Monday night Jason was working on some stupid work project and didn’t have time to pay attention to me, so I fell asleep on the couch watching TV by myself. When I woke up to go to bed, my knees were broken. They didn’t hurt when I fell asleep, but somehow, an hour later (15+ hours after I’d done any kind of physical activity), they felt like someone had taken a mallet to my kneecaps. I hobbled to bed and hoped it was a weirdly realistic bad dream.
In the morning they still hurt. Because I hadn’t fallen or injured them during any kind of activity I could think of, I could only assume I had bursitis from loneliness and the fact that Jason didn’t want my help with his project. It seemed like this should pass fairly quickly if I pretended it didn’t exist. I proceeded to bend my knees as often as possible throughout the day and tell myself, That doesn’t hurt, you dopey girl. Those are your pretty muscles just telling you your knees are looking super great today.
Later, I went to a workout class that’s designed to make every part of your body cry tears made of bacon grease and wine (or at least that’s what my body’s tears are made of). My knees hurt during the class, but um, hello, working out is inherently painful. I just assumed that meant I was doing it really well. By the time I got home, my knees had stiffened and swelled and I could barely get up the stairs to go to bed. That night I had trouble sleeping because bending them at all woke me up.
The next morning, in addition to the swollen, miserable knees, I had what looked like red sharpie dots on my legs and around my eyes.
First I tried washing them off in case Jonas had gotten more creative with his graffiti. Then I decided we had bedbugs, which would require burning down the house, of course. After 10 minutes of standing next to our bed staring intently at the sheets and then Googling, Are bed bugs visible to the naked eye? (the answer is yes), I put away the lighter fluid and the novelty bass* lighter we keep handy for such situations.
At this point, it seemed the only logical conclusion for the soreness and rash was that I’m approaching 36 but still acting like a 16 year old, so my body is decaying at an increased rate. Obviously I would, at any moment, fall into a decrepit pile of inflamed cartilage and leprosy on the bathroom tile.
When I broke this unfortunate news to Jason, he was understandably distraught, but assured me in the event of my impending putrefaction, he would go on living and find someone new and young to keep him happy in my absence, as he knew I would want him to. Then he told me I should probably make an appointment to see a doctor because rashes are weird.
I considered this approach, but eventually decided it would either get better on its own and I wouldn’t need to go or get like a whole bunch worse, and it’s really a lot more satisfying to walk into a doctor’s office with a super horrifyingly visible malady that makes the doctor flinch than one you have to point to and say, No, right here… do you see it? And there’s another one right here- oh wait, that was lint. So I decided to give it another day.
Wednesday night Jason went to his workout class (designed to make his body cry tears of steak sauce and gin) and I made chicken enchiladas for the kids and me. When I sat down to eat, I tapped my left ankle on my chair and winced in pain. I looked down to find it had joined the club of Elizabeth’s Joints Who Think It’s Funny To Freak Her Shit Out.
Of course I immediately texted Jason pictures of my swollen ankle, because if there’s anything you can do while working out 25 miles from home, it’s make your wife’s swollen ankle better. When he got home we conferred and concluded a doctor visit was in order, despite the fact that the rash hadn’t really reached the shock factor I was holding out for. After that I spent the requisite 2 hours Googling rash images to see just how strong my stomach really was (turns out, not very) and rash + swollen joints so I could spend the rest of the night lying awake in bed, wondering how I had managed to pick up a rare form of Malaria only found in Yugoslavia, back when it was called Yugoslavia.
And that’s how I ended up at Urgent Care yesterday morning, being seen by a very nice nurse practitioner who took blood and advised me to make an appointment with a ‘normal doctor’ to review the results, but refused to speculate on what could possibly be causing this.
Nice NP: It could be a lot of things.
Me: OK… but like for instance what?
Nice NP: Well there’s just a really long list of possibilities. We need to do some tests.
Me: So, but what are just one or two of the possibilities? You don’t have to tell me all of them.
Nice NP: There are just so many. I wouldn’t want to guess.
Me: Not even like one tiny guess? Like any random guess at all? What if I guess and you blink twice when you think I’m getting warm. Are we talking infected hangnail or terminal Sarcoidosis? This is about all the wine and Diet Coke I drink, isn’t it? I mean my blood must be at least 70% composed of wine and Diet Coke at this point and you’re totally going to see that when you do your test, so I might as well admit it right now-
Nice NP: We’ll call you with the results. Probably Saturday. This is weird. I’m not saying it’s not weird.
Me: If you’re making an attempt to impress some kind of gravity of the situation on me here, you’re going to need to use different language. I hear that about my life choices every day.
Nice NP: I have to see some other patients now.
He did, however, recommend I use heat on my sore joints. Obviously his intent was to write me a prescription for this:
I always follow doctor’s orders.
*I’ve been informed it’s actually a novelty trout lighter.