I don’t like doctors. I don’t trust them. As much of a dick as my father could be I have to give props to his diagnostic skills. But now I have to make do with what I’ve got, which is an HMO. I know.

Last week I went to my doctor because my ankles swelled in mid-June and never went down. At all. Ever. I’m talking can’t-put-my-shoes-on kind of swelling. The kind where it hurt to walk more than a few steps. I tried everything. I tried over the counter diuretics, severely restricted my salt intake, got on my exercise bike, sleeping with my feet elevated. Nothing worked. It got to the point where a couple other people actually commented on it. So I made the appointment.

The practice I go to gives each patient a summary printout of the visit so that the patient can keep track of what’s going on, what happened and what they are supposed to do next. I glanced at mine and left. I remember what happened. She took my blood pressure (twice) and gave me a prescription for blood pressure medication. 😦  Then she walked me down the hall to the lab tech, where I got stabbed and donated some blood for more tests.

When I got home I looked more closely at the summary.


  • 496
  • 278.01
  • 300.00

I work in insurance. I look at diagnosis* and procedure codes all day long so I know what those codes mean, but just in case I wasn’t aware, they put a little explanation beside each one.

  • 496  Chronic airway obstruction, not elsewhere classified
  • 278.01 Morbid obesity
  • 300.00** Anxiety state, unspecified

F-f-f-f-f-uck. I have known about the COPD for almost 10 years. I am also aware that I am fat. And the anxiety got on there because I started seeing this doctor a few months after MoC had the stroke. But seeing it in black and white? That sucked in a way I don’t think I can even describe.

I quit smoking. For two years. I am so angry with myself that I think I need to go smoke and calm down.  It’s never going to go away and if I don’t quit smoking 5 minutes ago it will probably kill me – that is actually what killed my mother, 13 years after she quit smoking.

So. Yeah. Looks like I have a few things to keep me busy. There is an exercise bike in my basement, healthy food in my refrigerator and an electronic cigarette in my purse.

Fun times.

*I used the word ‘diagnoses’ (dye ag nos eez) with a supervisor once. She corrected me and told me I must have meant ‘diagnosises”   I told her the proper plural was diagnoses. I got fired a few months later. I’m sure there was no correlation between the two.

**I considered asking the doctor to remove 300.00 on my next visit because I really don’t want that in my medical record. But then I decided she would probably smile and nod and write down 298.3 – acute paranoid reaction.

PS The blood pressure medication is working. All the swelling was gone the day after I started taking it.