Here’s the thing about being a nurse. See, we know all this medical stuff, but that’s only for you, not us. And any illnesses (in ourselves) we either ignore or we jump to conclusions that scare the shit out of us.
Last Saturday night I was working with a couple of ladies who had an in-depth conversation regarding the ravages of cat scratch fever on their loved-one’s lymph nodes. I rather snottily remarked that, although I’d had cats all my life, I’d never had cat scratch fever. Thus implying my superior immune system.
So karma had to intervene. Sunday morning, I arrived home and in the process of undressing, feel a stab of pain under my left arm. And double dog damn if there wasn’t a marble sized, very painful lump there. (I tend to be extremely suggestive with asthma type symptoms, but nothing has ever swollen up on me before due to my borderline hypochondria.) I showed it to Jason, who was more interested in his looming deadline than my armpit. I told him it could be bubonic plague. His reply: “What other ‘don’ts’ can I list for visitors to Charleston?”
When I woke up Sunday evening, it had grown to the size of a golf ball and was so painful I couldn’t put my arm at my side. I spent the night with my hand propped on my hip. I also spent the night being scared shitless by a former oncology nurse.
“Did you do a breast exam?” she asked.
Well, yes, I did. The real one, I told her, the stand up, lean down, hands on the hips shake ‘em, squeeze ‘em, toss ‘em over your shoulder exam that you are supposed to do every month.
“You have breast tissue in the armpit, you know.” She said.
Yes, I know that. I also had a strong suspicion that it was a lymph node and so began to feel a little panicky as I hadn’t had any infections/cuts on that arm or anywhere for that matter. I rushed right home Monday morning and called my doctor's office and begged for an appointment first thing Tuesday morning, then went to sleep with the assistance of a generous dollop of Nyquil.
And woke up with a tiny pinpoint of a lump and some residual tenderness.
So I went to the doc, embarrassed, but not embarrassed enough to cancel my appointment in less than 24 hours and have to pay the entire cost. “Hey doc, wanna feel my armpit? There’s nothing there.” She agreed it was probably a lymph node, did a breast exam and found nothing, sent me on my merry way with instructions to “Keep an eye on it. And lose some weight and start exercising”. Because my bad cholesterol is up. Thanks. I come in half expecting to have cancer and am told that I’m borderline obese and probably going to have a stroke from the goo clogging up my arteries.
I stopped for a sausage Egg McMuffin on the way home. That’ll show ‘em.
Loki sez: I think I have a tumor on my head.