Thursday, June 25, 2009

Take 2 Aspirin and Google in the Morning

It started with the feeling of being hungry and led to cramps and severe pain. I tossed and turned in bed all night switching from a fetal position to lying on my stomach wishing to smother the pain. I woke after getting about 2 1/2 hours of sleep. The cramps retreated to the lower right section of my abdomen, localized near my pelvis.

On my way to work I stopped at the drug store and bought Gas-X. I kidded myself that it was simply gas; in the back of my mind I knew it was something worse.

After unsuccessfully getting 'real' work done, I decided to do some investigative work. Against the advice of J, I logged onto WebMD and entered my symptoms. All the results pointed to one culprit: Appendicitis. My heart thumped and I broke out into a sweat. This is it. This is what I have, I thought. I called my doctors office and asked if they could see me that day.

If you were to decorate a room using "Design Within Reach" furniture and photograph it for "Real Simple" magazine you would have my doctor's office. There a 2 large sofa's, a glass and steel coffee table, and a leather magazine rack in the spacious waiting room. With all of the soft lighting, I was expecting to see Diane Sawyer appear and conduct an interview. The receptionist’s counter was crafted from smooth white marble and it stretched wall-to-wall, which is about 30 feet. The only inhabitant on the deserted counter was a lone white lily. I imagined my doctor telling the decorator "Clean surfaces. I want to see clean surfaces, no clutter! If I didn't already know my doctor was gay, I would have guessed it the moment I walked in.

My doctor was unavailable so I saw his colleague. I had never met this man before and I don't remember his name now but for the sake of the story I will call him Dr. Tightpants. I told Dr. Tightpants my symptoms and that I believed it was Appendicitis. He ran through his routine of checking my breathing, blood pressure and peering into my eyes and ears. He asked to me lay down and pressed on the area in question. He told me he didn't think it was Appendicitis. He thought maybe it was something I ate but suggested I go to the emergency room if I thought it was serious. Not sure why I spent time calling the doctor's office, leaving work and taking metro to get advice I had already given myself. I questioned the legitimacy of his framed diplomas hanging on the ‘morning dew’ colored wall.

I begrudgingly paid my co-pay and left. I hailed a cab and told the driver to take me to George Washington University hospital. I surprisingly remained calm because I didn’t know for sure and there was a chance the doctor was right. 5 hours later I was being prepped in the O.R. to have my appendix removed. Thanks Dr Tightpants!

I've heard that men can go through a hormonal change as they get older so I recently Googled "Male Menopause.” Perhaps what I’ve been feeling lately is chemical. The medical community calls male menopause, Andropause and it’s essentially the loss of Testosterone (I honestly don’t think I had very much to begin with). I compared what my body has been going through to a list of common symptoms.

  • Reduced sexual desire (get the hell off of me!)
  • Infertility (doesn’t matter)
  • Loss of body and pubic hair (This hasn’t happened but I trim so it would be convenient)
  • Hot flashes and sweats (God, I sweat like Whitney Houston)
  • Poor concentration and memory (What is this list for again?)
  • Height loss and thinning bones (I’m still 6’2 and how can I tell if my bones are thinning?)
  • Swollen or tender breasts (my man tits are still flat)

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