Friday, August 03, 2007

Not sick

I decided about three weeks ago that since I'm paying lots of money for health insurance and may have a latex allergy that I should start seeing a doctor again. It'd been about seven years since I had a regular one - I had my pediatrician through high school, then went to college and used the campus clinic, and haven't seen a medical professional since graduation. I went in and got the usual blood screening, and referrals to an allergist, who I'm seeing in about two weeks, and the radiologist because the doctor wanted a chest X-ray and seemed curious about my knees.

Anyway, I forgot all about the whole thing and was riding bikes in Connecticut with a friend when I got a call from the doctor's office that he wanted to see me about something on my blood test. So I scheduled an appointment and started examining my lifestyle.

That followup appointment was last week, immediately following a midnight-9am work call. It was like a bad dream. I was sitting in his waiting room, drinking a really big cup of coffee to try to stay awake, when he called me in. The coffee was finished at this point, so as soon as I sat down in his office, I was half asleep.

"You have hepatatis!"

"No more drinking!"

If life were a cartoon, I'd have jumped through the dropped ceiling in that little room in that odd little office building with the directory in Chinese with English in smaller letters below the characters that most people in that neighborhood prefer. Life's not a cartoon, but it certainly shocked me awake. So I had more blood drawn and got a referral to see the radiologist again for a liver ultrasound, and he sent me home. I scheduled the radiologist appointment and took a nap before that night's work, midnight-7am.

I was a bit distracted that night, as you might imagine. The ultrasound thing was a new experience for me, but I didn't learn any more about whether or not I was sick or to what degree. I scheduled today's office visit, and spent the following week continuing to examine my lifestyle and being generally nervous. The conclusion I came to was that if I had Hepatitis B, it would kinda suck but odds are that I'd get over it, and if it was C, then life would be totally unfair because I don't use intravenous drugs, see prostitutes, or have unprotected sex.

All of which brings me to today. Negative for Hep. C., no Hep. B., and the enzyme levels that prompted the diagnosis are back to normal. I have to see the doctor again in a month and I can't start drinking again, but all that really means is that when my friends are inebriated I'll be sober enough to find them utterly boring and I'll go home earlier, sleep more, and generally have a healthier lifestyle. I was starting to cut down my alcohol intake anyway.

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