it's a little scary. What started out as a normal visit at student health turned into a referral to a gastroenterologist, and perhaps a cardiologist, depending on how the nurse practitioner feels at my next followup visit. 3 appointments later, and all I know is that no one knows what's wrong with me. It's been a week of tests, and there are more to come. That first visit at student health I weighed in at under 110 lbs, for the first time since 8th or 9th grade. I've been sick for a long time, and it's probably been a month since I've slept through the night. I want to be well, but the simple approach of "rest, and let my body fight off whatever this is" is obviously not going to work. And, y'know, when a doctor says that what I thought was just me aggravating a high school injury looks like rheumatoid arthritis to him, well, that's scary too. Particularly when he follows that statement up with a barrage of tests he wants run, including one that's normally done on people TWICE my age.
And then there are those other questions...questions that result from being a US citizen, in a time when healthcare reform is not yet completely realized. What if this turns out to be some chronic condition, requiring treatment for the rest of my life? What would that do to our ability to pay for health insurance? I've planned my entire education in a way that prepares me to work in the foundation/nonprofit/NGO world. A chronic, serious illness would make that impossible (Yes, I'm also a pretty darn capable social science researcher, but believe you me, academia is not some place I want to be if there are other options).
One of my girlfriends who's been through something similar (and is doing GREAT now) remarked on how humbling this sort of thing is. "Humbling"- I wish I'd thought of that word. It's remarkable...that no matter how educated I am, no matter how educated and smart the healthcare professionals I'm seeing are...there's no way to know how long it will take for me to get better. I'm more or less confined to the couch these days when I'm home. I'm giving class my best shot, and trying to work on GA stuff, but it's different. I usually work at a furious pace, but right now I take a lot of naps. It's remarkable when you come face to face with your limitations. I shouldn't be allowed to wax melancholy or insightful right now- I haven't been sick long enough, and I'm hopeful that in another 2-3 weeks, I'll be back to 100%.
But we do a fair amount of whistling in the dark here these days, and a whole lot of laughing at my decrepit duck waddle.