Telling My Own Stories Department:Continued from Wednesday.
Home from Thanksgiving, I pondered my puffy face and the rest of my complaints, and made an appointment with my family doctor.
The puffy face? Mild edema. He never speculated as to the cause; he told me to cut down on my salt intake and to spend half an hour every day riding my exercise bike. He prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug for my achy knee. And he just laughed off the weight gain. "You're getting older, your metabolism is slowing down. You can't eat like a teenager anymore." He did order some blood tests, but he didn't expect to find much.
About that same time, I started waking up in the early morning hours (a former boss referred to that time of day as "0-dark-thirty"), unable to get back to sleep. It gave me plenty of time to ride the exercise bike, but it was another curious symptom that seemed to point nowhere.
In mid-December, I shaved my beard because of a role I was playing in a church Christmas program. I was shocked to discover that I had a double-chin.
The anti-inflammatory drug was doing nothing for my knee, and the edema was getting worse rather than better, and my doctor was ready to admit that something was going on, but that he was stumped. The blood tests he had run didn't show anything out of the ordinary except that my thyroid was a bit on the sluggish side, which wasn't enough to explain everything I was experiencing. He said he was going to refer me to an interist.
This was beginning to get worrisome. I was not used to my doctor not being able to give me answers.