Wednesday, March 14, 2007

No, you're not going to die, but you are fat.

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.


joan said...

Now I'll be looking for an article telling visitors they don't want to get bubonic plague.

JanetLee said...

Joan, as well they shouldn't. Unless they complain about the humidity in August, then they deserve a little plague.

Marcheline said...

Hey -

That post gave me flashbacks of Ahnold in "Kindergarten Cop" yelling "IT'S NOT A TOOOMAHHHH!"

Hee hee! Glad you're better!

- M

Saphyre Rose said...

It reminds me of last October and I had a lump scare...problem was by the time I got to the doctor, the lump was gone!
It was on my right side near the arm pit. My husband felt it as well, so it wasn't my imagination.
With my past history of cancer I had to go through all of the tests, but they found an enlarged or blocked duct, nothing to worry about.
Easy for them to say!
I lost a lot of sleep and Lee got more gray hairs during that 3 week time frame.

I really hope everything is well with you.

JanetLee said...

M- I almost put that as "Loki's" comment!

Rose- I'm glad your scare turned out okay also. So far, so good here, no lumps except the one between my shoulders!