Monday, December 19, 2011


So I figure I am this close to getting my medical degree. What are my qualifications you ask?

Well last month I developed a bit of chafing in a delicate spot (under the left boob) and it HURT LIKE HELL. So I got out the bacitracin and gauze and applied it the area and waited a couple of days for my appointment with the ultra-handsome Dr. LaCouture, Sloan's dermatologist. So he looks at my handiwork and said "well doctor, I am impressed with your course of treatment and recommend you stick with it until the rash is gone." Now I know you're saying yeah what does that prove exactly? Well consider this...

Two weeks ago, Dec. 5, I had my routine Brain MRI. Side Note: I posted on facebook that I never in a million years thoughts I'd hear the words "Ok Mrs. Cucuzza, this is just your usual MRI." And he said it like he was making me my daily Tom Collins or something. It was pretty amusing to me.

Anywho the next day I developed hives. I didn't think anything of them at first because I also ate some provolone cheese and if they don't get enough of the rind off there can be a touch of mold on it. Now I'm not talking about cheese that's past it's date, I mean the mold that they use to protect the cheese casings while they age. They wash it off, but there can still be some on there and I'm MEGA allergic to mold. But there was a chance too that I was allergic to the IV dye that they give you for the MRI.
So to reduce the itchiness I did a couple of things. I went back on my Claritan-D which I didn't really need now that Fall is drawing to a close, I used a hydrocortisone-antihistamine cream, and I upped my steroid from 1/2 MG to 1 MG.

But when the hives reached day three I called Dr. Krug's office (my oncologist). I told them everything including my self-medication. And while I'm telling the nurse on the phone, and she's like "wait, you upped your steroid?" I was awaiting a big ole lecture. Instead she says, "ok I'm going to talk to the doctors if they want to add anything but confidentially you did an amazing job treating yourself." When she called back after talking to the doctors she said "we all recommend you continue your current course of treatment until you feel the hives have gone". BOOYAH!!!

Then yesterday in the middle of the day my ear started KILLING me. I've never had an ear infection (at least not since infancy) so this is new to me. But my husband has had a couple so I get right to it. My apt. with Dr. Krug was scheduled for today so I knew I'd have a doc look at it within the next 24 hours, but I still decided to mobilize to ease the pain.

So I take my antibiotic Bactrin (that I'm on 3 times a week, literally Mon, Wed, Fri) to help prevent pneumonia which can happen from being on dexamethasone (the infamous steroid) which is a big deal because it's a Sunday. And then I find John's Cipro drops and use that. I take my Claritin-D to help dry up some of the liquid and tylenol to help with the pain and swelling and finally I take my rhinocort nasal spray twice a day instead of once.

I go to Krug's office to hear about my scans and answer the usual "how are you feeling?" questions. And I told him about the ear and even brought the drops with us, so he knew exactly what I was taking. Krug takes one look at my ear and says "Whoa, I haven't seen an ear like that in years" so it was confirmed this was not a lagging radiation side effect, this was a good old fashioned ear infection, like babies get (that Krug gleefully teased me about).

But what did he say about treatment? "Do you feel these drops are working?" "Yes, I do" "Ok, let me write you a script so you can have your own bottle and not have to use your husband's."

So that's three instances of successful self medication within a month, I came out to the waiting room and was like, so let me talk to people here and see what I can do for them. HA!

And my medical advice is legendary. A few years ago at work, my friend Matt climbed a fence and ended up ripping open his hand and wrist on a Saturday night. On Monday at lunch we see his hand and are horrified. He really cut himself badly and the scab was enormous. So he says "I'm going to go to the doctor and get stitches." And I of course I immediately remember that episode of ER where Dr. Green decides to do something about the long wait all the patients are enduring in their hospital, so he takes the care to the "chairs" and does all this renegade doctor shit. But then he gets to a boy who needed stitches but he can't give them to him because they made him and his mom wait too long in the waiting room, that it's too dangerous to give him stitches. The risk of infection was two great. So I said to Matt, "You can't get stitches it's been too long."

But Matt went to the doctor anyway to get his expert opinion (whatev!). And he showed him his hand and said, "Do I need stitches?" and his doctor said "You can't get stitches it's been too long." So Matt says "that's what the girl at work said."

I mean come on, I am GOOD! So whatever you need I'm the Dr. Nick of Staten Island. "Hey Everybody." "Hello Dr. Nick!" Now I know what you're thinking, that's illegal stupid. And to that I say "come oooooooooooooooooooooon. I got this! Now bend over and cough!"


  1. Yes, you got this..... Made me laugh from start to finish. Found your blog MONTHS ago (note my name and it should be no surprise why I found yours) and was so glad to see you begin writing again......

    Keep doing the Florence Nightingale thing. I do that dermatology floor on 53rd street too.... I'm on the plastics side..... was in there a couple of weeks ago.... actually on the gyn floor.... They had an "Art Cart" to keep us amused in the waiting room. I thought I saw it all over the past five years. This was new.....

    Stay well and keep writing!


  2. Hey AnneMarie!!! I'm so glad you found me! Maybe we'll run into each other one day, I'll be there for an MRI in Feb. Thanks babe!

  3. haha! i love it!
    you're either Dr. Nick or Dr. Spaceman. :)