Thursday, July 13, 2006

No, really, give me my damn meds

So, I suppose I can't attribute my current stress levels solely to my thesis. My phantom thyroid also appears to be going out of whack, as evidenced tellingly by my dry skin, thinnish hair, general inability to focus and raging mood swings (I'm fairly certain that my GIS now lives in terror of doing anything that might turn me into the alternately raging-or-sobbing psychopartner he never knew existed...unfortunately for him, I never know what's going to set me off, but everyone within a mile radius becomes aware as soon as it happens.)

Thyroid-related depression is always exacerbated by another cruel symptom, the "WTF happened to my thighs?!?" syndrome.

Some people enjoy clothes shopping. I used to be one of those feckless individuals until I suddenly found myself clothes shopping every season this year because my lower half no longer fit last season's wardrobe. Shopping's become a guessing game: gee, which size will I take this time? It never helps that current fashions appear to be designed for an alien race of stick insects with large waists and microscopic butts.

Me? I have a butt. I find it quite handy for sitting, but it's a little annoying when the only trousers I find that will make it past the thigh-butt meridian wind up being about two inches too big for my waist. Hello world! Yes, these are my Ex Officio briefs, thanks for asking.

Since it is somewhat alarming for an otherwise healthy individual with carefully cultivated diet and exercise behaviors to find herself going up two or three sizes in about six months, I visited my GP. Yes, this is the same GP whose full prescription for my motion-inhibiting back pain was to keep moving. I stupidly assumed that thyroid problems would raise more alarm, so after emailing my awe-inspiring endocrinologist back home, I went in to ask for a different medication that's commonly prescribed at home for people who just don't cut it with normal thyroxine. T3 has been prescribed in the US for years.

Note to self: in hindsight, it would have been helpful to know that GPs are very suspicious of anything that the US prescribes regularly, as they think we are a country of overmedicated hypochondriacs popping pills in lieu of afternoon snacks.

My conversation went something like this:

"I think that my thyroid levels have dropped a bit."

Annoying GP: "Oh?"

"You see, I seem to have developed a bunch of secondary symptoms --" At this point, she is already checking her watch. Appointments last 10 minutes here, unless you are extra-special ill, in which case you can book for 20 minutes if there's space. Generally, I think this means that they have to chuck a sickly child back onto the street to make room, judging from the number of people who appear to be living in the waiting area every time I visit. Hence, you just don't take up 20 minutes unless you are a sociopath because what kind of person would put their piddling autoimmune problems ahead of a snuffly child?

I start listing my symptoms. When I get to weight gain, her eyebrow arches.

"It's just that I've gone up two sizes since Christmas," I said. "For me, that's not normal."

The eyebrow climbed higher. She asks me to step on the scale. I do, and she informs me that I've actually lost weight. This is not possible. I ask her to check again.

"Look. Your BMI is still normal, so until you're fatter..."

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