Next time I’d prefer the lightning bolt

By Mir
October 4, 2004

I got about three hours of sleep last night. It’s very difficult to sleep while in the act of scratching or while trying not to scratch. And it turns out that if you do manage to fall asleep, you will then scratch hard enough to wake yourself up. Ow.

Cheerful Voice: Good morning, Primary Care of Countryville, how may I help you?
Me: Good morning, um, I’m a patient of Dr. MainDoc’s and I was wondering if I could be seen today, please?
CV: Certainly, I can have the triage nurse give you a call back. Name please?
*sounds of phones ringing*
Me: Mir–
CV: Please hold. *click*
Me: *scratchscratchscratch*
CV: *click* I’m sorry about that. Name?
Me: Mir Lastname.
CV: Date of birth?
*sounds of phones ringing*
Me: August seventee–
CV: Please hold. *click*
Me: *scratchscratchscratch*
CV: *click* Alright, I’m sorry. Let’s see… here you are. Is this your correct phone number?
Me: Yes.
CV: And what seems to be the problem?
Me: I got a few wasp stings about a week ago and they’ve suddenly puffed up again.
CV: And are you having any pain or itching?
*sounds of phones ringing*
Me: Yes. YES. Make it stop, please.
CV: Please hold. *click*
Me: *scratchscratchscratch* *banging head on the desk*
CV: *click* I do apologize. So, moderate itching?
Me: No. Itching as in I can no longer find my ankle because of the swelling.
CV: Oh dear. I’ll have the nurse call you.
Me: Thank y–
CV: *click*

I wait. To pass the time, I eat some cookies.

*phone rings*
Me: Hello?
Businesslike voice: Hello, this is the triage nurse from Primary Care of Countryville. Is this Mir?
Me: Yes, hi. Thanks for calling back so quickly.
BV: You’re welcome. What can I do for you today?
Me: Well, I got some wasp stings about a week ago and yesterday they started swelling up again. Now my leg is pretty swollen and red.
BV: How long ago were you stung?
Me: A week.
BV: Are you swollen everywhere?
Me: No, just in large areas around the stings.
BV: Does it hurt or itch?
Me: No, I was just sort of hoping you’d let me drive over there and give you $15 because I don’t have anything else to do today.
*crickets chirp*
Me: Sorry, yes, it’s very painful and itchy.
BV: Okay, let’s have you come in. Let’s see… Dr. MainDoc isn’t available today, but Dr. BackUp can see you this morning at 9:30.
Me: Great, thank you.
BV: See you at 9:30. *click*

My doctor is very popular, so she’s almost never available. Dr. BackUp is the one I see about 99% of the time that I call for a same-day appointment. And that’s fine, because he’s very nice, and it turns out that we have an alma mater in common. We often spend my appointments reminiscing about the foods we miss from our old campus. Except that, of course, I graduated in 1992 and I’m pretty sure he didn’t finish until last year. When he was 14. Because he can’t be much older than 15, now, if looks are to be believed. And call me old-fashioned, but I firmly believe that all doctors should be older than I am. Or at least appear to be old enough to drive. Anyway.

Dr. BackUp arrived with perfectly gelled, spiked hair and that smile that makes me just want to pinch his cheeks and give him a lolly.

DB: Good morning! Long time no see.
Me: Hi, yeah, the last couple of times I came in I saw Dr. MainDoc.
DB: Ah, okay. So what’s happening today? Wasp sting, it says?
Me: Three of them, actually. *pulling up my pantleg and removing my shoe and sock*
DB: Oh my GOD! *trying to regain his composure* That’s something, huh? How long has… uhhh… that been going on?
Me: I woke up like this yesterday morning. Pretty, dontcha think?
DB: *suiting up in latex gloves* Well… uhhh… it’s something, alright. That looks really painful.
Me: It IS really painful. I am seriously considering gnawing off my own leg. Can you fix me, please?
DB: *trying to keep his face neutral as he pokes and prods and realizes that he, too, cannot locate my ankle despite my having left it in the usual place the night before* Well I’m certainly going to try to fix you. Wow. This is really something.
Me: You already said that.
DB: Yeah, I guess I did. Did you know you’re allergic?
Me: I’m allergic?
DB: Okay, I guess that’s a no. Could just be because you had multiple stings. It might not happen next time.
Me: There won’t be a next time. I’m not going outside ever again.
*crickets chirp*
Me: Kidding.
DB: Oh! Haha! I get it. This is really something.
Me: Yes, maybe if you could just give me something for the pain and itching but not the swelling, I could join a sideshow somewhere!
DB: Ha! Haha! Well, let’s get you some steroids and some topical ointment, too, and see if we can’t get this taken care of.
Me: Yes, good. Thank you. How fast will it work?
DB: Oh, it shouldn’t take too long. I’m going to put you on a course of prednisone. Have you ever taken it before?
Me: Nope.
DB: Okay, it’s a course where you start out high and taper off. So you take buckets of pills every day for a few days, then smaller buckets, then taper down until eventually you’ve either finished the entire course or died of old age.
Me: Oh! Haha! Okay, I get it. Sounds lovely.
DB: Okay, lemme just write these up for you. Stop scratching.
Me: *whimper*
DB: By the way, how are your migraines? Are the meds I gave you working out?
Me: Huh? Oh, yeah. Actually I had a hysterectomy this Summer and had a bad bout right after, but now that the hormones are regulated I’ve been headache-free!
DB: You had a hyst? I don’t even see that in your chart.
Me: Well then, my confidence in the practice here just continues to expand.
DB: Lemme just get you those prescriptions.

Then it was off to Target. Where I had a completely new Target experience! (And you know, I’m always at Target, and I didn’t know there were new things there for me to experience.) Yes, I stood at the pharmacy, forked over my prescription coupon, and then proceeded to roll up my pant leg and smear ointment on myself while the pharmacist rang me up.

I am so classy.


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