1. I went to the allergist last week to see if I could get some answers in regards to why my arm exploded after I got a tetanus booster in January (well, not exploded, but overreacted), and it was a shockingly wonderful experience!
I was excited to get to the bottom of what happened to my arm, and possibly some other allergic-ish reactions I’ve had as well. The nurse did the whole intake rigamarole–weight, blood pressure, etc.–and then a resident came in an interviewed me for thirty minutes about why I was there, my symptoms, my family history, anything else that could possibly be relevant to the discussion. It was AMAZING. I felt like he didn’t leave a single stone unturned, and it was so nice to feel like a doctor was actually listening to me rather than working to get me out of the office as quickly as possible because I’m an active 27 year old with no medical history who couldn’t possibly have anything wrong with her.
When the actual allergist came in, she told me that she suspects I had an allergic reaction to whatever they used to clean my skin prior to the injection rather than the injection itself, based on the pattern of redness and my description of my symptoms. Given the way I broke out in an instant rash after using a bath bomb in April, the way I break out in a rash if I touch anything washed with Tide Coldwater Clean, and the way I break out in hives when I shower at my parents house, the idea that I have sensitive skin was not particularly earth shattering to me.
The allergist ordered a titer test for me to check on my tetanus, diphtheria, and Hib immunity levels so that if I get pregnant before I’m due for my next tetanus shot, I can have titers taken again, compare my future immunity levels to my July 2018 immunity levels, and use that information to determine whether or not I actually need a Tdap booster. (Pregnant women are supposed to get a Tdap booster during every pregnancy so they don’t come down with one of those illnesses when they have an infant on hand. It’s more cost effective to give everyone a booster than take titers on everyone, which is why all pregnant women are supposed to get one. It is a little odd to me that the allergist didn’t order a pertussis titer, because to my understanding it’s pertussis that’s the big concern with babies, but I’ll allow myself to believe she knew what she was doing.) I can also get future Tdap/tetanus boosters at the allergist’s office if I so choose using the challenge method, where they give you part of the dose one day, see how you react, and give you the rest of the dose a couple days later. She also told me that I can come back any time to get tested to see if I still have the penicillin allergy I was diagnosed with as a child, which was good to know. All in all, a fabulous experience!
2. Getting my titers taken, however, was a bit more frustrating. The lab was swamped, so it took forever to get in, and once I did get in, I had to raise a stink about how I had to be lying down during a blood draw. I do this every time anyone needs to poke me with a needle, and every time, regardless of where I am, I’m made to feel like I’m putting everyone out of their way and ruining their entire lives.
Look, I wish I could sit in the nice padded chair like a big girl, too. I wish I could convince my brain that the half second of minor pain that comes with a blood draw or injection is not a reason to shut the whole thing down. But I’ve fainted three separate times when needles were involved, Phlebotomist Who Has Known Me for Less Than One Full Minute, and I know the best way to make sure I don’t faint is to have me horizontal before the fact so my blood can’t pool in my legs to begin with, keeping me from fainting in the first place. It’s a whole lot easier for everyone, including you, if I stay conscious throughout the entire ordeal, so instead of interrogating me about whether or not I’ve fainted under these exact circumstances before, why don’t you just LISTEN to me when I tell you I’m going to need to lie down and need to continue lying down for at least 15 minutes after you’re done? It’s not like I’m asking you for a whole lot here. “Maintaining consciousness” seems like a pretty small request.
I have every intention of continuing to insist on lying down when shots or blood draws are involved, but it is really frustrating to have to be so demanding about it every. single. time. Is it so hard to show a little understanding?
3. My apartment had a bit of a bathroom drama this past weekend. Our tub had been draining slowly for a week or so, and our attempts to remove the tangle of hair and dirt that were clogging the pipes only made matters worse (to the point where neither the tub nor the sink would drain well. Awesome.), so we placed a call to our landlord who knew exactly which trap was associated with both the tub’s and sink’s drainage and said he’d come by Monday to take care of it.
WELL! When I came home Monday, not only had he taken care of whatever was blocking the pipes, but he also cleaned the tub and sink so well that they looked nicer than they’ve ever looked while I’ve lived there! They were downright sparkling, and I was so touched! That was so above and beyond the call of landlord duty, and I really appreciated the gesture. (Plus, this means I don’t have to clean the bathroom later this week, which I fully anticipated needing to do.)
I’ve lived in three apartments in Chicago with landlords who had varying levels of interest in the place where I lived, and let me tell you, living in an apartment in a building that’s been in my landlord’s family for who knows how long–he was literally born in the building–makes a WORLD of difference. My first place was owned by a management company, and they couldn’t have cared less about me or my apartment. My second place was a condo owned by a dude, and he kind of cared about the condo, but it was clear that he had become less enamored with the idea of investing in real estate over the 10 years he owned the place and was more interested in ridding himself of his landlording side gig (and the condo) than he was in the condo itself. My current landlord has a vested interest in keeping the property in as good of shape as he can, and it really shows. It’s so refreshing to live somewhere where the landlord cares!