I fully intend to get to the rheumatology appointment. But first I want to write about how I can still write, and what a joy that is.

The last time I had a job (conventionally—I don’t mean to imply that chronic illness and disability aren’t vacation-less, salary-less jobs) I was a technical writer for Wolfram. One of the things I did there was draft online help articles for the company’s software, Mathematica.

Well, today I woke up to a thankful comment on my recent, totally out of place help article here on this site. The one where I explain how to pair smart devices on Spectrum 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi. And it was so validating! Not only does it mean I can still communicate helpful things, but I also probably was good at my job back then!

This is a ridiculously big deal to me. I know I can’t do tech writing gainfully these days, but that I can do it at all? That some part of the old me still lurks in here somewhere? It’s important to me, turns out. That comment made my Friday.

But moving on to my much-dreaded doctor’s appointment. The TL;DR for those of you who care (but not that much) is: I gave up a lot of blood, and I go back to rheumatology in a couple of weeks for the results.

The nurse practitioner (NP) recommended I still see infectious disease, but I can only worry about one thing at a time right now. Anyway, the fact that she mentioned infectious disease makes me think my symptoms don’t make any diagnosis seem too obvious.

She did say that my ANA results were a true positive, which is helpful for not having my symptoms dismissed right out of the gate.

My issue all those years ago was my 1:160 ANA ratio (or whatever, I might have the number wrong) was too low to be medically relevant. A certain portion of the healthy population also returns those results. Which, one might argue, is why patient symptom reporting should be taken seriously. But that’s an old rant for a shitty doctor and one I don’t feel like thinking about today.

You’re welcome.

Bottom line assessment of the NP and doctor I saw yesterday: caring, professional, smart. The bar for care was low, thanks to my misgivings about the reasonableness of the Missouri legislature, but I would be fine with treatment from either of these two—even here in Illinois.

So, as I said, they took a lot of blood. Somewhere around 6 or 8 vials. (I’m not sure because I didn’t look. I’m usually fine looking, but I knew there was going to be a lot, and I was overheated. So out of an abundance of caution…)

It’s not the most I’ve ever given up, but by comparison my standard chemo draw was 2 vials during treatment.

If phlebotomy is your kink, partner up with a rheumatologist. Follow me for more relationship advice.

All in all, it wasn’t as horrible as I dreamed it would be. But I still can’t have steroids until they know what’s going on. They’d mask any autoimmune findings. I knew this would be their answer, but I had to try. I’m all kinds of desperate. I’d have cried yesterday if I could make tears.

Next rheumatology appointment July 8. Watch this space.

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