g l i t t e r a t i / l i t e r a t i

fabulously true tales from the ladies of the left coast

Thursday, June 01, 2006

How I Became a Doctor and Other Reasons My Internet Should Be Taken Away

I have a heinously out-of-control aversion to peeing in a cup. Not that there are many people that enjoy it, but I am without a doubt extra-specially manic about producing bodily fluids on command.

Which is what led me to WebMD instead of Real MD. It seemed much simpler to log on and anonymously type in symptoms instead of explaining to 3 attending nurses, a doctor, a receptionist, the elderly lady sitting to my right, and a pharmacist that I had to pee on a pretty much constant basis and could no longer ignore the throbbing knot of pain that had taken over the spot where my kidney used to live. (An explanation which would then, of course, lead to peeing in a cup.)

WebMD confirmed that I did, indeed, have a UTI, but assured me that it was really no big thing and lots of chicks get it, and because I had really grown to trust my WebMD in those few minutes, I believed it all.

After developing such a stellar patient relationship with my new doc, and still high from the congratulatory rush of a correct self-diagnosis, I felt confident in my ability to recommend my own course of treatment. That course consisted of drinking gallons and gallons of water until I peed out whatever the fuck had crawled up in there and decided to make my life miserable, and doubling up on the dose of whatever over-the-counter treatment I could find, with a little cranberry juice thrown in for luck.

Granted I didn’t read the pamphlet that came along with my home UTI treatment, but I am telling you: at some point, it would be nice to warn the consumer that taking these pills will not only not make your UTI go away, but will also terrify you every time you pee (which trust me, is a lot) as all the liquid in your body has now been turned day-glo, traffic cone, oompa-loompa juice diet orange.

I was prepared to accept this setback in my “recovery” and continue patiently forward, until the pain in my kidney intensified to the point that even my strongest OTC sleeping pills (one pill over recommended dosage) turned tail and ran like a bitch, leaving me lying in the dark with an angry kidney and a bladder that continued insisting to me that it was full when it clearly was not, and no good TV. So maybe, I thought, it’s time for a follow-up?

Luckily, even in the middle of the night, WebMD managed to squeeze me in right away. I thought maybe we should have a chat about this kidney pain thing, because I didn't feel like I had grasped the full intensity of the situation our first go-round.

Turned out WebMD had some grave news to deliver. It seemed that WebMD had made a slight diagnostic error, and I didn’t have a UTI after all. I had a kidney infection. And I’m sure WebMD was only trying to be a responsible health care provider when informing me that a kidney infection was something I could most certainly DIE OF. Or at least require a kidney transplant, and we all know that cute kid Juan that didn’t ten kinds of screw up his kidney with all that drinking at art school is getting a fresh organ WAY before me. My only real shot at landing a kidney in the look-at-how-cute-and-yellow-I-am-please-donate! market would be to bribe a member of my immediate family, and I promise you: their kidneys are even more screwed than mine.

It would be fair to say that at this point I worked up the closest thing I can muster to a feeling of urgency when it comes to visiting a medical center, and I went over WebMD’s head for a second opinion.

(I’ll spare you the early details of the visit, but since in doing so I’m basically destroying the humiliating climax you’ve been waiting on, I’ll give you this: it involved peeing in a cup at the command of not one, but two uncomfortably salty nurses who both had issues with wearing out their private-moment welcome.)

I was sitting on the paper table, wondering why they made you sit on the table even if you just wanted to talk to the doctor when the room is full of perfectly good chairs, and thinking maybe it was to remind you how important good spinal alignment is, and when did mine get so bad? it really shouldn’t take this much effort to sit up straight, when Kate walked in.

Kate is one of those perfectly adorable elfin pregnant women who somehow manage to make maternity clothes look way cooler than normal clothes, and because of that, I was ready for us to be best friends and talk about why I couldn’t stop taking a leak every five minutes and had begun to avoid shirts that involved lifting my arms over my head, which only angered The Kidney.

Kate then gave me enough antibiotics to cure at least 0.09% of all the bacterial infections in the history of the world, and told me to lay off the WebMD. What she said almost made sense, because I don’t know if you know this, but if you think hard enough, you are probably currently exhibiting multiple symptoms of pretty much any disease on WebMD. Seriously. I have, like, everything.

So after realizing that I wasn’t dying and didn’t have the 35 cancers WebMD warned me I might have, I decided to go cold turkey on the old doc.

But there’s this web site where you can write your own Mexican prescriptions....


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