severe abdominal pain and nothing is making it better and you need to see someone TODAY!" I practically yelled. I was hovering over him by this point, like a helicopter.
CN made the appointment for the next morning at 9am. He got off the phone.
"Ok, we are calling a gastroenterologist this time," I said.
"But I just made an appointment with a family doctor for tomorrow," he said, confused.
"Yes, I realize this, but you need a gastroenterologist TODAY. Tomorrow isn't good enough. If you don't take health problems seriously, they will turn into serious health problems," I said. I gave him the number I had looked up in the phone book. He called and made an appointment for 2:30 that afternoon.
I took off the rest of the afternoon so that I could go with him.
"This really isn't necessary," CN said, as I made a list of all his symptoms and all the foods he had eaten in the past 48 hours. "I'm a big boy. I can go to the doctor by myself."
"Oh yeah? You can? What happened last time?" I asked.
"He told me I was congested. And I'm not," he mumbled.
"What else?" I asked, shrewishly. I was on a roll, now. This was Classic Czarina, spewing from my mouth. My hands may have even been on my hips.
"And I forgot to tell the doctor all of my symptoms. Or ask questions," he mumbled again.
"I'm going to the doctor's appointment with you, even if they make me sit in the waiting room the whole time." I announced, one eyebrow raised. "Besides, look at you. You're in so much pain, you can't even sit up straight. You can't drive like this."
We went to the doctor, complete with the list of symptoms I had written and all his medicines, including the over the counter stuff. They let me go into the exam room with CN.
The doctor comes in, and we tell him everything. I make CN show him the list I made.
The doctor tells us that sometimes, when someone gets any kind of infection, it can mess with your gastro-intestinal tract. So it was probably the kidney infection causing the gastro-intestinal problems. The doctor asked CN some questions, just to rule out anything serious. CN was fine. Just a little backed up, was all. (Finally! Some answers!!)
"So what's up with the Mucinex?" I asked.
The doctor turned to CN. "Are you congested?" he asked.
"No," said CN.
"Hmmm....I bet Dr. Quack meant to write down 'Miralax', an OTC laxative, but he wrote down 'Mucinex' by mistake. So stop taking the Mucinex if you don't have congestion. Let's get you some Miralax instead, ok? You can get it at drugstores or grocery stores. It's over the counter," he said.
Oh my gawd. You have got to be kidding me, I thought. Jeez Louise. If CN was allowed to do what he wanted, he'd be dead or buying snake oil from some infomercial. I am just going to have to run this show from now on.
"Tell him about your prostate!!" I whispered to CN. CN has an enlarged prostate. It is hereditary in his family. His dad has prostate cancer right now, in fact, which is something you are at a high risk for if you have an enlarged prostate.
CN tells him all about the prostate issues.
"Ok, so let me get this straight. You have a urinary/kidney infection and an enlarged prostate?" asked the doctor.
"Yes," said CN.
"Well, what does your urologist say?" he continued.
"Um, I have never been to a urologist. Dr. Quack just told me to take saw palmetto, that herbal supplement that is supposed to help," CN explained.
You could have knocked the doctor over with a feather! He was visibly shocked. "You mean to tell me that you have prostate cancer in your immediate family, a history of enlarged prostate symptoms AND a urinary/kidney tract infection and you haven't been to a urologist??!" he exclaimed.
Thank you, you genius doctor, I thought. I have been telling him to go to a urologist for months.
"Um. No." CN mumbled.
"I'm referring you to one right away. You really don't need me, you need a urologist," he said.
We made the appointment at the urologist's, paid the bill and drove home.
"Thanks for coming with me, babe," CN said.
"You're welcome. Sorry I had to get all Czarina on your ass, but I was worried sick and you acted like you weren't concerned, and I got scared, which brings out my inner control freak," I said.
"No, I'm glad you did. It shows you care. I was kind of scared that there was something really wrong with me, and I didn't want to deal with it. Thanks for making me talk to a good doctor. I feel a lot better," he said.
"So I wasn't totally obnoxious?" I asked.
"No! You were great. I really appreciate it...Czarina."
"Shut up. Don't call me that ever again," I mumbled.