Boundaries, Get Some

Yesterday morning, mom’s nurse came by. My mom updated her on my strep and the Keflex allergy. This time the nurse didn’t suggest that I should try colloidal silver, but she did say a lot of stuff about how medicine is bad and that it causes more problems than it helps.1

Anyway, this visit she focused on the blood tests that were ordered. I made the mistake of saying an RPR had been included in my lab work. She didn’t know what that was, so I explained that it was a test used to find syphilis. She then asked if I had been having sex. That is not something that I really want to talk to her about. It really isn’t her business. I can’t really stop my mom from over-sharing about my health.2 I could have kept from mentioning the test when she asked, but I was trying to be nice and just kept answering whatever questions she had. But I didn’t like telling her.

I disliked her asking more, not only because it isn’t her business and she isn’t my nurse–my issue with answering is that it doesn’t matter if I did or didn’t. The infectious disease specialist, whose business it could be, didn’t ask about my sex life. She ordered the test because the symptoms could fit syphilis. They could fit a lot of things, including infections that aren’t transmitted sexually, cancers and autoimmune disorders.3 And the tests help rule those issues out. And the tests aren’t even 100% foolproof. Obviously when I’ve had inconsistent strep test results recently, as well as positive skin tests in the past on things like tuberculosis45 or the saline6 control test for allergy tests, it’s quite clear that a positive test doesn’t always mean the worst. So I’m not freaking out about the possibility that I could have an STD because I’m pretty damn sure that I don’t.

Having her ask that really frustrated me, but I guess that until I explain that I’m uncomfortable with her being so interested in my health, it really doesn’t do any good for me to be upset with her. Until then, I’ve just got to smile and nod and be polite. I may scream the next time she tells me to gargle with salt water, though.

  1. Oddly, one of the legit medical uses of silver is silver sulfadiazine. That is classified as a sulfa drug–a classification which also includes Septra, to which I am allergic. 

  2. I’ve tried. She doesn’t respect that request. 

  3. aka things that don’t happen when you smush your naked body against someone else’s naked body 

  4. Every time they test me. And that makes sense because the CDC fact sheet on test says, “Once you have a positive TB skin test you will always have a positive TB skin test, even if you complete treatment. Ask your doctor for a written record of your positive skin test result. This will be helpful if you are asked to have another TB skin test in the future.” 

  5. I had to have the first one done before my parents could be approved by the state for foster kids. I’ve never had TB. I’m just an odd duck who reacts to the skin test. 

  6. I inherited a salt sensitivity from my father. My skin can break out it rashes or hives when exposed to too much. My mouth can break out in ulcers. 

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Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.

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