N is for Negative


In many worlds, the word ‘negative’ is, well, negative. It’s bad. It’s wrong. It’s not positive. If your bank account is negative, that’s not a good thing. When the temperatures are in the nega-to-z-letters-native numbers, that’s freaking cold–too cold to go outside! But when it comes to medical test results, negative should be a good thing, right! Well, not always…

Let me explain.

For about four years prior to the pulmonary embolisms, I had something wrong with me, medically, and couldn’t figure out what it was. I went to two docs back home, but none of them knew what was wrong.

Then, when I came to Houston/Galveston, we started looking for docs to figure out what was wrong. All I could find were doctors who wanted to medicate my symptoms. None of them wanted to diagnose me and treat the problem. Lab tests are treated as gospel, until it’s not convenient to do so, then they are ignored completely.

And there’s something really discouraging and depressing about going from one doctor to another and no one having any answers. It’s horrible when a patient starts to pray for serious medical condition, just so you know you’re not crazy.

I recall sitting in a rheumatologist’s office, and when he came in the room, he sat and scooted over to me in his rolly chair, and he said, “All the tests we did were negative.”

I started to say something, and when I did, I couldn’t speak. I looked at my best friend, who was in the room with me, and she was crying. I lost it and started to cry too. The doctor sat there, flummoxed. He probably had never had two people sitting in his office crying because the tests were all negative.

But when you’ve been told by doctors that what’s wrong with you is all in your head, that you’re depressed, that maybe you need counseling or antidepressants… when you KNOW something is wrong, you just KNOW it… being told, yet again, that they don’t have a single blood test they know to do that tests positive for anything they can treat… it’s discouraging.

It’s hard to describe. It’s hard to explain. I felt crazy for sitting in that office wishing something was seriously wrong with me, but at the same time, if there wasn’t something seriously wrong with me, that meant something was seriously wrong with my head, which meant there was something seriously wrong with me no matter which way it went, and when you start thinking in this manner, without taking a breath or blinking, you stop and tears stream down your face, and doctors look at you like your actions are confirming what they suspected, that you are crazy and… and… and… (big deep breath). Yeah.

So no, negative isn’t always negative, but for medical testing, it’s not always positive either.

Love and stuff,



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2 Responses to “N is for Negative”

  1. Derek Odom says:

    I ‘get’ this post. I have low blood sugar problems and have to either eat REALLY big or quite often or my body goes all cattywampus on me. I don’t like it, but I’m not going to go from doc to doc, telling them my woes, only to have them perform 40 tests and tell me in the end to ‘watch my diet.’

    Thanks. No kidding. You don’t say?

    But I tell ya, it’d be nice not to get shaky every time I’m hungry, and it’d be nice not to have to pee seven times before I eat. That shite gets so annoying.

    Course, my issue is much smaller than yours, but… well, you knew what I meant.

  2. Amazing posts. Your blog is helpful, well written and heart-wrenching. Good luck with your battle and thank you for informing me about the disease.

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