Ah, Sip Deep From the Cup of Humiliation
Yesterday I said I'd weathered the poison ivy outbreak I noticed that morning. Someday I'll learn not to tempt the Gods, the Fates, or whatever it is that rules over us. Last night I started feeling itchier, and the inflammation over my left eye started swelling. Woke up this morning with my eye completely shut. Could not see out of it. The rash between my fingers was worse, and I saw a few ominous spots on my leg and arm. Well, that's just ducky.
I haven't gotten my insurance cards yet, but I got my benefits confirmation letter so I'm covered, and a quick phone call to the doctor did I make. As I've said before on these pages (more times than I'd like to remember), you know you're sick when you're HAPPY to be going to the doctor. They could fit me in at 9AM, so I called off work, washed well, and got in the car.
Let me tell you something--driving with only one eye is tricky. Not having depth perception makes navigating sweeping curves (which there are aplenty in my neighborhood) an E-ticket ride. I finally resorted to pulling my left eye open as I drove, because otherwise I was gonna end up in the guard rail.
The waiting room was about half-full, meaning four pair of eyes looked at me, looked at my eye, and made the "oooogh" face. Great. I signed in, they checked my insurance info, and I sat down to squint my way thru Sports Illustrated. After a half-hour my name was called, I was weighed (gained five pounds this summer, great) and learned that my blood pressure was good. With that, I waited for the doctor, who, the nurse said, was working today with some new physican trainees. Would I mind if they joined the doctor as he examined me? Hey, who am I to stand in the way of medical progress.
Physcian trainee. I think that's how it was described. I think she meant a doctor newly out of med school. I think. Anyway, a few minutes later the door opens and this ridiculously cute blonde girl walks in wearing bell-bottomed khakis and a white lab coat. I say "girl" because she looked about 22 years old. This adorable care-giver (I'll call her J) winced when she saw my eye and said it looked like I'd been punched in the face. I said that, alas, I didn't even have a good story to tell about my disfigurement. She laughed, and I made her laugh a few more times, proving that she was probably more nervous than I was. She asked me the questions, I gave the answers, she checked my breathing and heartbeat (both slightly elevated) and said she'd get the doctor.
Now, I already knew where this was headed. And I didn't like it. The doc came in, I saw him last year for much the same thing, he asked if my vision was impaired beyond the swelling, and then he said, "OK, we'll give you an injection..."
An injection. Now, it wasn't the needle that bothered me. Not that I like getting metal shoved into my flesh, but shots no longer faze me. Again, when you're as messed up as I am at the moment getting an injection sounds almost delicious. Yeah, medicine, groovy, you just stick that needle in my eyeball if you want. But I really, really didn't want J to give me the injection, because, again, I knew where this was headed.
"OK," she said, "I'll give you the injection just above your right cheek...". Yes, dear readers, I had to drop my pants in front of this intelligent and competent healthcare professional. Did I mention that she had hair like cornsilk and eyes the color of cornflowers and a shy smile that had me thinking of cornball lines to put her more at her ease? Because she was definitely nervous about giving me the shot. Not giving it to ME, mind you. I'm sure to her I was just a big gross prop wearing a black Polo shirt. No, I'm sure for all doctors it's a bit sketchy at first, sticking people with needles.
The nurse came in to make sure J was doing everything right. I actually didn't have to drop my shorts down to my ankles, more like unbutton and tug them down like I was making what would be a really unsuccessful Coppertone ad. First came the cool antiseptic swab, and then the little stick. If I had balls or if I were an asshole or something maybe I would've let out a fake shriek of pain, or maybe moaned her name, but instead I just stood there like a good boy, took my medicine, and was on my way. An hour later I'm seeing some improvement, but I'm still typing this in monocular fashion. I'm supposed to go back in 2 days, just to make sure the swelling has gone down and things are proceeding apace. A question of etiquette--is it proper to bring flowers to a checkup?