Going down?

May 24, 2010


So a woman gets on the elevator and she asks, “Are we all going to the same place?”

Honestly, I am flummoxed. It’s just the two of us in the elevator and she is carrying a large pillow under her arm. I don’t know how the pillow contributes to my confusion, but it does.

So I pause and ponder, and then realize she is simply making a sideways comment about how we are both on our way to the first floor so we can leave the building. But by then I’ve already gone all philosophical.

“Well” I say, “ultimately no, we are not all going to the same place.” Another pause. “But actually ultimately I guess we are.”

I’ve just come from seeing my doctor. A very hastily scheduled appointment–though not urgent. I told the receptionist that on the phone when I called Saturday to schedule, “Important, but not urgent.” She slotted me in for Monday afternoon.

A chance conversation the Friday before had led me to do some thinking, and I decided it was time to address this “vague malaise” that has been troubling me for years, and which has recently worsened.

So the chance conversation was with a friend I had bumped into on my first foray outside the house in a week. I told him how I’d been feeling drained, and how it’s a chronic thing, coming now and again and suddenly knocking me on my ass. Usually, after few days everything is fine and I am back on my merry way. And then some time goes by, and Wham. Back on the couch, exhausted. He said, “That sounds like fibromyalgia.”

Well, I’m not big on making drama of things nor one for hypochondria. But there was something reassuring in the thought that maybe my ups and downs had a distinct cause.

Now, I don’t know intellectually what is so reassuring about that. But I decided to pursue an investigation, and after some poking around via Google, I decided to hoist my ass off the couch and go visit my doc.

So today after talking for awhile she printed out this chart of 18 “tender points” which are used in diagnosing fibromyalgia, and then prodded me (I have 10 of the 18 . . .). We also drew a couple of vials of blood, which will show if there’s some auto-immune crap going on. ‘Cause as we all know, there are a ton of things that can cause fatigue and muscle and joint pain–only some of which are associated with auto-immune self-destructiveness. Whether the blood tests show or do not show auto-immune challenges, we’ll have narrowed the possible causes.

So, I am a little happy to be looking into this. Not that I expect a miracle. But all this on/off on/off up/down up/down of my life is crazy-making. If I could clearly attribute it to something at least I could feel we’d made some sense of it.

Illustration of Tender Points snagged from the Mayo Clinic website and used without permission.

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