Smokey the Magnificent

Failing the Turing Test since 1986


1. Doctors. Doctors, doctors, doctors. Phblllght.

So this afternoon I wrestled myself blearily out of bed to go see the doctor about my fatigue. My doubled dose of happy pills seems to be making me a more productive seamstress, which is nice, but isn’t doing much for the brainworms and even less for the tiredness. I’m not much of a one for following up on “come back and see me in a few weeks if things don’t improve” appointments, but as it happens Tiny Miles has been strangely droopy lately, and my left shoulder-blade hurts when I cough. Who can resist a three-for-one bargain like that? So off we went. Naturally, I didn’t get the same doctor I had before. I never do. The new one was jovial, friendly and utterly useless.

On the plus side, I don’t have chronic fatigue syndrome. I know this because the doctor shook his head, said “ehhh” and proceeded to advise me to take long walks, spend time away from the children, do things I enjoy, and relax.

“But I have plenty of time to myself,” I said. “The children are pretty low-maintenance, and I do lots of reading and hobbies and stuff. I don’t think I’m overwhelmed, just really tired. Are you sure it isn’t something like chronic fatigue?”

Whereupon the doctor smiled and said that chronic fatigue is “sometimes a self-fulfilling prophecy”, and I should make sure I was spending lots of time with my husband. At which point the pig, echoing my own thoughts, said “When is he going to fix you, Mummy?” and he smiled and said “I am fixing her. Sometimes you need medicine to be fixed, and sometimes you just need to talk.”

At which point I restrained myself from clocking him one, proving that for a hysterical housewife I have remarkably good control of my emotions. We then discussed my upped Citalopram dosage (he: “That should help” – me: “But it isn’t, that’s why I’m here” – he: “Just wait and see, it will help”), Miles’ condition (he: “Wait and see, I think he’s fine”), my lack of rubella immunity (me: “I’ve been vaccinated for it before and I’ve had it. Apparently I just don’t seroconvert for it.” – he: “Ah yes, seroconversion can be a problem. Just make sure you keep being vaccinated.”) and my stress levels (he: “Sometimes you have pressures in your mind you are not even aware of, even if you think you’re fine. With two small children you must be very busy.” – me: “I’m really not that busy. They’re very good at playing by themselves. I have lots of time to myself.” – he: “You should have more time away from them.”) His final thought? “I knew a lady once who had chronic fatigue. She got pregnant and her fatigue went away. Now she has three children and she has no time to be fatigued. Ha ha!”

Forty-three dollars later, I’d completely forgotten to mention the pain in my shoulder-blade. I suspect he would have recommended bubble baths and chocolate.

2. We do seem to go through cars at a great rate, don’t we? This one, I’m happy to say, was totalled by somebody else. Helpdesk Man had the right of way, but that didn’t do the bonnet any good. Worst of all, when he went to the junkyard to retrieve the carseats he forgot to check the storage slot in the passenger door, and now my sister’s copy of Chloe Marr is compressed somewhere inside a cube of metal. (I’ll buy her a new one. Sorry, sister.)

Fortunately, my excellent parents have just obtained a new station wagon, and have lent us their mighty behemoth of a HiAce while we scavenge the funds for a new car. It’s quite an experience, driving an unfamiliar car – like being transmogrified into a baboon. Things are farther away, farther apart, squishier and angled differently to how you expect, and your muscle memory goes all fritzy. I’ve had a steep learning curve every time we got a new car, but this one – an arthritic sauropod with zero rear visibility – is particularly daunting. I now know why Father makes the faces he does – you have to, if you want to see behind you. Still, it’s kind of fun. Leaning down to take the ticket out of the carpark machine is a new experience, and there’s a certain feeling of clunky power driving something so enormous. Every time I drive it I feeling like getting a tattoo and eating a burger out the window.

3. You know, I really dislike doctors.

  1. Kovac

    Exercise is a good way to improve your overall energy levels.

    It might be hard to motivate yourself in the short term if you are feeling fatigued however if you can force yourself to do it you might find that your energy levels will go up.

    I suggest running 😀

    Is there anything you do at the moment?

  2. smokering

    Have you even *met* me?!

  3. Bronwyn

    I don’t recall how I came across your blog, but I read it periodically and it always makes me chuckle.
    Now for some unsolicited advice:
    My husband was on Citalopram for over a year and was sooooo tired, especially if he inadvertently missed a dose. It turned out to be a side effect of the medication and although he’s working on figuring out the right meds now the pure exhaustion is gone.
    I hope whatever it is it sorts itself out right soon and you don’t have to deal with any more doctor unpleasantness than necessary!

  4. smokering

    That is interesting! Come to think of it, I think fatigue was on the list of side effects – I was just more interested in the others, like Paranoia, Suicidal Thoughts and Death. Well, if that’s the reason, I’m sunk. I wanted to get my fatigue under control before our Disneyland trip next month, but if I start tinkering around with my happy pills I might end up leaping off a roller coaster. Ah well. Maybe the jet lag will shock my system into obedience.

  5. Trish

    Hi. It’s taken me three days to get to something printable in response to your delightful encounter with the idiot doctor. Seriously, sympathy. Also, citalopram apparently transfers very easily via breastmilk. Don’t like to think that could be why Miles is ‘droopy’. But it most definitely could be if he still is. I’m sorry this is happening to you and I really hope you can get it sorted sooner rather than later.

  6. Kirsty

    Amen about Doctors!! Hooray for the NHS though – English GPs may seem to be utterly ineffective and you may have to wait weeks to actually see one In The Flesh, but the appointments here are free. (It’s just the exorbitant taxes that are crippling). It’s not so bad watching a doctor look up your symptoms on Google when you haven’t paid him to do it. Last GP I saw diagnosed shingles as an ovarian cyst. A simple mistake – anyone with a five + year degree in human anatomy and physiology could make it. I do hope you’re feeling much, much better soon. I found on-going fatigue to be so frustrating, and my loving family got rather sick of me falling asleep mid-senten

  7. Krissy

    I hate doctors so much. Going to see a doctor makes me feel stabby and angry and like I want to burn down the hospital.

    Which wouldn’t make me popular in my community so I just live with ill health.

    I hate doctors.

  8. Henry

    I think doctors get a hard time, the number of hypochondriacs they would see would be enough to drive anyone insane. Exercise is a great way of dealing with fatigue and many other ailments and I think he might have a point, maybe you need some “you” time?

    There is usually always a reason for depression, find the root cause, fix it and it will lift. Depression is caused from a feeling of being helpless to solve your problems, even so called “clinical depression”. I know quite a few people who are on these meds and they have not really helped any one of them, they all have “personal issues” which they are not dealing with and until they do they will remain miserable, they should be a short term solution only.

    Just my two cents.

  9. Krissy

    How was Christmas? Are you getting antsy with excitement yet?

  10. smokering

    Henry: Thing is, I have plenty of ‘me’ time. I really do. Yesterday I spent a few hours in the afternoon happily sewing while the kids played by themselves. Then we watched half a children’s movie while eating pizza. Then the snortlepig went to bed and I spent another few hours sewing while watching M*A*S*H*. (It was sewing for myself and I like sewing, for the record.) It was hardly a strenuous day. And that sort of thing happens all the time.

    I don’t buy the ‘depression must have a psychological basis’ thesis, either. My family’s riddled with it, and while we’re not immune to problems, several of us at least don’t have that much to complain about. Loving family and friends, food on the table, otherwise decent health, etc. I’m the same. If my depression is really caused by some deep psychological angst it must be Balrog-awakening deep, because I can’t think of any particular reason to be depressed; nor do I feel helpless to solve my problems, at least on a conscious level. I don’t have that many problems… except for fatigue and depression. As far as I know, it’s genetic brain-chemistry malfunctioning, nothing more sinister.

    Exercise, however, I really should do. Mmph.

    Krissy: Christmas was great! I’m getting antsy with mingled excitement and panic. Just this morning I had a dream that our hotel was a dank room in someone’s house, containing a full potty, several roaches and dirty walls. Then we realised we had no US cash and I had a sudden, desperate need to find a Walmart, and Mother turned up exasperatedly with some coins to give me for the bus driver, but they were all organised according to some strange proverb-based system, like ‘This gold one’s a ‘cart before the horse’, and two of them make a ‘look before you leap’, and these little tin farthings only work on Tuesdays’. Whereupon I woke up and came here to make a to-do list. :p

  11. mother

    I am very sorry about the coins. We all have our little ways.