Had myself a good cry. You scoff at teddy bears and my giant Eeyore but he’s seen me through some shit. I think he’s connected to my lacrimal glands and I can only cry if I’m touching him. Or reading the novella Flowers for Algernon. It was easier than I thought, to cry, because I was out of my mind.
Then I did some thinking for a while, about what was really important and what my priorities were, and where I was setting myself up for failure. This part was harder than you think, because I was out of my mind.
Then, having thought all I could, I dressed and walked down to the doctor’s office, where I was seen almost immediately. I think my inability to talk perhaps put off the clipboard jockey lady as she was a bit sharp with me — like, I’m either unable to speak or I’m retarded, lady, and either way you’re not allowed to be a bitch to me.
The nurse apologized while taking the strep culture because I squeezed my eyes so tight.
Between the nurse leaving and the doctor coming in, I cried a little more. I am so tired, you guys. And hungry, and sick of hurting.
The doctor walked in on the crying and took it in stride, which I appreciated. He felt the Orangina bottle-sized nodes at my neck and then took one look inside my mouth, jumped back a little like he was startled, and said “You have major tonsilitis. Maybe the worst tonsilitis I’ve ever seen. I’m going to go check your strep culture and make sure you don’t have that too.”
All in all, it made me feel like I had been remiss in some way, which I suppose I was. But you know, I’ve been delirious and fevered and exhausted for the last four days — it was only when my fever broke that I could focus long enough to make the plan to go to the doctor. Still, the idea that my disease might have a disease was sobering.
While he was checking the culture I heard him talking to two nurses:
“The worst case of Tonsilitis I have ever seen. You should see this guy’s throat. And he says it started a week ago? What does he have, military training?“
I don’t know if that is a joke about how I am a moron or about how I’m totally hardcore, but the truth is I don’t really notice pain much generally unless it keeps me from swallowing, breathing, eating, or sleeping. Hence my trip to the doctor.
Then a nurse came and shot me in the “hip.” (Do you know what they mean by that?) She put the needle and stuff down on my left side and was asking me about counterindications, and I mentioned “I’m left-handed, so …” and she kind of laughed.
“That isn’t going to matter.”
I haven’t been to a doctor in nine years, and I’ve always been suspicious of antibiotics, so my experience of all this is much more sparse than you think.
The needle was no problem, I was like “That was great! You were awesome!” — which is the kind of weird I’ve been for the last week — but do antibiotic shots always burn for an hour afterwards? It didn’t start hurting until she’d left the room.
So she bent the table up so that I could rest sitting up, which sucked, because my “hip” was on fire. I just kind of milling around the tiny room instead, and I hear her begging to get some kind of magic dulling potion I can gargle so I can at least have something to eat in the next 24 hours before all these antibiotics begin taking effect but then she forgot and sent an orderly to kick me out since I’d gone a whole fifteen minutes without keeling over dead or insane after the super-strong antibiotic shot to the “hip.”
Look, “antibiotic” means, like, Anti-Life, you know? Like Darkseid and shit. And this afternoon a nurse pushed an entire hypo of it. Into my ass. Scary.
“We’re also giving you a prescription for another thing that is going to make you better. Seven pills for seven days.”
Then things started going fast because I guess it was my turn to leave the premises.
“Tylenol lots of fluids gargle with warm salt water seven pills for seven days come back in two or three days if nothing has changed. And good luck.”
Then they asked me for $118.
So I went down the steps to the pharmacy place and — remember that I cannot talk — signaled gloomily to no less than three people that I am currently without insurance (Seriously? Less than a month here, people, less than a month til I’m insured again.) and then was asked if $88.88 was okay.
I had to laugh — or make the scary silent grimace of laughter because my math skills tell me that’s a bit more than $12.50 per pill. Thanks, Pro Med. I hope this $12.50 per day Anti-Life regimen spurs the bacteria living in rowhouses all along my left tonsil into X-Men-style leaps of evolution and they form a team of superbacteria with an evil agenda and … never mind.
Then I got majorly lost. I ended up wandering around, voiceless and delirious, on the diametric opposite side of the city. I was out of the house I think six hours total. Good thing I look normal, and not lost or crazy. All my pain is on the inside.
Then a bird shit on my face.
Then something really horrible happened to my hip that has never happened before and I walked the last mile back to my place with the harsh and gyrating rhythm of someone deeply and traumatically physically impaired. And I realized they don’t walk that way because that’s how they walk: they walk that way because it’s the way that hurts the least. And I almost started crying again.
So I get home and my phone rings. I don’t recognize the number, and talking hurts too much anyway, so I screen it. Then I call voicemail, and this is the message:
“Jacob, this is Heather. I live in the 45th street neighborhood, and I found your medication? I guess you dropped it or something. I think you’re gonna want that back.”
This time I laughed out loud, because even though it hurt like the dickens it was totally worth it.