Iron Shooters

Doctors make me laugh.

Not the gut wrenching, I can’t breathe way but the kind of humorless, I-can’t-believe-this-stuff-happens kind of laugh.

I live in Edmonton, a city which seems to be full of great doctors who don’t have any room for new patient and strange doctors who are desperately looking for patients to make money off of.

In Canada doctors own their practice and make money from the Province based on how many services they provide each patient who walks through their door. This dynamic creates hilarious conversations between me and the very strange doctors who are anxiously awaiting new patients.

Three months ago I met with a doctor who seemed to have left his stethoscope, lab coat, note pad and professionalism at home. He came in, shook my hand and talked with me for way too long about what I do for work, but background and where I am going in life.

It felt more like a first date than a medical appointment.


No, I do not want to tell you all about what I do for a living, my hopes and dreams and if I am married to the man of my dreams or not. Out of the back pocket of his very wrinkly pants he pulled out a scrap piece of paper that was about the size of his palm. After watching him give himself a pat down in an effort to find a pen, I loaned him one from my purse.

He proceeded to make random notes in him palm and take my request for medication without even looking up my file or referring to previous blood work.

Suddenly his eyes lit up and he asked the big question.

Do you want a full physical today?

No strange, confused man with the wrinkly pants, lack of professionalism and overt interest in my personal life, I do not want to put on a paper dress for you and sweat through the speculum and other awkward and horrible parts of the complete physical.

Thanks for asking?

I declined and listed off the blood worked he needed to check off on the requisition form.

If you are a long time reader of my blog, you know the incredible health struggles I have had over the years. Hashimoto and I are getting along much better these days, but for the last 6 months I have been feeling like there is more energy to be had. Most days I feel like laying on the floor at about 2 pm, I constantly have to choose to be happy and smiling is something I remind my face to do on a moment by moment  basis. My ability to run sucks, it seems like I can’t get enough oxygen, and energy at the gym is medium on a good day.

Two weeks ago as I took my morning thyroid medication, I noticed I was down to about 9 more days of medication.

Time to try another doctor.

Besides, I wanted to know the results of the blood work so I could make some decisions on what to do next for my health seeing how with the help of Google I have become my own expert and healthcare consultant.

This doctor entered the scene with a laptop, giant dark circles under his eyes and a white lab coat.

Very few words were spoken as he balanced the laptop on one knee, looked up my blood work and tried to keep from rolling across the small examining room. Before I knew it, we were arguing about how long ago I got my blood work done.

Donloree – I had some blood work done a few weeks ago. Can we look at that? I feel horrible and exhausted all the time. I have to tell myself to smile.
Giant Dark Circles – I don’t see anything on your file here. You didn’t get blood work done.
Donloree – Sure did. A few weeks ago. August 30-ish? 6 or so weeks ago?
Giant Dark Circles – Six is not a few. Please tell me the correct information. You need to be accurate.
Donloree – Well my world goes pretty fast, six seems like a few to me. What do my results say?
Giant Dark Circles – I have to look. A few is two weeks, this is not a few. *SIGH* Let’s see if you got anything done.
Donloree – I remember going to the clinic, a needle and several vials of my blood getting pulled out. I got it done.

It went downhill from there.

Giant Dark Circles – You are very anemic. Your hemoglobin is also quite low. So do you bleed a lot on your cycle? Do you eat like crap? Do you eat?
Donloree – (trying to refrain from kicking him) Yes, I eat. I eat well. I have struggled with anemia for years. It all ties together with my Hashimoto – there seems to be a link.
Giant Dark Circles – Take iron medication and come see me in a month. Then we will do a full physical. I need to assess everything. I have a feeling you just eat like crap. Here is a prescription. Just take these.
Donloree – No. Those screw up my digestion and I finally have it in order. I refuse to take something that makes me sicker and feel worse. What else can we do?
Giant Dark Circles – I will give you a prescription for laxatives. You will be fine.
Donloree – No. I am not taking something and then taking another something for the something that the something does to me. No.

Then came the expected, awkward request to complete a full physical.

I shook my head and let him know I would schedule a follow up in order to get my prescription for my thyroid medication. There will be no paper gown adventure with him either.

Due to my inability to store iron in my body, which can only be explained by it also being an autoimmune issue, I am taking ‘iron shooters’ twice a day. After querying many people who have similar issues and anemia alongside Hashimoto, it looks like my anemia may be of the ‘pernicious‘ variety.

Autoimmune strikes again?

There is nothing quite like tossing back 10 mL of something that tastes like bloody grape juice to make you feel fully alive.

Yum? And no, I apparently don't brush my hair before I take pictures and I also seem to not be into retaking pictures.

Yum? And yes, I apparently don’t brush my hair before I take pictures and I also seem to not be into retaking pictures.

But in fact it seems to be doing just that – helping me come alive. After a full week and a half of two daily shooters, I am starting to see inklings of health and my body seems to be responding.

Nor is an anti-venom for the solution required. Win-win!

But in all seriousness, how much do doctors in Alberta get paid for a full physical? Let’s hope its a ton of money otherwise there are just a bunch of creepy doctors out there…

Off I go to continue to kick anemia in the teeth! 

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  1. melissa cunningham says

    wow. iron shooters??? I have also struggled with anemia for years and have never heard of the shooter before!!!!
    bottoms up chica!
    glad you are starting to feel a little better!!!

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