Something happened to me the other day and I didn’t like it. Not one bit. But before I tell you, you need to understand something about me.
I have this thing with going to the doctors. It’s annoying and invasive. There’s always this insanely long check-in line with the strangest most unhealthy looking people in it whom I just want to send to the Urgent Care line myself. And why are the receptionists so mean to me? Always. I know they have an exuberant amount of hypochondriacs to check-in with all of these, “can I use this alternative payment method?” bullshit questions, but they make me feel lonely and unspecial, and this whole thing is supposed to be about ME.
And the waiting room. I just can’t even. The magazines which cover the surfaces of each table look like mounds of germs waiting for me to inhale them and develop a fatale flesh eating disease. Then there’s the family that always sits right on top of me; a toddler with guts spilling out of their nose while their parents talk loudly and incessantly about something I cannot even understand because they’re never speaking English and I’m looking around at the row of empty seats on the other side of the room wondering why the hell this clan had to post up in my bubble.
It’s in these moments, I find myself sitting in the chair like…..
breathe and you die bitch
When the nurses finally call for me, it’s like I couldn’t run any faster into their arms; as if behind the door they’re holding open resides the lair of residual clean air.
It’s here where my story truly begins. See, the other day, I’m sitting in the sterile digs of Doctor Mai’s discussing a change in migraine medication when he’s like, “You should get the flu shot.”
And I’m like, “No, I’m good. No needles for me today.”
And he’s like, “No you should get it. There’s already been a case of H1N1 here in California this year.”
And I’m like “SWINE FLU?!”
So I get the damn shot and it hurts and I hate it but I deal with it. Then, I think, okay time to blow this joint, when suddenly Dr. Mai says, “Oh and it looks like you’re due for some blood work.” And the sensible side of me thinks, well, I could either make a new appointment and get charged for a separate copay, or do all of this now. So, I agree to another needle session and trot my way down to the lab to get it done.
Unfortunately, things don’t just wrap up here. Instead they unravel like when my cat gets her greedy little claws into the roll of toilet paper and creates a huge, annoying, unnecessary mess.
The whole drawing blood thing is terrifying to me. Why can’t you just breathe on a needle and have it tell you if you’re healthy?
So I put my right arm on the table. The lady slaps a rubber band around my forearm and searches for a vain to attack. She thinks she finds one and stabs me once, but it doesn’t take. She tries another spot with the same lifeless response. All the energy I used to get into that room, sit down, and allow for that initial poke seems useless now. I want to melt into liquid form like Alex Mack (if you never saw that television show you’re straight whack), slide under the crack of the door and escape into a bountiful world of kittens and rainbows.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Sweet serenity:
But instead the lady is like, “Give me your other arm.” So I take a deep, “you’ll-be-fine-breath” and give her my limb and close my eyes and go back to Kitten Land and just hope that when I open my eyes the massacre has concluded.
When I open my eyes, however, there’s like 5 nurses holding onto me, and blood dripping down my arm and leg and lots of gasping noises. And I just can’t seem to understand what the fuss is about, so I ask, “Are you guys all worried about me right now?” To which everyone sort of frantically answers:
YES! ARE YOU DIABETIC? DID YOU EAT TODAY? CAN YOU HEAR US?
And then I realize what’s happened, and I freak-the-fuck-out. I start profusely sweating, incessantly crying, intensely shaking.
So, I guess I passed out. I’ve never done that before. Never understood it. Yet here I am in the arms of nurses getting apple juice tossed down my throat and told my eyes rolled around and it was “stranger than usual.” Then they tell me I have to go to Urgent Care and get checked out, and to get into a wheelchair, which I refused to do until realizing that, indeed, I couldn’t walk. During this whole ordeal though, no one thought of cleaning the trails of blood off of my bare skin, so they’re hastily wheeling me through the hallways and I’m wiping blood around in circles trying to clean it up with my bare hands. Disaster-zone.
I’m wheeled past the whole waiting room of patients eagerly awaiting their 1 hour 75 minutes to be seen in Urgent Care and dropped off in a room with Doctor Something-or-Other. And he’s basically like, you need to take off your shirt and bra because I need to give you an EKG to check your heart out. So, I’m uncomfortably exposing my breasts with a privacy curtain to my room that reaches halfway across, leaving my bosom exposed to a bunch of people getting weighed.
Then I’m alone, shirt back on, with oxygen up my nose for 30 minutes, until some super bitchy man nurse tells me that guess what, they have to draw more god damn blood and throw an IV in me as well. And I’m like…
But bitchy male nurse is like, “We have to.”
And I’m like, “But that’s why I just fainted.”
So he gets this pretty nurse with soothing eyes to come in and she asks me questions about cats and yoga to try and distract me, which was totally working, until, surprise surprise they can’t locate a vain and start poking me all over the place and so I get super cry-kitty again. Though, at this point, I’m basically refusing to pass out for a second time, so I man up and wait for them to get the damn things in.
The blood gets drawn (still not sure for what), and I’m left with an IV pouring cold fluids into my body and told to just lay there and relax. But how am I supposed to relax when I have this small tube of blood taped to my arm with a needle buried in my skin that feels so… tight? I spend the next two hours beneath florescent lighting, surrounded by white walls as I listen to patients come in, get weighed and beg for an endless list of medications, of which most respond with “No I do not exercise,” and “No I do not work.”
And I’m just judging everything and everyone for 2 hours, watching the IV bag drip, drip, drip, until it’s empty, and there’s no reason for the needle to be in my arm anymore and I’m furiously waiting for bitch-ass-male-nurse to come in and take it out but no one does for another 40 minutes. Of course when he finally comes in he’s all, “Oh, the IV is done? Ok cool,” and takes out the IV but keeps the damn needle in my arm.
Then he’s like, now we have to do another EKG. At this point, I’m so over it that I’m just like:
Take me. Take all of me!
After another round of bullshit, I’m told I have to SPEND THE NIGHT IN THE HOSPITAL, because my heart rate hasn’t risen. I just can’t even believe it. I start gasping and stomping and wondering why-the-fuck I still feel like I have a knife in my hand.
So I say, “I can’t. I just can’t. I’m saying no. Can I say no?”
Doc’s like, “Yeah you can say no. I’m sure you’re fine… just trying to be cautious. Let me get the paperwork. One minute.”
But if you haven’t figured this out already, one minute is most definitely NOT one minute in this place.
The curtain is pulled, so I’m watching everybody move around (for 30 minutes), viciously making eye contact with my nurses and doc, as I literally wave my hand with the needle still sticking into it at them, like “UM HELLO!! Take this deadly weapon out RIGHT MEOW!”
And eventually they did, as if it was the very last thing in the world they could think of to do.
As I leave Urgent Care and stagger slowly through the waiting room, past the mean check-in ladies and head towards the doors of freedom, I glance over at the pharmacy, where, upon completion of my short stint in the blood work room, I was to pick up my new migraine medication. But I can’t even fathom standing in the check-in line, sitting in another waiting room, breathing one more molecule of medical air. With release papers in hand, I walk through the doors and out into the California sunshine. Is it too dramatic to say I wanted to drop to my knees? Yes, yes it is, but I felt like I was breaking out of confinement and it felt so damn good.
So this whole thing with going to the doctors has now become a THING filled fear relatable to a cat falling in a bathtub:
So ya know, don’t be surprised if my next doctor visit is met with sheer reluctance.