Quiet Time

I woke up yesterday from immense pain that my doctors have not been able to control just yet, but they are working on it. Anyway, when I wake up in that sort of pain I have to get out of bed and sort of start my day. It’s kind of like how when I was younger and my mom would go out in the mornings to warm up her old 1972 Dodge Cornett. We didn’t have a garage and this was back when it still snowed regularly in Kansas, and the car would have to run for a bit, get all of its bits and parts warmed, or we wouldn’t have heat, might not even make it to school and her to work without a jump start. My body is kind of like the old Dodge now and it isn’t terrible, but it also isn’t great.

So when I got up yesterday morning, it was so early the family was still asleep and I made coffee and took my morning ibuprofen, with food of course, then I sat down in the silence and started working on the family Christmas puzzle. We do a puzzle every Christmas season as a family. It sits on the kitchen island and whenever someone has some time they sit and work on it. This year it’s a Charlie Brown Christmas puzzle and the edges are almost done thanks to Jackson and me. Anyway, I got bored with that after the pain finally went away and so I sat to talk with Jerimiah who in the time it took me to get Snoopy’s feet together, had woke up, worked out, and taken a shower. He was sitting down at his desk when I meandered over to the dining room table to chat.

His office is right off the dining room so we usually sit, him at his desk, me at the dining room table with the laptop and get caught up on the morning news for a bit. Yesterday morning however I skipped the news for a coloring book that was on the table from the night before and I picked up the colored pencils and went to work on a geometrically-correct llama. Then suddenly I was transported back to fifth grade.

My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Coughran, would read to us every day after lunch. I think she called it “Quiet time.” She knew we needed a bit of a break, so we would filter into the classroom, she would saunter over and turn the lights off, and we would get coloring pages. She had a ton of them and she would let us choose whatever we wanted and we would take our crayons, or colored pencils, or markers and set to work on our pages, while the sun streamed into the windows, and she sat atop the old heater and read from whatever book we happened to be reading at that time. The Call of the Wild or Where the Sidewalk Ends, the books were as varied and interesting as her coloring pages.

I remember it plain as day now, because it was the first time I realized how relaxing it could be to just color. To sit in relative silence, only her quiet voice reading to us, and just focus on one thing, staying inside the lines. I didn’t have a quiet house. It wasn’t loud, it being just my mom and me (most of the time) but my mom always did have the television on and she was usually talking on the phone too. Sometimes I’d slip into my room, grab a coloring book, and color in silence when I needed a break. It didn’t occur to me until yesterday what a service Mrs. Coughran must have done for some of us, me sure, but even more so for the kids in my class that never got privacy or silence.

There were a lot of different kids in that classroom. A hodgepodge of Army kids and kids with dads in prison. Really smart kids, really funny kids. Kids who got to school way past our math class, kids who were dropped off to wait in the snow for 30 minutes, until the cafeteria opened up and they could grab their free breakfast. There were probably 25 of us in Mrs. Coughran’s class, and I don’t really remember anyone struggling, or not getting along, or being mean to each other, generally speaking.

As it sits today, there are two less of us in this world from Mrs. Coughran’s Fifth grade Class at Anthony Elementary School. One we lost to gunfire and one to a heart condition undetected by her doctors. They were both my friends. One was funny and silly, one smart and stoic. We all sat together in those quiet moments, as students, as kids, for that full year and we colored together in the quiet calm of Mrs. Coughran’s classroom, and while I wish we were a whole unit, and I sometimes wish for days that were as simple as those were, I am forever grateful for the time we had.

Hope you can find some calm in the storm today.

M.

Giving Thanks to the Muskogee (Creek)Tribe

Educate yourself: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Creek-people

The Muskogee Tribe lost the land that accounts for the state of Alabama and most of Georgia in The Creek Battle against the US in the 19th century. The people in that tribe, as well as other smaller tribes in the Southeast, were sent away in the The Trail of Tears to “Indian Territory” which we now call Oklahoma, and they lived happily ever after. Just kidding. As you probably know many of the Indigenous People in our country were forced into horrific conditions, had their land and their liberties taken from them, and then were forgotten about, murdered, exploited. If you don’t know that, stop what you are doing now and write your eight grade history teacher. Thank them for teaching you what they were told to, then ask them to kindly petition our American government to do more for Indigenous People who for too long have been marginalized and vilified by our government. Or, Google how you can help. Whatever makes you feel more productive today.

Perhaps you want to follow tags and groups and people like:

  • #DecolonizeMyself or @DecolonizeMyself
  • #DecolonizeYourBookshelf
  • @NativeAmericanArt
  • @NativeMovement
  • @ChiefLadyBird
  • @ShariceForCongress
  • @IndigenousRising
  • @RepDebHaaland
  • @AvisCharley
  • #LandBack
  • @IndeginiousClimateAction
  • @SeedingSovereignty

These are examples of artists, coalitions, politicians, and movements on Instagram (and other social media platforms) that can help educate you on the history, strength, and tenacity of the Indigenous People in our country, and what better day to do that than today, the day we give thanks for our great nation. The one we stole from these people and their ancestors.

As we celebrate as a family today, we will be celebrating with the Muskogee Tribe in mind, as well as the Plains People because we are partial to the Great Plains of Kansas as well. We will be discussing their history, the food they eat, ways we can help them now. We will be teaching Jackson the real history of these people, which is our history, our country’s history, and like the rest of our history there are some horrific things to discuss, but there is also so much to be thankful for, starting with the people who lived here before us.

We hope you have a good day of thanks and we hope you remember and honor the people who made it possible.

Oh, and wear a fucking mask. But don’t wear feathers, and I don’t believe I have to say this in this day and age, but I have seen it with my own eyes so I do have to say it: DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT DRESS YOUR CHILD UP LIKE A NATIVE AMERICAN.

That is all, thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.

M.

Do You Look Foolish?

You know any of those people who are convinced that when the election is over Covid-19 will be gone? I know a few. Am related to a few. Conspiracy theorists who honest-to-God think Covid-19 is a political… what? Stunt? A political stunt? My mom called me this week to tell me that her friend from church, the one she hugged a couple weeks back, the one who got sent to the hospital for Covid-19, the one who infected her husband, then they were both intubated, that friend, that friend that was four years younger than my mom, she died alone in her hospital room. Wow. I don’t know what to say to people who call Covid-19 political, but they are wrong. In some cases, dead wrong.

Jerimiah and I were discussing mask-wearing. We live in a county that mandates it. Which is nice. It takes pressure off of us to even think twice about wearing one, as if we wouldn’t wear one. But when I talk to my family and friends back in the midwest I hear stories of people who do not wear masks, like the majority of people. And now Covid-19 is spreading like wildfire there and they are all shocked. Like legit surprised that people in (gasp) Kansas (gasp) could get sick.

So why don’t people want to wear masks? They say it infringes on their rights to be told to wear a mask. “It’s my right!” they say, and certainly it is their right to decide to wear a mask, but it isn’t their right to spread a lethal virus.

See the flaw in their logic there?

They wear seatbelts, these people. They don’t drink and drive, these people. (Well, actually most of the conspiracy theorists I know are the first ones to admit to having a couple DUIs on their record. They are heavy drinkers, these conspiracy theorists.) My point is that they have accepted other mandates to secure public safety. To make it harder for their choices, ill-advised at best, to hurt someone else. So why can’t they wear a piece of cloth on their face that could save lives? Because they look foolish?

There’s another theory out there, the old: “I’m gonna get it eventually” theory. This theory comes from the same people who refuse to take responsibility for their actions. You know the type, nothing is ever their fault, the universe just hates them, bad juju and what not.

No, it isn’t likely you will get Covid-19, unless you actively take steps not to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. Unless you put yourself in situations that are hotbeds for Covid-19. I’ve heard people say, “Oh darn, I’m probably gonna get Covid,” as they head off to concerts, do bar crawls, and attend football parties with 50 people crammed into some dude’s basement. Uh, no shit you’re probably gonna get it. But it wasn’t the universe that dictated that, it was your dumb decisions.

Listen, we fucked up. As a country, we majorly missed the mark back in April when we started to open up again. It is 80% the fault of our current administration, the lack of leadership from the top down, and 20% because we are selfish sons-a- bitches who don’t want to be bothered, or have our lives changes in any significant way. But we did. And we do. And this is the new normal. People are getting sick. They are dying. And you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

It’s time to make a decision. Learn from your mistakes.

And for the love of all the cheeses in the world, stop with the conspiracy theories, you look like a lunatic and I assure you EVERYONE is talking shit on you behind your back. Talk about looking foolish…

Be better.

M.

Waxing Intellectual

I tried to wax my ‘stache this week and it didn’t go well. Listen, I have the kind of mustache that is always with me. Even right after a wax (of which I used to have done at a salon), it felt like two days later ‘ol Burt was back. I have named my mustache Burt Reynolds on account of, well, you can make that connection. Anyway, I tried these new waxing strips and they suck, but that isn’t the point of this post. The point of this post is to tell you that I had a shitty week so far, and is it over yet?

Sure the wax strips sucked. But then there was the news that I have family in Kansas who have developed Covid and they are very close to my mother and well, she 76 years old and probably shouldn’t be infected with motherfucking Covid.

I was texted the news while I was waiting to be called back to see my new rheumatologist, who by the way is very lovely and totally doesn’t think I have a bit to worry about, and I was like were you and Dr. Dickhead looking at the same results?! Turns out they were and she didn’t bat an eye at my results and said, probably, most likely, I have Fibryomiagia, but we still need to rule out some other stuff before we get there.

She put me on actual medication to help my Raynaud’s disease and she doesn’t think it is a symptom of something nefarious, she thinks it is the standalone kind that happens to women about my age. It will most likely never go away, but she said that we were would find something to help.

I’m officially never going to a male doctor again. Ever. I just won’t.

Anywho, the text came in that this family member has Covid, and has been working, going out, passing it most likely, all around (this I gather later from my mother). And that my mom was being tested and now we have to wait for those results and when I talked to Patsy yesterday she reminded me that I am in not control of other people’s lives when I yelled, “HOW ARE THEY GOING TO THE GROCERY STORE WHEN THEY DON’T KNOW IF THEY HAVE COVID OR NOT?!”

Turns out they are adults and have access to the same information from The CDC that I do and if they want to ignore sound medical advice, like self-isolating when you’ve been in close contact with someone who has it until you receive a negative result, it’s on them.

I’d just feel really shitty if I did it, if I thought I might have it and went somewhere. I’d be terrified of infecting others. I guess I just don’t get it.

There you have it. Light at the end of the tunnel? My first semester back at grad school is almost over. I have something like a week and a half on account of the shortened semester, and I’m down to a long form essay and an academic research paper. Ahhh, that’s sweet relief. Even if Burt is still around.

Please be safe, y’all. Please take Covid seriously. I can’t believe I have to say this to adults, but please don’t go out drinking at bars, don’t hop from friend’s house to friend’s house for fun, all without a mask. But if you do that, then at least don’t go around your elderly and immune-compromised relatives. You put an awful lot of people at risk and it just isn’t necessary. You actions have implications on others’ lives. I’m not sure how you’re old enough to be reading this and you don’t get that. I hope you get it now.

M.

Take No Shit

Yesterday was the first day in a long time I woke up feeling motivated for much of anything. I know you’re probably hearing it all over the place, but it’s true, I’ve had my faith in our country restored. Sure, 70 million people voted for hate, but way more voted against it and that’s what I’m choosing to focus on this week. I’m also choosing to focus on shutting people down that I’m tired of listening to.

People who don’t wear masks.

People who give excuses for voting for Trump.

People who think the election was rigged.

People who just want to stir up trouble, and not the good time.

I’ve had an ever-shortening respect and restraint for these people, opting more often than not to take the high road as Michelle would want me to, but I’m done with that now. I’m motivated for change.

Jerimiah said today that the racists will crawl back into their holes soon enough. I hope they don’t. I hope they stay out so we can continue to see who they are, continue to bring attention to them, then finally beat them back into their holes when the time comes.

I realize that not all the people who voted for Trump are racists in the broad sense of the term, but many of them are. Even more, however, have such fragile egos that they can’t deal with being a “loser.” Trump is one of those people so we can only assume his devout followers are as well.

But any therapist worth her weight would tell you that you shouldn’t cater to someone’s ego or it will only spell trouble. Don’t worry, there’s no catering here. I call a spade a spade, and hopefully, hopefully people like that will just steer clear of me. Because Kamala’s speech lit a fire under me on Saturday and I’m ready to unite, sure, with people willing to admit their mistakes, with the rest, well, I’m ready to hold them accountable. Someone needs to.

Be safe, and take no shit this week, y’all.

None.

M.

Super Saturday

I’m not even sure where to begin, but as I sat misty-eyed listening to our VP Elect speak last night I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming amount of love and light for this country again. Suddenly a waving flag didn’t mean hatred and ignorance anymore, suddenly the sight of a person waving a flag went back to what it used to mean: freedom, united people and beliefs, love for country. Sure, flag waving is banal and sentimental at best, but when the right people are speaking. When the good and the strong and the kind people have been passed the mic, suddenly I can stomach it all much better.

It was amazing to hear our newly-elected officials speak. Amazing to see emotion, love, and strength in their words. Amazing to feel like someone you can trust, two people you can trust to make the big decisions for our country, are right where they need to be.

When Madam Vice-President Elect Harris spoke to the children in our country, my son’s ears perked up. He smiled and nodded along, while I looked at my husband and our eyes met and I asked if he could ever imagine Trump addressing the children so wonderfully, let alone acknowledging them at all.

It’s a new day. A new hope. A restored faith for many of us. Let’s enjoy it, then get ready to get back at it. We have an election in January to prepare for, but I’ll enjoy this win for a few more days, then jump in.

Get some rest, y’all. You deserve it.

M.

Curing Ballots

People in the state of Georgia have until 5 pm today to cure their ballots. There’s something like 40,000 that need cured in DeKalb County alone. We need your help. If you can help cure ballots today and even later this week for other states (it can be done in-person or virtually) please help. I’m including a couple of links below for you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for voting, y’all, but this isn’t over. Please help ensure that all votes get counted.

And keep faith.

M.

I’ve signed up to attend a meeting with Democratic Party of Georgia on Thursday, Dec 3, 2020. Are you free to join me? Use this link to sign up:https://www.mobilize.us/georgiademocrats/event/277342/?referring_vol=1836799&rname=Melissa&timeslot=1550927&share_medium=email_link&share_context=email_1

https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/12zlvKNHmoqxOmtEGsbX-AWQz5bkahYtnHPmbg173xQI/mobilebasic

The Day After the Day After

I want to write some really positive words today. be patient, but all that keeps popping into my mind is, “Damm, half this country is really some racists sons-a-bitches.” Because I think that’s what it boils down to. I think half this country would rather vote for a big-mouthed loser who spews lies, than the guy who loved Obama.

I read an article the other day that made me pause. It was about how many Trump supporters love him so much because they say he reminds them of their father. Wow. That hit me hard. Because sure, it would make sense that these people grew up with an egotistical, lying, cheating, raping, absent, drugged-up father. Sure. That checks out. Look at how they behave. Look at this vicious cycle these kinds of fathers create. It’s so damn sad and pathetic.

Obviously I’m upset today, still. I’m upset that this election was so close. Too close for my comfort. Too close to think that people have learned anything, or maybe they are just complacent? Maybe they can turn a blind eye to the marginalized people in our country, pretend they aren’t there.

I’m sad and angry that I live in a country like this. I’m sad and angry that my fellow Americans are so afraid of Black and Brown people that they turn out in droves to attempt to run busses off the road, among other things.

I’m sad and angry today, y’all.

That is all.

Stay safe and sane. Keep faith.

M.

Keep Faith

It’s tough to wake up to no news today, but it isn’t nearly as tough as waking up to the crushing defeat we saw four years ago. In fact, for me personally, waking up the day after the election four years ago was also waking up to the nightmare of my missing nephew, who turned out to have been violently murdered in the wee hours of the morning in Wichita, Kansas. So to say that I woke up this morning with a bit of trepidation would be correct. But I woke up. And so did you. And that’s all we needed to do.

I don’t like how close this race is. I don’t like it because of what it says about our country. I don’t like it because it shines a light on the racist people we thought we learning, growing, we thought our family and friends were morphing into acceptable people, that they had seen the error of their ways, their thinking, their fears, and had come to our side. A side full of love for the common lady and a love for people, for the human condition. For our Earth. For our children. But no. That didn’t happen.

Instead it’s the same battle that wages on. Except this time the crazy man is already in charge, so he gets to spew whatever kind of disinformation he wants to. Le sigh.

But, this isn’t over, Y’all. Not by a long shot. It could takes days to get all the votes counted, and we have to have faith not just in our states, in our counties, but in our courts too, as it is seeming highly likely that some form of this election will end in the courts. We have to be patient. Trust that good will trump evil. We have to, or we are no better than we were four years ago, save for a heightened sense of dread that propels us to do things, take action.

So let’s get up today. Let’s drink out coffee. Let’s wait for North Carolina to bring their numbers in. Let’s wait for Atlanta numbers! Y’all, the Atlanta numbers are not in yet. Let’s wait. Be patient. Let them say what they want. Log off of social media if you have to. Take a walk. Read a book. Paint with your kid. Wear your mask. Plan a holiday for the summer of 2023! Do something but worry today. And keep faith.

M.

Today is Election Day

PLEASE GO VOTE TODAY! For those of you who already have, I salute you. I kinda like you a lot. No, I love you. And when this pandemic is over, let’s go get a beer together, okay? For the rest of you…

VOTE!

TODAY IS THE DAY!

PLEASE GO VOTE!

I love you all.

We’ve got this.

And remember, regardless of the outcome, we have a lot of work to do, but we are in this together.

Stay safe and sane today, y’all.

M.

All Hallow’s Eve

This Halloween was a bit different from others in the past. We didn’t go trick-or-treating, or partake in a fun family costume. We were just too nervous and didn’t know what to expect from the evening. Instead, we did some new and interesting things, like visiting the filming locations of “Stranger Things” a show that Jackson has just started to be really interested in. You can scroll on down my blog and see where we went the last couple of weeks.

But for the actual night of Halloween, we opted to sit out in the front yard and have a s’mores pit going while we put pre-bagged treats in a bucket six-feet from us, just in case we had any trick-or-treaters. We didn’t have many, maybe six, but we did have a couple visits from some friends, and picked up an invite to watch a movie outside a friend’s backyard around the fire pit, where we saw “Flaming Pumpkins” for the first time ever! Seriously, see pics below.

It ended up being a nice night. We didn’t get home until 1 am, however, so we were dragging butt all the next day, but it was just the sort of social gathering (safe, fun, and outdoors) that gave us a little fire to keep going (pun intended).

Before the backyard party, Chief Hopper ended up walking up and down our street to lighted porch lights, and because he’s the only kid on the cul-de-sac and all the neighbors adore him, he filled up on candy! Then while at the party he got to partake in the age-old ritual of “The Candy Swap.” So it really was a fun night after all.

I hope you all had a safe and happy Halloween, but more than anything I hope you have already voted or have a plan to vote tomorrow. Please, pretty please, with spooky, scary sprinkles on top!

M.

We “Boo’ed” Jackson’s friend Bella earlier in the day!
Candy bucket ready!
Getting ready for All Hallow’s Eve in the front yard!
S’mores on the ye olde fire pit!
You know me, just there for the “Boos”
The haul.
The much anticipated “Candy Trade” to end the night.

Angry Today

I’m trying to stave off anger today. I’m so tired of seeing these Covid-19 outbreaks all over the country. I want to scream, “Did you learn nothing from us?!” Like, hello?! Did y’all learn nothing from Georgia, from Atlanta back in March and April when we exploded and our trash governor opened up too soon and it spread like wildfire? Do you even watch the news? We, the people, had to make changes. My county had to make a mask mandate, because our state leaders wouldn’t. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had to hold Atlantians accountable to stop the spread, and it worked but it was hard. Meanwhile my family and friends in the midwest and the west were like, “Well it won’t happen here.” And now it’s happened there and still, still like yesterday, I saw pics of family and friends celebrating in bars and restaurants. What gives you guys?

STOP IT!

PLEASE.

And yes, I know that was an aggressive please.

And yes I know that you are over “this Covid stuff,” but this “Covid stuff” isn’t done with us. It doesn’t how much you wish it away, it’s here. So start acting responsibly.

PLEASE.

Stay safe and sane, y’all.

M.

VOTE!

Homegood’s Art

Listen, I like to collect art from every state we live in. Local art, fan art, and yes corporate, stuffy art from big box stores, essentially whatever tickles my fancy, though to be fair I’m partial to the homemade kind. Still, whenever I come across state art I stop and take a gander. There’s flea market finds, yard sale finds, Etsy artists, Instagram artists, printmakers at art fairs, and Homegoods. This is a story about Homegoods art and the city of Atlanta.

We moved to Georgia last April. April first to be exact. And by April 10th, we were completely unpacked, thanks to the help of my mother-in-law and some very handy movers. So by the end of April I was already shopping around for home accents. My first stop was Homegood’s. Duh.

While there I came across an adorable work of art, complete with the artist’s note on the back to try to make me think the artist was getting some sort of compensation for their work. Listen, I’m not going to pretend to know how the art world operates, but I’m pretty sure Homegoods/TJ Maxx is not offering artist in residence. Anywho, there I was face to face with something I thought would look adorable in my dining room:

Here’s why it caught my eye: The framing job. Perfect! And the cute paper. The signed work. The pastel colors (that were bound to match the new curtains I’d just bought). So I paid what I paid, maybe $40, and took my cute art home.

It took exactly one year of looking at this picture, of learning about our city and state, of having guests comment on how adorable it was before I realized it was racist as hell.

What’s that, you ask. Yeah, I said it, racist as hell.

Check it. From looking at this art you would have no idea that Martin’s Luther King Jr. was such an integral part of the city. There’s no John Lewis. No Civil Rights Museum. But, as Jackson pointed out to me one day, there are four golf courses, two of which I’m pretty sure we’re “Whites Only” well into the 1980s.

There’s also Stone Mountain. Fun. I wonder why they left the KKK hoods out? Artist discretion, I suppose.

There’s also the Tophat Soccer Club. Gee, thanks. And the airport. Really? There’s the airport and some white-ass soccer club, but you had nowhere to stick The King Center? We’re gonna go ‘head and celebrate Six Flags, but pretend like President Jimmy Carter ain’t from ‘round here? Okay, cool, cool, cool. I see you.

Hmpf. So there it’s been. Hanging on my wall. Until this week wherein I replaced it, finally, with something we can all get behind:

Now granted, this was an impulse buy. Just something to get on my wall until I wait for an artist’s rendering of Georgia or Atlanta (preferably a Black artist) to sweep me off my feet. But, the price was good and it matched my new blanket and I feel less gross about the whole thing. Even though I bought it at Homegood’s.

Oh, leave me alone.

M.

Ps… Don’t be a racist asshole.

I Miss Eating Out

We haven’t been to eat at a restaurant since March 11th. That’s seven months of cleaning up after we cook (or occasionally order delivery). Seven months. What I wouldn’t give to walk into a small road-side diner and nibble on some fries, the big, fat, greasy ones that only a roadside diner has. With the ketchup bottle you squeeze, and the endless Coke from a fountain. Ho hum.

What I really wish is not to go out to eat, but for other people to stop it. That would be nice wouldn’t it? I’d also wish other people would stop hosting parties, promoting gatherings, going to sporting events, clubbing then going to see their grandparents the next day.

In short, I wish people cared about complete strangers a little more. I wish they had the willpower to not put others at risk. I wish they could say, hmm, sitting in a small, badly ventilated place with my mask off for several hours seems like a bad idea. I don’t want to risk it.

Maybe if more people hadn’t been to a restaurant to eat in the last seven months, we wouldn’t be so much worse than we were back in April. Maybe there wouldn’t be 215,000 dead people. Man. I hope your date night, or your football tailgate, or your 25th wedding anniversary was worth it. Because if you’re doing or have done those things, you’re only adding to the problem. And we are all adding to the problem in one way or another.

Stay safe and sane, y’all. Wear a mask. I’ll be dreaming of diners…

M.

Read news and wear a mask and stay home. It’s not that hard.

Dr. Dickhead

I met this crazy rheumatologist, let’s call him Dr. Dickhead. I met Dr. Dickhead several months ago by a referral from my doctor over some scary test results. This is his story.

I moved to the Atlanta metro area last year, and had yet to go to an Emory facility. Then a couple of months ago I was referred by my PCP to Emory at Decatur Rheumatogy, that’s when I met Dr, Dickhead. I was referred based on a very high ANA test result along with debilitating joint pain, among other symptoms.

The first hurdle was simply getting an appointment with Dr. Dickhead. I called for a week to try to get an appointment, and kept being told (when someone answered the phone) that someone else would call me back. On the third call to a woman at the front desk, they told me that someone named “Kim” was who I needed to talk to. They confirmed that they had received my pre-appointment paperwork and said she would call me that day. I never heard from her. I chalked this office up to chaos and decided to call the Emory hotline to help me find a doctor. With the help of that hotline I secured another appointment with a different doctor, but they could not get me in until November.

My doctor believed I needed seen before that, so she took matters into her own hands and called Dr Dickhead’s office. I received a call the next day, wherein I was told that they called and left a voicemail (they had not) and basically told that I just have just missed it (I had not). Then “Kim” made the appointment with me.

The above situation was a small inconvenience compared to how I was actually treated by the doctor himself when I got to my first appointment. 

As soon as Dr. Dickhead walked into the room with me, he began to berate my doctor, a women it would appear he doesn’t know, and complain that it was like, “pulling teeth” to get my pre-appointment paperwork. I had already confirmed two weeks before that they had received it, not to mention the fact that the day my doctor’s office sent it over I called the office several times to talk to someone to confirm they received it. They had.

After he finished his tirade on my doctor’s office and how horrible “offices like that” are, he asked me to tell him about my symptoms. At this point I was shocked. I wasn’t sure what he meant by a doctor’s office “like that,” but was increasingly feeling like as a white male, he didn’t appreciate or understand my very female, very female originally from the Middle East, doctor. Ahem.

But I was stuck and thought he was the only one who could help me, so I proceeded to tell him my symptoms, but he immediately stopped me. He did this several times throughout the appointment, both stopping me to tell me he “didn’t care” about one symptom or another, or that he was “all done” listening to me.

I’m not sure if he’s had other women complain about him being rude, with a horrible bedside manner and slight bend toward masochism, sexism in the least, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he has. He had me so upset and flustered I started to forget all the things I needed to talk to him about and I transposed the dates of my first symptoms. He berated me for not remembering the exact dates, which added to the confusion, not to mention that was one of my symptoms, a brain fog that hasn’t lifted like the joint pain, no matter what I try.

But he didn’t seem go particularly want to hear about my symptoms, rather he wanted to tell me how I was feeling and should have felt. He kept mentioning that “as a man” he can only do one thing at a time, so when I would remember something that he wanted to know he would shush me if he was writing. Like, actually “shush” me. Then make that “I’m a man” joke like I was supposed to forgive him because his gender doesn’t know any better. I was starting to think I was on one of those shows where a person with a camera pops out and tells me I’ve been punked.

He all but told me he didn’t believe any of my symptoms, although he several times repeated, “I believe you, I believe you.” I’m not sure what that was about, but I didn’t care whether or not he believed me–I had already been diagnosed from the symptoms I was discussing with Raynaud’s Disease, by my doctor. Of course I’m sure he didn’t believe her capable of diagnosing me…

He eventually told me that there were over 100 auto-immune disease that he had to “cross off the list” and test for, but that we would find out what was wrong, though he told me more than once that my very high ANA test was probably a “false positive.” When I asked him why I could be in so much pain then, he said it was probably an overreaction of my immune system. Isn’t that why I had a high ANA then? I asked, confused at this point and he said, “doesn’t matter.” Kinda felt like it mattered to me though, seeing as I’ve been rendered almost completely immobile several times over the past three months.

Eventually we got to the current symptoms (I had to think back over the last several years) and I started to tell him about the joint pain, the swollen blood vessels that have appeared on my legs, the weird skin problems I have been having and then I said a word that apparently was like a knife to him, “steroids.” I explained that on my original visit to Urgent Care, and then to my subsequent visit to my doctor, both medical professionals had prescribed steroids to help ease the pain, and he went absolutely bananas. Like, he fucking lost it, y’all.

He stopped taking notes, he told me that anything I said “after that point” was not important and was just symptoms from the steroids. He ranted about how horrible they were and that that explained my test. When I informed him that I hadn’t taken them before that test, he flipped out again. Threw his pen down and made a big show of it, arms up, like a child. That’s when I assumed he was a Trump supporter.

I assured him that I had these symptoms before I took the steroids and he said simply, “No you didn’t.” The problem was, I did. I mean, I know I’m just a woman, Dr. Dickhead, but I’m not completely ignorant.

He then did a physical exam, wherein he told me I had no symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease (something to do with swollen arteries in my toes and fingers that he looked at with a small magnifying glass of some kind) while he told me that “Big Box Clinics” were horrible and asked why I even went to one. I tried to explain that I had experienced suddenly swollen joints with a fever and they were afraid I might have Covid-19, so my doctor wanted me to visit an Urgent Care first to be tested. But of course he didn’t hear any of that, as he was still saying that “steroids are bad” and any doctor who prescribes them are horrible.

At this point, as you might imagine, I shut down. He never even let me tell him other symptoms. He asked me to tell him more, but I was nervous about being berated more, and I didn’t know what he wanted to know as the main reason I was there, aside from the ANA test results, was for joint pain, which he told me I didn’t really have. He then told me he would run bloodwork and that bloodwork would “show him the truth,” which I took to mean that I was a liar.

The last thing I asked him was whether or not I should take the other steroids that had been prescribed to me. I had another pack to help ease the pain I was having and he laughed and said that it would skew tests (of which I would have no more) and that I should never take steroids “unless you have something that requires them.” I asked him if I should stay with the physical therapist and he said, “Do what you want.” I said it didn’t seem to be helping, so I would stop. The last thing I asked him before I was ushered to the lab for bloodwork, was how I was supposed to help ease the joint pain and Dr. Dickhead told me “to suffer.” And so I did.

That’s brings me to my follow-up last week, three weeks after my initial appointment which seemed long, considering the lab said he would have my results in 3-5 days. I was there for an hour before I saw him, meanwhile I overheard him talking to a male patient in the next room (where he seemed very nice and cordial). As an aside, that office has very thin walls. At first I thought it was because Dr. Dickhead has a shrill, loud voice, but then I heard the women at the front talking about all sorts of things (one woman, “Kim” was mad that they had let her teenage daughter participate in a mock election at school. “Why would I want my daughter to be involved in that?” She wondered to someone. The other person replied, “Isn’t she 14? Won’t she be voting in the next general election?” To which “Kim” replied, “I told her she didn’t have to vote, that’s her right.” So yeah, that’s the kind of people working at Dr. Dickhead’s office.)

When he finally got to my room, Dr. Dickhead told me that I did in fact have Raynaud’s Disease, this as I said, I already knew. He also told me that I was an “interesting” patient and that he could diagnose me with more, or run more tests (because I had some “interesting” finding) but that he wasn’t going to do that.

He told me I could have CREST Syndrome, or a couple of others, but that I probably didn’t. He didn’t schedule any more tests, he didn’t do as he promised (crossing more tests off the list to find out what is wrong with me) and he didn’t answer my questions. He basically said, “I’m telling your doctor you are fine.” Then wrote my paperwork and told me to take a baby aspirin every day.

When he asked if I had questions I had a few, like why was I still experiencing joint pain? He said, “I don’t know, I’m done.” Then when I asked if these auto-immune diseases, the ones he said I may or may not have, could impact other symptoms I am experiencing, including the aforementioned swollen blood vessels, the reddening skin, the ulcers, the gastrointestinal issues, etc. He said, “I’m not taking responsibility for any of that on.” Then he said goodbye.

My whole experience mad me so upset I wanted to scream. Instead I wrote a strongly-worded email to Emory (I won’t hold this one experience against Emory as a whole) and asked what I do now.

I have an appointment with my doctor in a few weeks, and I plan to tell her all the awful things he said about her and her office, but I still have the appointment with the other Rheumatogist in November, which I would like to see because I honestly have no idea what to do next. Do I need more tests to cross out more diseases? Do I need to watch for any other symptoms? Raynaud’s can stand alone, or be the first symptom in a string of other, bad diseases like CREST which can have negative impacts on your cardiovascular system.

I’m honestly still shocked and in awe of what I went through with a “medical professional” and one that represents a place like Emory. I had heard such great things about Emory, and I was disappointed, but most of all, I was shamed, made to feel like a liar, made to believe what I was feeling was not real, made to think I was sort of crazy. Not to mention the fact that I was repeatedly talked down to, from the receptionist to the doctor. My best experience throughout that whole ordeal with with the lab next door (LabCorp). The calmed me down that day, when I felt like crying. 

I’m sharing today because I learned a valuable lesson: I won’t be letting anyone treat me that way again, there are too many other nice people in this world. And please don’t let anyone treat you that way either.

Let’s stand up for ourselves, shall we?

M.