Excerpts from a letter to Tracy and thoughts of a fevered mind:
I’m home sick. Sick again or even sick still. I’m not sure which. Nor do I even care at this point. I do know that I’m quite sick of being sick. Clearly my immune system has shit the bed, given up the ghost, left the building, without a word or backward glance. So long sucker. I need something beyond the gimmick of gummy vitamins that promise to “boost your immune system!” I ate an orange. What more must I do?! Though I will say, in a small (embarrassing) act of rebellion I bought a large bottle of One A Day daily vitamins – FOR MEN, about 8 months ago. Every time I would take them for a few days in a row (I kept forgetting to take them….not being used to taking daily vitamins, being ashamed that I bought men’s vitamins, who the fuck knows why else) I got strep throat. I had strep 3-4 times in the last year. Damn those men’s vitamins!
And it hasn’t been just strep. Three weeks ago the stomach bug blew through our house like vomit dominoes. I could have at least lost a little weight for all my misery. As someone at work likes to quip, “I’m just one bout of the flu away from my goal weight” The only one not affected was Joita, who was able to escape to M’s house while we all writhed in our own nausea-induced agony. The baby (thankfully) slept for long periods of time, clearly worn out from the puking (ours? Hers? Who knows!).
So Friday I had a little throat slash chest tickle. I ignored it and went about my business. By Saturday afternoon I was coughing like the heavy smoker I used to be. I couldn’t breathe and my lungs felt like they were on fire. By Sunday my fever was 102.7. I took Advil cold and cough but it did nothing. I took Tylenol. Nothing. Delsym cough syrup. Nothing. I did call the on call doctor because I was afraid of having a fever so high. The internet reports, you know, that fevers in adults between 102 and 103 could be dangerous. No more dangerous than Emily’s concoctions of elderberry syrup, honey lemon hot water, or hot toddies, bless her heart. But the doctor on call said it sounded viral and I should wait it out, drinking and resting as much as possible, alternating Tylenol and Advil by turns.
So while I’m thankful that I didn’t have to go into the city to see someone, I’m home unhappily “waiting it out”, trying not to lose my mind, contemplating my demise, and trying not to get involved in the chaos happening downstairs – Emily burning popcorn and Nina having a tantrum or Ruby demanding in a high-pitched whine to listen to Philadelphia Freedom for the millionth time. I slept so much yesterday I’m not that tired today. I’m not good at waiting.
It’s so hard to focus when you have a fever this high. I mean, it’s been a little hard to focus on any one thing. Like right now I can’t really remember what was so pressing that I had to write you.
Oh, right… So I had my yearly physical last week (that one week when I was actually healthy). Met my new PCP. Not sure what happened to the old one. Moved on I guess. This new one was fine, though hardly compelling. I mostly end up seeing the NP who I totally love, so I don’t care that I’m not ga ga over this new person. She asked about gyn exams and whether I would think about having one (have not had one in 7 years). Also said it was time for a colonoscopy. My irritation was building. I was liking her less and less. What is the compulsion to stick things in me?! Is this a test?!
Lastly she brought up hormones and asked if testosterone was still “on the table” for discussion. This perked me up. We talked about testosterone in general, a conversation I feel like I’ve had many times with various providers over the last 2 years, with no definitive answer. I told her that Emily isn’t exactly “on board” with the whole idea. Actually, it isn’t that Emily has forbidden me or that she is dead set against it. She says, in a most disgusted way, “Do whatever you need to do Hali”. Hardly a ringing endorsement to be sure, but not a definite no either really. Anyway, the doctor suggested testosterone gel/cream as opposed to shots as a sort of compromise. The Compromise part being that the results are much slower and less obvious for a long time with the cream. And apparently a lot of guys start with cream for this exact reason – partners who are not exactly on board. The doctor said that the cream is definitely slower to manifest changes and added that there are, in fact, other reasons the cream is a good choice. Cream is daily, so the levels tend to be more stable and even. Shots are weekly to bi-weekly and tend to have definite peaks and lows. Since one of my concerns is my rather short fuse, this was another point for cream. The down side of the cream is that I have to be extra careful so that no one else in the house comes into contact with it. The thought of Ruby with a beard understandably freaks me out. It was a pretty long visit and I got most of my questions answered. Once again, the ball is in my court. Has it ever not been? I’m not sure why, but I made a follow-up appointment for next month.
I’ve already done the paperwork and blood work. I’m not sure what I expect to happen in a month or what I think I want from this next appointment. Perhaps a sign from Above is what I’m hoping for? In the meantime, Emily noticed that I seemed a bit happier and wondered why. So I told her. I said it sounded like there might be a happy medium to our dilemma. And I explained the gel/cream thing.
It’s so hard. I mean, I want her to be happy about it and she’s just not going to be. Kind of like I want her to be interested in my hockey and she just isn’t. Hockey might be a stupid comparison but in some ways it feels similar to me in that it feels like she is just being spiteful and mean. Would it kill her to even ask about coming to see me play??? Apparently. I know when I play she is with the kids. That isn’t really the point. If she would just ask, even appear to be interested, it would make me so happy. But she won’t. She doesn’t like sports and clearly sees no redeeming value in them. And because I so highly value sports her lack of regard for them feels like a direct insult to me. But I digress.
Anyway, Emily did reluctantly shrug her shoulders and agree that pursuing testosterone cream may not be the end of the world. Mainly I think she agreed because she is sick of me being depressed. Still no ringing endorsement, but at least she doesn’t see it as apocalyptic, right? I am sorry my depression has been so hard on her. And when I think of that it makes me even more depressed. It’s not like it has been a real picnic for me either though. It isn’t like I’m choosing to be depressed on purpose.
At any rate, now that I’ve got the green light (sort of) I’m nervous about starting testosterone. The first thing I’m worried about is that it won’t make me “happy” or take away my irritating depression. Then what?! Sideburns and male pattern baldness will most definitely not buoy my mood any. Which then just leads me to all the other reasons I’m worried about testosterone. Who will I be if not me?! How will I change? In addition to inside changes, what about outward changes? I don’t want to look like a fool. Does anyone actually choose to look like a fool? The reality is that I never want to look like a fool, but I fear I look like one regardless. At least if testosterone made me a happy fool maybe I wouldn’t care quite so much. No? Part of me is very excited about the changes t might bring. The possibility of inner alignment!! The increase in stamina and energy. The strength. The muscle development. The sideburns. Ok, maybe not the sideburns. Just thought I’d try to be positive.
I feel I don’t have anyone to share my excitement and my anxieties with. But that’s not the truth really. I have plenty of people I could talk to. The strange thing is that part of me doesn’t want to talk to anyone about this. Ostensibly I started this blog to write about these issues specifically. But now it feels too personal, too private. I feel shy. Embarrassed? Ashamed? It’s been over a week and I’ve literally only told one person. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to talk to friends, but I purposely have not. At the same time, while I’m intentionally not talking about it, I can’t stop thinking about it. Which means my mind has been on forward, reverse and overdrive. In my fevered state, I’m thinking and imagining all kinds of scenarios, from exciting to strange to downright freaky. At once I feel defiant and strong – I’m going to do this. Then I feel ashamed and scared. But what if it really does help? What if I can be happy? Do I deserve to be happy? And what if it doesn’t make me happy? And on and on and on.
This gerbil-wheel rumination leaves me utterly exhausted. And my fever is still 102.5. I need a nap. Thanks for listening.