2016 was a bit of “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” situation, but I’m just going to tell you about two things that happened that were a) not good, c) are still affecting me, and b) still managed to result in some good things.
I do not like going to the doctor. I used to pretend that I didn’t mind going to the doctor at all, but in reality, going to the doctor makes my blood pressure go up and makes me sweaty and nervous. And I have a great doctor! She’s the best listener. And yet: I resist going to see her on a regular basis. So when 2016 turned out to be The Year Glynis Goes To The Doctor A Ton, I was not pleased.
In July I went to get my hair cut, and it looked great. I’m talking top five haircuts. I get my hair done in Crowfoot, and the salon sometimes doesn’t have much parking so I just park in front of the Chapters and walk over. There’s a (very low) fence to go over (or around, but why would you) on the way between the parking lot and the salon; it’s the type of fence you just swing your legs over and it doesn’t even come up to your hip. So I got my hair cut and it was looking so good and I was feeling it, and I jumped over the fence instead of sensibly swinging one leg, setting it down, and swinging the other. And my left foot landed unevenly on a rock. And that’s how I managed to sprain my ankle badly enough that by the time I finally went to the doctor about it and got imaging done (in DECEMBER) it was still showing an intermediate sprain.
Spraining my ankle meant that I only just this week am getting back to rock climbing, I wasn’t able to do any kind of strenuous walking or hiking this summer, I couldn’t do yoga without having a sore ankle for a day or two after until recently, and I haven’t worn heels in ages which I know is not a big deal but I like fancy shoes and I like wearing them. Not climbing and not doing yoga and not walking much meant putting on weight, which in turn meant dealing with some body image issues again, and meant a severe decrease in strength and stamina, and meant discomfort due to belly pooch when sitting in jeans and I do a lot of sitting at school.
When I finally went and talked to my doctor about my ankle because it was taking its sweet time getting better, she sent me to get an ultrasound done. I was pretty happy about this, because I am afraid of x-rays. They shoot a big science gun at you and all you have to protect you is an itty-bitty lead blanket and what’s it going to do for me, really? Is it going to save me from radiation? I think not. Plus they move your hurting limb around and you know what? X-rays are the worst and I hate them. So when she said ultrasound I breathed a sigh of x-ray relief because praise The Lord I don’t have to get an x-ray.
I had to get one anyways. The ultrasound went fine and the technician was great, but then she said, “the doctor [at the imaging place] looked these over and he wants you to get an x-ray,” and on the inside I was like, “CURSES,” but on the outside I said, “okay fine.” I immediately started shivering and had clenched teeth, but I got the x-ray and nothing in my foot is actually broken or torn, thank goodness.
So in the end, I’ve been learning, again, to be patient and gentle with myself. I’ve been having it confirmed that I should probably go to the doctor more. And I’ve done some fear facing, ugh. And my ankle has significantly improved since getting it looked at; I’ve been doing strengthening exercises and such. I can finally get back to climbing.
Onto the other not good thing.
This also happened during the summer. I was visiting Josh in Denver, and we spent a weekend in Aspen. The Monday after we got back to Denver from Aspen I woke up with a fever. I knew right away that something was wrong, since on every other morning in Denver I’d woken up and thrown the blankets off because it was so hot, but on this morning I wanted to find every blanket in the apartment and pile them on top of me until I was on the verge of being crushed by their sheer weight. I texted Josh and said “can you bring me some gatorade at lunch? I think I’m a bit sick” and eventually moved from the bed onto the couch, still swaddled in a giant duvet.
When Josh came at lunch he was like, “oh dear, you really are sick,” because I hadn’t opened the blinds or turned on the lights; I was just lying dejectedly on the couch with tea and a water bottle and some cherries. And so began a week of me alternating between being cold and piling blankets on myself, to me becoming so unbelievably sweaty and hot and taking nonstop cool showers. I drank a lot of gatorade. Josh and I talked about going to the hospital. I googled fevers and decided I was at death’s door. And then: I went to take a shower after sweating it out one day and discovered a weird rash all over my torso.
Cue: me bursting into tears as soon as Josh came for lunch and crying into his shoulder for a good long while, because I was clearly on the verge of a gross, rash-filled, sweaty death. We talked about it and decided that, if I wasn’t better and the rash hadn’t disappeared in the next couple of days, to the American doctors I would go. One part of my brain was saying “U DED” and the other part was saying “maybe this is because of dryer sheets, which you haven’t used for years but have been using here”. As you may have guessed, I did not die. Fortunately, the rash cleared up and my fever burned out in the next day or so (we drove up Mt Evans that weekend and it’s over 14,000 feet. There’s selfie of me looking VERY ashy and still a bit sick on Instagram somewhere). Unfortunately, it wasn’t the dryer sheets that were the culprit.
You already know this, because I told you about it when I got back to Canada and you were visiting. I was like “listen to this fever story, it lasted several days, my temp went up so high, my usually very regular period came ten days early, AND I had a rash” and you said “TICK BORNE DISEASES IN COLORADO” and I was like “oh shiiiiiiiii”. And so: to the doctor I went, largely because of you and Josh.
I won’t tell you the whole bloodwork story, but after getting blood drawn like four times and going to the doctor twice and having two matching elbow-crook bruise after a mix-up where I had to re-do some bloodwork (they gave me the WRONG FORM and THREW OUT my BLOOD), I found out that I had somehow contracted and then fought off Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a tick-borne disease. I hate this so much. I don’t remember being bitten by a tick. I wasn’t in the mountains much this summer due to the aforementioned sprained ankle. I don’t think I went on a single hike this year. I immediately do a tick check after climbing in the mountains during tick season. And yet: I got a bonkers fever anyways. I hate ticks with the heat of a nova.
Okay, but what are the good things that resulted? I went to the doctor so much this year that the last time I was there I was barely nervous. Apparently I’m now immune to RMSF. I didn’t die. It wasn’t contagious. I had people (Josh, you) taking care of me and looking out for me and telling me to take care of myself. I’m also more prone to be like, “I probably have some big disease” whenever my body does something weird, which is maybe not a good thing.
I’ve been thinking about the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Incident a lot lately; I don’ t have a doctor in Edmonton right now, just my doctor in Calgary, and I think I might need to resolve that. The idea of finding a new doctor is not very attractive to me, but maybe last year’s doctor times have convinced me that I gotta have a medical professional on hand in the city where I currently reside.