Friday, June 28, 2013

Wednesday with the Doctor at the VA

I had another medical appointment on Wednesday. I've had this appointment before, but always missed it. The appointment was important because I've been suffering from chronic fatigue for a couple of years, and I really need to find out why. The irony is that the reason for the appointment is also the reason for missing the appointments in the past. I'm not sure the people at the VA care about that or not. Of course, all they see is someone missing a whole bunch of appointments. But this time I made it.

First I had to go for some lab tests: blood and urine, as usual. My lab appointment was for 9:00 a.m., but I wasn't scheduled to see my doctor until 3:00 p.m. It's an hour drive and over a gallon of gas to go from home to the doctor's office at the VA, so when I go, I plan to stay all day. I'll find something to do between appointments. The lab appointment time is not really carved in stone. It was my understanding that the tests they do take about two hours, so I planned to get to the lab by around noon at the latest. I actually got there at about 11:00. There was no one ahead of me so I went right in. (I found out, later, when I saw the doctor, that the labs take a lot longer than two hours. Some actually require a day or two. So I wondered why they scheduled the appointments for the same day. Why not do the labs four or five days before the appointment with the doctor?)

 It was a "fasting lab" appointment, which means I didn't get to eat that morning, or drink any coffee, so by the time I had my appointment, I was quite hungry, and starting to get what was probably a caffeine headache. I headed off to my favorite when-I'm-in-Temple fast food joint, Jack in the Box, for a spicy chicken sandwich, some seasoned curly fries, and a diet Dr. Pepper. After I finished my lunch, I headed up to Petco. A friend of mine gave me a Petco gift card for my birthday, so I used it to make ID tags for Buddy and Sadie. (Sadie is a new dog I've adopted. I should have blogged about her sooner, but I didn't. I'll do so in a day or two.) 

I'd been wanting to get some tags for them. Buddy is a wanderer and sometimes wanders out of my sight, and Sadie is new, so not real familiar with the neighborhood. I haven't let Sadie wander too far, but now, if she does, she'll have the ID tag with my phone number. (Just in case you're wondering, I don't intend to let her wander off.)

After I finished at Petco, I went back to the VA with my Kindle. It was only about 1:00, so I had a couple of hours to kill. I had my Kindle, so I started to read Stephen Kings non-fiction essay, Guns. He'd written it after the killings at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut. I got about half way through and decided to check in. By then it was about 1:30. I figured if they were ahead of schedule maybe I'd get in early. I was right. I went back to reading, finished Guns, and was called in to see the doctor shortly after 2:00 p.m.

It was very productive. I got some consults that I needed, and renewed my prescriptions. We talked about my chronic fatigue and the doctor said she'd send me to the sleep clinic. So one way or another, we're going to find out the cause of my tiredness. She was surprised to learn that I hadn't had a colonoscopy when I turned 50, and so I will be scheduled for one. Whoopee.

The doctor - a different one since my last visit - wasn't real comfortable renewing my prescription for antidepressants, so when we were done she had me go over and talk to a psychiatrist. That was a good thing because she suggested that she may be able to help a little with the fatigue, as well. She suggested that I start taking Wellbutrin which, when taken with the other antidepressants, should give me a little more energy. I certainly hope she's right. I'm so tired of being so tired!

I ended up not leaving the VA until just after 4:00. After the hour-long drive home, I was completely exhausted. (I don't think I'd gotten any real sleep Tuesday night.)

And that was my exciting day doing medical things. I await appointments with the sleep clinic as well as a couple other clinics, and the results of my blood and urine tests. Since my life is an open book, I'll share any bad news I get. Let's hope I don't get any.