Thursday, July 09, 2009

You Had Me At "Rectal Bleeding"

Or, Theater of the Absurd, In One Act.
Or, A Visit to the Dermatologist

Me: "Are there any side effects to this medication? Because I think I've heard there are side effects."

Doctor: "Side effects? No-ooooooo...heh heh. " Brushes meaty jowls expressively with hands. "Maybe just a little dryness, nothing to worry about!"

Doctor scuttles from room like a Kafkaesque roach man in white jacket.

Nurse looks apologetically at me, and daughter, who is actual patient in question. One eye looks apologetic. Lazy eye is more uninterested, I feel.

"Let me just get The Book," she says, and disappears also. Returns with John Deere catalog. Only not John Deere catalog. It is the Book of Dire Warnings.

Nurse: "Now. You'll need blood work every 30 days, two additional prescriptions, registration in a data base complete with social security number, and to take and pass a test. Written. Every 30 days. Also, the blood work must be in an exact window of time, or you will have to begin the entire procedure over for that month. We will need to be able to reach you at any time. Okay so far???"

Me: "Ah. Wel-"

Nurse: " Now. Side effects include: (reads from catalog) Headache, dizziness, stroke, seizures, bowel pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weak bones, stoppage of long-bone growth, hearing loss, vision loss, high cholesterol, joint inflammation, decreased red and white blood cells, diabetes, and serious allergic reactions resulting in severe face and tongue swelling that can stop breathing.... Also, a little dryness and skin irritation. How are we doing?"

Daughter: "Bleeding?"

Nurse: "Many of these can be permanent if not caught early. Also, there are withdrawal symptoms. Mostly occasional rage, and depression. Also suicide." Nurse looks up, closes book with air of achievement. Checklist reading and patient counseling, done and done.

Me: "Wait! You were in the room when I asked the doctor if there are any side effects. He didn't mention any of those. Was he lying to us?"
Nurse: Shifts slightly in rolly chair and taps front left tooth with ballpoint pen. "Maybeeee......I should get the doctor back?" Rapid, rapid blinking.

Me: "Is he going to read to us from the book?" There is a sarcastic tone.

Doctor returns.

Me: Sarcastic tone is now full-blown agitation, in manner of Woody Allen. "I asked you if there were side effects, remember? I did! You said 'a little dryness'. But now we hear there are a whole list of serious side effects. That's not 'a little dryness'! Why didn't you tell us about those? How common are they? I need some idea. Like.....1 in a million? 1 in 10,000? 1 in 100? "

Doctor assumes thoughtful back-of-book-jacket author pose. Crosses feet. I see he has little pointy shoes. Meaty jowls and tiny feet.

Doctor: "Oh, well, uh, not very common, I imagine..... Hard to say.... Heh. But, you know, for her (gestures vaguely in direction of daughter) it could be a 100% chance. Who knows? I certainly couldn't say."

Doctor chuckles at personal wittiness. Leaves room.


Nurse: Clears throat. "Um. " Blink. Blink. "My son took this drug. He couldn't stand it. He had...." Leans forward intently, voice dropped to dramatic whisper, "full body chapping. Even the bottoms of his feet. " Raises pen hand in air and pumps twice, as in Can I get a witness up in here?? "Then he had trouble blinking. His eyeballs were all dried out."

Pause. More silence.

"Don't tell anyone I told you this, okay?" Lazy eye, in particular, looks worried. Nurse places John Deere catalog on chair.

And then we are alone. We stand. We race-walk from building.

Daughter, slightly breathless: " So, what's rectal bleeding again?"

Me: "I'll tell you in the car."


The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

OMG - yeah. so yeah... is okay that I laughed out loud for like 5 minutes at that??


Little Ms Blogger said...

I bet if one of the side effects were 'possible penis detachment from body' the doctor would have memorized all the side effects.

Funny story, but very sorry to hear it.

Kurt said...

I thought "full body chapping" was turn into a turn of the century gentleman and I was totally going to take this medicine. Rectal bleeding is worth is to turn into a chap. You probably just saved me from my life as a raisin just now.

Jules said...

Nice! And I think the drying of the eyeballs sounds like a GREAT time! ESPECIALLY when it goes along with the rectal bleeding. Because if your eyeballs are dried out, you probably can't SEE the blood from your rectum.....

Good doctor. Good.

Michelle said...

Oh my goodness - dry eyes rectal bleeding SCARY!!

I am glad you race walked out of there, perhaps you should have ran???

diane said...

I think braving a few pimples far outweighs the consequences of taking that medicine. My son had really bad acne when he was a teen. He was taking something that had side affects, like suicide. I made him stop taking it. So he switched to a facial care program that he found in the back of a magazine. Now he has perfect skin, not one blemish. But most importantly, he's still breathing.
I'm so glad you ran out of that office, I don't trust doctors/pharmacueticals.

Miss Yvonne said...

My dermatologist told me once that I would be an attractive woman if I lost some weight in my hips. I asked him if that advice came free, or would there be an extra copay for it.

Also, a decrease in both red and white blood cells??? I'm no doctor, but that sounds pretty bad.

DouglasDyer said...

There's not one word of this that didn't leave me petrified. Full body chapping? The FDA is OK with that?

Nanodance said...

They wanted to put my son on a medication that has one little side effect.

A rash.

A rash? That doesn't sound so bad.

Except that if you get the rash, then you die.

CatLadyLarew said...

RUN, don't walk to a new doctor! The scenario you pictured would be hilarious if it weren't so scary... and so often true! I used to go to a doctor whose favorite line was "I'm not impressed with this _______". He said the same thing every time I'd show him an area of concern... like a detached limb or something. Now I see a lovely man who takes everything I say seriously... including questions like, "What are the side effects?" Actually, I take that back... he tells me all the side effects before I get a chance to ask.

BTW... you might want to get yourself one o' them thar John Deere catalogues. It might come in handy next time you have an ailment. At least it would tell you more than the doctor would.

erin said...

My daughter has moderate exscema in the folds of her elbows and I took her to the Dermatologist for some cream or balm or something and he recommended a steroid. Taken twice a day until it cleared up and then every time it came back.

I said,"Really?? It's dry skin...I was just looking for something to prevent itchiness."

JackAss Doc replies, "Oh, this will stop itching and she won't be embarrassed by those splotches."

She wasn't EMBARRASSED by them until you said that JackAss!

Why don't we just start giving our kids plastic surgery now to prevent them from dealing with the fact that they might have wide hips or small boobs? Or moles.

kate said...

Ahh, the joys of bad skin. I feel for her...I'm 25 and I still have the complexion of a pubescent teenage boy. I've been on every medication under the sun - my most recent came with "little to no side effects"...unless you happen to have a sulfa allergy, in which case, you will be covered head to toe in quarter-sized hives while your hands, feet and face start to swell and breathing become difficult (or so I was lucky enough to find out).

Has she tried the topical stuff? I've found that a good oil-free facewash (Neutrogena has a good one) and a prescription strength topical gel (like Differen) works wonders.

That Baldy Fella said...

I'm pretty sure that "full body chapping" is something that happens in alleyways between gentlemen over the age of consent.

Wow, that was awkward said...

It is stories (hilarious, btw) like these that keep me from bothering to ever go to the doctor.

C.B. Jones said...

Modern medicine is a joke. I only put my trust in Flintstones Chewable Vitamins, and Ovaltine.

Dr Zibbs said...

dots a good von.

Char said...

Good grief! Those peeps at the FDA are one fine group, aren't they? I was checking out (on-line)a drug for arthritis, and when one of the side effects was death, I decided I could live without it.
Its scarey out there.

Margo said...

doctor's suck. unless they're one of the good ones. I think it's so weird how one of the side effects of some medicines is "broken bones"... do they do this spontaneously?

Cat said...

"Lazy eye, in particular, looks worried." Seriously? Almost shit my pants.

Ohhhhh maaaaan your dermatologist story is so much better than mine. See? THIS is why you have kids.

Captain Dumbass said...

What's more fun then bleeding out your ass?

Vic said...

The Crazy, Sub Mom,
Even ten minutes would be acceptable, as long as you didn't stop breathing, because that's a lot on my conscience.. :)

Little Ms Blogger,
I think I could take care of the "penis detachment" for him, drug free.

So you'd be wearing a bowler hat and a diaper? Not everyone could pull off that look, but I think it could work for you. Chappie!

Do you think the Scritch-scritching of your eyeballs would be enough to distract you from the blood running from your backside? It's a tough one to call,really.

We would have run, but they had that industrial carpet - too much of a tripping danger, and then you're at their mercy.

The thing is, she just has some mild stuff going on. It was only the second visit, so he essentially jumped from BB gun to nuclear bomb in medication choices.

We're already looking at non-lethal alternatives.

Miss Yvonne,
I hate your dermatologist almost as much as I hate ours.
You, however, are fabulous.

Maybe it helps preserve you ?- you just add water later to reconstitute, like freeze-dried onions or something. I don't understand any of it, that's for sure.

Aah. A lethal rash. No stress there at all. I'd be checking his arms with a flash light all night every night and go insane from sleep deprivation.

Good call on skipping that one!

We are definitely shopping for a new dermatologist. My regular doctor is like the one you describe, thank God.

Unfortunately, the catalog was all about just THAT drug. That's how bad it is.

I know! And everything is a "disease" now too. Did you know acne is a disease? Me either.

I hope your daughter didn't take that too much to heart. No girl needs that.

The hives and swelling sound awful! We're experimenting with some topical stuff I researched, things that won't kill you, preferably.

That Baldy Fella,
See, I'm a product of the American West, I guess. When I picture "full body chapping" it involves the leather, crotchless pants cowboys wear over jeans. Or not.

Wow,that was awkward,
I'm definitely starting to wonder why we bother too. I'm going to be like the dad in Big Fat Greek Wedding, who puts Windex on everything. That'll work, right?

C.B. Jones,
Have you tried the gummy Flintstones vitamins? They're like gummy bears, so you can eat tons of them and OD just a little bit.

Dr. Z,

It is scary. The treatments so often seem worse than the original "problem".

I wondered that about the bones too! Do they just spontaneously snap? Or can walking down your stairs do it because the bones are too brittle/spongy now?

No way, your story was hilarious. I almost feel bad laughing, because you get nothing but grief from the medical world, but it's so funny I can't help myself.

Captain Dumbass,
Hmmmmm. It is hard to top. We knew a lady once who had a condition which caused her eyelids to adhere to her eyeballs. I'm not sure how she slept.
That might be worse than rectal bleeding.

MJW said...

You are flipping hilarious! I am at work and laughing my arse off! Loved it!

lilaphase said...

What's the name of that medication? I'd like to get some for a 'special' friend.

PorkStar said...

LMAO... rectal bleeding.. ouch

That Baldy Fella said...

Well, I don't think those two are necesdsarily mutually exclusive...

@eloh said...

What in God's name is this for?

Dominica said...

very painful, explaining kids or teens anal situations...first reaction will always be ; Eeeewwww ! Mom !!
(and then they look like you are the one who's causing this bleeding !)
Side effects are the reason why I'm reluctant in taking meds every time !
I remember having to take pills for something minor and it caused me a very heavy stomach ache ! Also had a dermatologic cream against spots in my teens and ended up with an allergic reaction to it and gave me a beautiful 'I'm human, not a beast- elephant woman head'....

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

Yeah. Acutaine? Lucky she's not older, they would have put her on the pill and given her 25 pregnancy tests and told her if she got pregnant while on the medication she'd give birth to a fried oyster. Not sure about that last bit, I started to drift off at that point. I might have been hungry.

miss. chief said...

yikes. NOT WORTH IT is what i heard in all those side-effects!
full body chapping!
imagine the bottom of your feet chapped?!!! sick!
and the not being able to blink thing and rectal bleeding and suicide...
not cool

Soda and Candy said...

Jesus Christ, Vic.

I love you for being able to make this into a blog post. I'd be planning the murder of Doctor Meaty Jowls.

Cynthia L. H. said...

Wow. A real eye- opener.
And not dry ones, either.
...and somebody had to pay him money to help clean his pool and wax his Mercedes.
Darnit. Life.

Organic Meatbag said...

My brother took medication once that warned of the possible side effects of "Lip smacking" and "Mask-like features"...what the fuck is that??!!

Jocelyn said...

Is one of the side effects meaty jowels?

Holy crap and all.

Girl Interrupted said...

He sounds like Dr Hibbert from The Simpsons!!

If Dr Hibbert was a part-time axe murderer.

Drew said...

Holy crap. You are too funny

Nej said...

Catching up on my blog reading, and...OH MY GOD!!!!

I can't believe you didn't run from the room, as fast as possible. :-)