It was three days in a row of Christmas celebrations for me: December 24 with my extended family at Grandpa’s nursing home, December 25 with Michael and his family, and December 26 with my own family at my parents’ house. It was okay, I guess. My abusive brother didn’t show up, and I was very glad. Presents were so-so. Michael gave me a gift card which I used to order Every Man Dies Alone (one of the best novels I’ve ever read) and Treblinka Survivor: The Life and Death of Hershl Sperling (which I haven’t read, but which looks good). My friend John gave me a copy of The Great War and Modern Memory, which we both read for school several years ago. My parents got me a t-shirt and seven pairs of socks. (I collect socks.)
My nephew was over and on impulse I gave him several books I thought he might find interesting — my own books, but they’d been languishing in storage up in the attic for years. Two of them were sex trivia books and my sister found out and blew a gasket and made him give them back and made Mom lecture me about it. And the boy is eighteen years old! I wouldn’t have given him the books otherwise.
The headache thing is kind of up in the air. On Thursday I was in screaming agony and the Vicodin Dr. Easley had prescribed didn’t work. I asked Michael’s roommate, M.F., to take me to the urgent care clinic again. There the physician’s assistant was deeply concerned by behavior and the symptoms I described. He got the hospital to send in the CT scan and showed it to me: the sinus infection is mild and, he says, cannot explain my symptoms. Perhaps Dr. Easley jumped on it simply because it’s the only abnormality the scan picked up.
The P.A. questioned me about my antidepressants and said, “Quite frankly, you’re acting very oddly.” He suggested I might have Serotonin Syndrome, something I categorically denied. I tried to explain that what he was seeing — which was me trembling and rocking back and forth and mumbling and refusing to make eye contact — was quite normal for me and something I pretty much always do when I’m under stress. He called in the regular doctor — something that doesn’t happen too often. They fussed over me and my CT scan some more. They decided to give me a shot of Demerol but the P.A. warned that this would not last. The words “Band-Aid” and “artery wound” were used.
He asked if I had driven there myself and I said no. Then after I got my shot he said, “Why don’t you wait in here, and I’ll get your friend to keep you company.” (They make you wait like 20 minutes after a shot, just in case you have an allergic reaction and die.) I said I’d rather wait in the lobby and he said, “Well, what’s wrong with here? Are you uncomfortable in here?” I said I didn’t want to take up a room that could be used for seeing patients and he said, “We’re not busy now. Just let me get your friend.”
I decided he must want me to prove I really did have a ride home (a person isn’t supposed to drive under the influence of Demerol, since it makes you all loopy and sleepy) and so I told him M.F.’s name. The P.A. brought him back and then said to him, “You know her better than I do. Has she been acting strangely over the last few months, since she started getting these headaches?” M.F. replied that, other than being irritable because of the pain, I was behaving pretty much as I always had. Finally they let me go. I was actually pretty impressed by the P.A.’s thoroughness.
I was very discouraged by what the P.A. said about my CT scan. I still am. He said that if I’m still getting headaches by Monday, it’s definitely not the infection because by Monday the antibiotics should have it largely under control. That makes sense to me. So I’m keeping watch. I got Dr. Easley’s office to prescribe Percocet for me and that’s working to control the pain now. Friday afternoon (Christmas Eve) I had a terrible headache. Since then it’s been better — the pain is either absent, or not so bad when it’s present.
It’s not that I am worried about having a life-threatening condition. I don’t think I do have one. I’m just worried that either they won’t figure out what’s wrong with me, or they won’t be able to fix it and I’ll have to deal with this for a very long time.
And I suppose I ought to just bite the bullet and start telling people I have Asperger’s Syndrome. I hate the stupid diagnosis and resisted it for a long time, but bringing it up might prevent medical professionals from interrogating my friends about my supposedly abnormal behavior. After a disastrous face-to-face visit with an online friend who was freaked out by my behaviors, I actually made a list to give people in the future when I stay with them, saying things like “My rocking back and forth is nothing to worry about” and “If you are curious about something I’m doing, kindly ask why I’m doing it, I won’t be offended.” I may make a similar list to give to unfamiliar doctors.