Mono? What?

I just need to come to grips with the fact that with me, nothing is ever simple when it comes to things medical. I’ve spent my life learning to avoid those in the medical profession because, essentially, my body and my attitude break all their molds and preconceived notions, therefore frustrating the living shit out of me, and quite possibly them as well.


Last week I went to the doctor’s office with a low-grade fever, sore throat and glands so swollen I could barely swallow. When the in-office strep culture came back negative, the doctor looked at me again and asked, “Have you ever had mono?”

See, apparently, this was a text-book case of mono, but there was one problem. You are only supposed to get mono once, and everyone assumes a 43 year old woman has already had it.

Turns out, it was even more complicated than that. The strep a culture was negative, but as the doc put it, “that doesn’t rule out some other form of strep like b or g, and you could just be atypical.” Oh goody. Me? Atypical? Why, who’da thunk?

My departing diagnosis was a strep infection and possible mononucleosis. The reason for the “possible”? It’s a stupid, really. Since there are so few documented cases of mono in patients over 35, it is not an “approved” diagnosis code for patients over that age. Which means, if you say “possible” you can treat me for it. If you say definitively it is mono, you have extra paperwork to deal with for insurance purposes.

Apparently, there is just no way humanly possible for a woman to have reached this ripe old age without having contracted the disease along the way.

Oh, and have you ever tried to find a liquid antibiotic (since I couldn’t swallow pills) that is not a direct penicillin relative? It’s damn near impossible. And when you do, it’s a damn sure bet that every pharmacy within the city will look at you baffled and say, “we have to order that. It’ll take three days.” Thus necessitating the mad search for another acceptable liquid antibiotic choice that someone does actually have in stock.

And do not even get me started on the texture of the stuff. Trust me.