Tag Archives: doctors

13?!

My endocrinologist, who I now see for my newly acquired thyroid problem (thank you, pregnancy) is 80 years old and the NICEST man, but also quite possibly the weirdest, and he never lets the appointment end without giving me parenting advice that I did not ask for.

Doctor: “The books are going to tell you all kinds of things, and everyone is going to have their opinion, but let me tell you right now, the best thing you can do is have your baby sleep in the bed with you.”

Me: “Oh, yeah I mean I have no judgement about that. I’m not sure it’s the route we’re going to take, but–”

Doctor: “I’m telling you, do it. It’s just the most wonderful thing to have your kid in your bed with you. And don’t let anyone tell you it’s dangerous, or it’s not healthy. That’s nonsense. Don’t listen to the critics– you can have them sleeping in your bed with you ’til they’re 13!”

Me: (laughing) “13!? Alright well THAT’S a little extreme.”

Doctor: “That’s what my wife and I did with our son.”

Me: img_6189-3

Doctor: “Yeah and I’ll tell you what, he grew up to be a very nice Jewish man. Very successful, very smart, very well-known. Went into politics. ”

Oh. Is this him?

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My Uterus is Wearing a Catcher’s Mitt and Now We Can’t Go to the Beach

This post is intended to serve as both a PSA to those of you who do NOT want to get pregnant and perhaps a reassuring bit of news for those of you 35-and-ups who hope to have kids (or MORE kids) at some point and have underlying anxiety about the non-stop, aggressive warnings from the medical community that it is much harder to conceive after age 34.

Now, I’m not here to argue with science. Clearly, there is medically researched backing to the idea that conception becomes more difficult as you get older. I’m just here to make you aware of the less-talked-about phenomenon that occurs in your mid-30s, but is just as real* (*have no scientific backing for this claim, based solely on personal experience and, you know, “what I’ve heard”)– it’s called Catcher’s Mitt Syndrome** (**not a real syndrome. Don’t quote this to people without a sense of humor– they won’t get it, and then they’ll research it, find out it’s fake and report me to Snopes).

Catcher’s Mitt Syndrome is when your geriatric*** uterus (***not my term– actual medical term for when you are 35+ and trying to have a child) overperforms. See, thanks to your 17+ years of popping birth control pills like tic tacs and/or using other means to impede its life work, your uterus hasn’t been given any opportunity to fulfill what it believes to be its life’s purpose (I am not saying this IS its life’s purpose, I’m just saying that’s what your UTERUS thinks. I fully support a woman’s choice to never have kids, and in fact encourage that choice. Trust me, I’m a teacher– I’ve met far too many parents who probably shouldn’t be parents.)

And so when your Guterius (celebrity couple name for geriatric + uterus) DOES get that one opportunity to shine, it gets so fucking excited that it dusts off the cobwebs, sprouts 27 limbs, and slips a catcher’s mitt on each of them. Then it does everything in its power to catch one of those incoming suckers because it knows this might be its only opportunity. This “last chance” mentality also causes your Yogi Berra uterus to text-alert your ovaries, encouraging them to release every available egg from their dark, abandoned storage room, which is why twins are more likely**** as you get older, even without the assistance of IVF (****statistic based on what my 35-year-old friend who just had twins told me. But she claims her doctor told her that, and I believe her because it sounds legit, and also this friend is a general knower of stuff and we used to share custody of a bunny when we were teenagers, so let’s just say I trust her. Yes, we ended up giving that bunny away because it was too much work and not as much fun as we thought it’d be, but that’s a story for another time and hopefully not at all reflective of our parenting abilities).

Needless to say, Eric and I did not know about Catcher’s Mitt Syndrome when we headed off to our 2-week South Africa/Seychelles honeymoon in late November. Like most people with a Guterus, I assumed that making a baby would take about 6 months if we were lucky, a few years with medical assistance if we were less lucky, or just wouldn’t happen at all. In fact, as proof of the absolute and utter uselessness of anxiety (my therapist would be so proud right now), I have spent the past 8 years worrying that when the time came for me to start a family, I would be unable to. This fear was based on absolutely nothing other than the knowledge that I would probably not get married until my mid-30s (because when you’re having a mental breakdown, living at home, and sleeping in your parents’ bed at age 27, you can safely assume marriage isn’t happening for a while).

Eight years of worrying I’d miss my chance, only to conceive on the first try. Anxiety, you deceptive bitch! Don’t get me wrong, I am EXTREMELY grateful that it turns out you’re nothing but a lying whore– I’d just like those 8 years of wasted energy back. It was exhausting.

So before we left for the honeymoon, I looked at my handy dandy ovulation app and noted that my “fertile days” would begin and last right through our 5 days in the Seychelles, at the end of our trip. Smack in the middle of paradise seemed like as good a time as any to get started!

Well, in true-to-me fashion I managed to contract a stomach bug of death during our last day in South Africa, which had me projectile vomiting through 2 countries, 3 airports, and 2 aircrafts (one of them a 20-seater so again, fellow passengers and unamused flight attendant who aggressively tried to block my path to the toilet during taxi, I’M SORRY.)

We finally arrived in the Seychelles, where I threw myself dramatically onto the sweet salvation of the bed and, with this exact level of energy and enthusiasm r7qewnm.gif , turned to Eric and said “Sooo….I’m ovulating…”

I still had dried throw up on my chin.

“Alright, well….maybe not tonight,” he replied gently, from the furthest corner of the room he could find. Because even Eric has his limits.

While I did stop puking that night, I never fully recovered from my illness in the time we were there, but we still put in some minimal baby-making effort because it just felt irresponsible not to.

It was only on our last day in the Seychelles that we decided to actually consult a calendar and calculate when this baby would actually be born, should we conceive. To our horror, we realized that it would be during our annual 2-week trip to the Outer Banks, the family vacation to end all family vacations– and, more importantly, the one that is fully financed by Big Steve. My siblings and I literally spend the year counting the days until this trip, and it’s pretty much what gets us through life. Eric has grown to love the Outer Banks as much as I do, so the idea of not going was unacceptable to us both.

Me: “Alright, well, we only tried once. Luckily the chances of getting pregnant on the first try when you’re 35 are zero*****.” (*****Again, all quoted statistics are based on NOTHING.)

Well, you know how this story ends– I never felt fully recovered from that stomach bug and by our second week back in the US, I decided that I definitely contracted an African parasite. Shortly thereafter, we confirmed (via 4 separate home pregnancy tests, because reading lines is hard), I DID have a parasite, but technically it was of Seychellian (Seychellese? Seychellite?) origin, and that parasite was going to turn into a human.

So, of course, we’d like to thank Catcher’s Mitt Syndrome for this blessing that is our daughter-to-be, but we also wish we had known about this phenomenon ahead of time, as we would have scheduled accordingly.

“Yeah, but your parents will just switch the vacation dates, right?” many of you have queried.

Oh, you sweet, naive people from normal families.

Here’s how the conversation with my mother went:

Me (right after taking pregnancy test): “So…we’re pregnant! The only issue here is that the due date is August 26, literally smack in the middle of the Outer Banks vacation…”
Mom: “Well, we don’t know that’s the due date.”
Me: “Ok. We do, though.”
Mom: “Let’s see what the doctor says.”
Me: “The doctor is going to say that’s the due date, because I used the exact same calculation method a doctor uses.”
Mom: “Em, let’s just see what he says, ok?”
(after going to doctor)
Me: “The doctor says the due date is August 26.”
Mom: “Ok, well let’s just see what happens.”

So no. No one is switching anything.

The takeaway from all this? It’s six-fold:

  1. Ignore research-based science and listen to my unfounded generalization that is based on one thing that happened to me once– conception at age 35+ can actually occur very fast, because your uterus has now become Hamilton and it is not throwing away its shot.
  2. Be grateful for this phenomenon, but schedule life plans accordingly. All-expense-paid vacations are precious. Yes, so are babies, but I’m just saying– shifting things a month never hurt anyone.
  3. Everything I’ve presented in this post is based on stuff I heard/experienced. I don’t know if it has any general merit so do not quote me, unless you’re doing it in a light-hearted, jokey way. Like, don’t tweet this at NIH.
  4. If you think these theories DO have some merit, google them and see if you find anything to back them up. I’d love to know what you find! “But why didn’t YOU google them to see if they have merit, Emily?” Because that’s not my job here. I write a blog, not a medical journal.
  5. No, this post is not an ungrateful, whining complaint about missing a vacation to have a baby. We are of course thrilled that this happened so easily for us, know that we are extremely lucky, and this post is all in jest. It annoys me that I even have to include these disclaimers, but there is always that person who takes offense, and while I don’t understand then why you continue to read this blog, I still feel the need to address your complete misunderstanding of how humor works.
  6. For this entire post, I am sorry, Eric.

I Failed the Intake Process

When you meet with a hematologist re: a blood disorder, the first thing they do is take your medical history to determine if you’ve ever had bleeding problems in the past.

Hematologist: “Ok, this is probably the most important question that will help me determine your blood clotting status– have you ever had any surgeries?”

Me: “No.”

Hematologist: “Lucky you! Have you ever broken a bone?”

Me: “I broke my foot about 9 years ago. Fractured my wrist when I was a kid. And, well, my nose was broken when I had a nose job, obviously, if that counts.”

Hematologist: “You had a nose job? But you just said you never had surgery!”

Me: “Oh, well, that’s like, not really a surgery.”

Hematologist: “A rhinoplasty is definitely a surgery.”

Me: “Ok, well, you say surgery, I say birthday present. Or family rite of passage. Or my mother’s suggestion. Or–”

Hematologist: “Ok just tell me if you had a bleeding problem during or after surgery.”

Me: “No.”

Hematologist: “Ok, any other surgeries I should know about?

Me: “No.”

Hematologist: “Have you ever had problems with your gums, or had gum grafting?”

Me: “No. But when I had my chin done they did cut through my gums in order to–”

Hematologist: “You had a genioplasty?! That’s ALSO surgery.”

Me: “Ok, well, that’s a very fancy word for it. And again, it wasn’t so much a surgery as just an add-on or a necessary complement to the nose–”

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I need a Jewish doctor.

 

 

A Tired, Dehydrated People

I recently had blood work done that showed low thyroid levels, so my doctor referred me to an endocrinologist.

Endocrinologist: “Your thyroid is inflamed and operating at about 60%. You’ve likely had chronic hypothyroidism your entire life, but sometimes stress can really bring it to the surface. It likely runs in your family. Is anyone in your family ‘high-energy?'”

Me: cracking-myself-up

Endocrinologist: “So no?”

Me: “To quote my brother-in-law– ‘The Lermans are a tired, dehydrated people.'”

Endocrinologist: “You said you have 3 siblings. All low energy?”

Me: “My sister has one setting and it’s this: img_2021-6. Jeremy is essentially a bear living in eternal winter. There are times on family vacation, during his 3rd or 4th nap of the day, when I have actually leaned over and checked his pulse. Zack has spurts of energetic enthusiasm when motivated, but then needs a 16 hour slumber to recover from his efforts. He also….like….talks…..like…..this…..”

Endocrinologist: “And your parents?”

Me: “My mother moves at the pace of a snail on Valium and has the voice of a soft bird. If you’re not sitting DIRECTLY next to her, or better yet, on her lap, forget about being able to hear or understand a word she whisper-mumbles. That being said, she IS active, like socially and activity-wise. It’s just, like, a slow-motion active.”

Endocrinologist: “And your Dad?”

Me: “Can’t sit still. The one exception.”

Endocrinologist: “Your husband?”

Me: “Like a corgi puppy lapping up a dish of Red Bull. Is that even important?”

Endocrinologist: “No I’m just enjoying your descriptions. None of this matters. Your thyroid’s broken, here are some pills.”

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Stigma

Went to see my general practitioner for my yearly check-up today.

Doctor: “Are you still taking Prozac for depression and anxiety?”

Me: “Yes, 30mg.”

Doctor: “Hmmmm. That’s more than you were taking last year.”

Me: “Yes…”

Doctor: “But you just got married?”

Me: “Yes.”

Doctor: “Well that’s a happy event! That didn’t help the depression?”

Me: “It was a happy event. I’m not sure what that has to do with my mental illness.”

Doctor: “I would just think the wedding would boost your spirits, no?”

Me: “It did. It also boosted my husband’s spirits– and yet, wouldn’t you know it, he still has diabetes!”

 

Yeah, so. I need a new doctor.

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You Need to Find a New Line of Work

Xray technician: “Ok, hold still, face forward, I’m going to take an xray of your neck.”

(pause as she takes xray)

Xray technician (looking at xray): “What the…?! What IS that?”

Me: “Oh my god, what?!”

Xray technician: “There’s a huge mass on the xray, right where I’m trying to get the photo.”

Me: “A mass?!”

Xray technician: “Yeah…right…Ohhh, oh oh. It’s your bun.”

Me: “My hair?”

Xray technician: “Yeah. Try putting your hair all the way up on the top of your head. My bad.”

Me: “Jesus, you scared me. Did you have to use the word ‘mass’?!”

Xray technician (laughing): “Sorry about that. It’s been a long Monday. You know how it is.”

No. No I do NOT.

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Overactive Bladder

I’ve been complaining about my frequent urination issues for a while now, so, urged by friends and family, I finally went to see a urologist.

Urologist: “So what seems to be the problem?”

Me: “I have to pee ALL the time. Way too much. Way too often.”

Urologist: “It sounds like you might have overactive bladder.”

Me: “No, I KNOW I have an overactive bladder. That’s what I’m saying. That’s the only symptom. My bladder is overactive.”

Urologist: “Right, but I’m saying, that means you probably have Overactive Bladder. That’s the name of the condition.”

Me: “Are you serious?”

Urologist: “Yes.”

Me: “So they just took the one symptom and named the condition that?”

Urologist: “Well…yes. Essentially.”

Me: “That seems lazy.”

Urologist: “I’m sorry you’re disappointed.”

Me: “So I just paid to hear things I already know. Things anyone who knows me knows.”

Urologist: “Possibly.”

Me: “Is your job even real?”

He’s doing a cystoscopy on me next week. But I’m pretty sure he recommended it just so he could say a big, medical-y term I’ve never heard of and prove his job is real.

I’m on to you, pee doctor.

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Lessons in How to Handle a Biopsy

Eleven days ago I had a biopsy done because my doctor saw something that looked, as he so eloquently and not at all alarmist-ly put it, “less than impressive” (what every woman wants to hear from a man staring up-close at her half-naked body…but I digress).

Since then, I have spent 11 days googling and thought-spiraling myself into a diagnosis of about 568 different versions of cancer. (Are there even that many kinds of cancer, you ask? Well, the answer is YES, if you count all the varying combinations one could have. Because some people have ankle cancer and eyebrow cancer at the same time, guys). So in the past week and a half, I’ve been having pounding heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating profusely, plagued by nightmares, and overall haven’t been able to relax. At all.

My doctor just called and everything is completely fine. The results were 100% normal.

So clearly, there’s a lesson here.

If you make yourself sick enough with worry and completely destroy your mental health (and the mental health/patience/will to live of those around you) for 11 solid days, God will say “Ok, everyone here has suffered enough” and reward you with a clean bill of physical health.

So YOU’RE WELCOME FOR THE ADVICE.

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