I was prepared for anything.  I had already run through the differential diagnosis in my brain.  On one end of the spectrum was low iron or hypo-something-anything fixable.  Those possibilities were so distant, however, that they didn’t even deserve my mental energy.  I had other things to worry about.  Because, you see, I was certainly going to fall on the other end of the spectrum:  imminent death. 

Yes, I was positive that my fatigue was a result of some life-threatening, you-only-have-three-months-to-live sort of malady.  Because there is NO WAY IN HECK a pretty healthy 31 year old woman can be this tired all. the. time.  No way.  So, clearly I must be dying.  It was the only logical explanation.

I’ve been putting off this doctor’s visit for some time now.  Patients who come to me with a laundry list of vague complaints are FO REAL the bane of my pediatric existence.  But that’s exactly what I knew I had to do.  Where I had to go.  Because, remember, I was dying.  My days were numbered.  And I could no longer exist in a state of denial.

My appointment was on a dark and stormy afternoon, the ominous sky a perfect match for the somber mood in the room.  Except for the fact that no one else around me was somber!  The nurses were laughing!  The other patients all too jovial!  Did they not know of my terrible fate? The doctor walked in and interrupted my (okay maybe a little dramatic) musings, and I gave him my “oh my goodness, I know tired but this is more than tired.  It’s like when you’re pregnant and you’re SO tired you feel drugged.  That kind of tired” spiel.

“Well are you?” he asked.

Wait.  What?  Drugged?  Or pregnant?  I mean NO!  I’m neither!

“How many kids do you have again?” he then asked.  As I answered, he “mmmhmmm”ed me while furiously jotting down some notes.  I knew where his doctorly mind was going, and I didn’t like it.  He was going to blame my fatigue on being a mother.  RUDE.

Thankfully, he did take me seriously enough to order a battery of labs. I really don’t want to talk about the fact that my vision started going fuzzy immediately after the labs were drawn.  That I got all clammy and the color left my face and I pridefully stumbled to my car before blacking out.  Because I’m a big bad health care provider, you guys, and we don’t wimp out over a little bit of blood!  No, I don’t want to talk about it.

Well, we waited for several long days.  I had alerted my family that I was pretty certain there was something seriously wrong with me.  I informed my husband of my fate.  So I was fully prepared for the devastating news that was to come.  And then I received this letter:

“Dear Catherine,

All of your labs are normal.  None of your lab results suggest a reason for your fatigue.  These negative labs are very reassuring.”

…and two pages of beautifully, shockingly normal lab results followed.  No highs.  No lows.  A textbook example of perfect lab values.

As I stood shocked at this recent development, my thoughts were interrupted by that all-too-familiar cadence of “mommymommymommymommymommmmyyyy“.  And in that moment, I conceded that maybe, maybe, I’m not dying after all.

So, who’s up for a celebratory cup of (caffeinated. very caffeinated.) coffee?