In case anyone thought I was joking about recouping the cash my (I think, hysterical) health insurance provider robbed me of by threatening legal action over one lousy two month old unpaid bill, let it be known that I just scheduled the first appointment of my planned complete physical. While at the doctor’s office, I also requested a few prescription medications (also covered by the insurer) to stave off what feels like the onset of a bladder infection. I felt sort of giddy on the way home – like, this revenge taking might turn out to be sweet. We’ll see. The bizarre twist in all of this is that I am actually looking forward to the first appointment. I usually hate going to doctors.
And I have reasons for that. Many reasons.
Take, as just one example, the Ear Infection of 2009.
It started with the sensation of having water in one ear and I attributed it to having water in my ear. After a few days of this, a dull pain began which I ignored or blocked out. While writing an email, I suddenly heard a pop followed by a faint hissing sound. Now that my head was exploding, it occurred to me that it was probably time to go to the doctor. She checked me out, diagnosed a ruptured eardrum (or some middle ear part), and then gave me a referral form to go see a specialist. She also gave me some really nice pain medication. I went home, took it, and immediately started to feel a bit bad about the way I always trashed the pharmaceutical industry in my Business English courses.
The next day I went to the specialist and had to take my 9 year old with me because she didn’t feel well enough to go to school. Almost as an afterthought, I grabbed the red plastic “pukey bowl” to take along – just in case she felt sick in the car. I tossed it in my basket and we were off.
A while later, I was in the examination chair and the specialist was peering into my ear.
“There’s something in there,” he said. “I’m going to take it out now, so try not to move.”
He quickly stuck some instrument I couldn’t see way deep into my ear and then pulled it out. He examined his booty.
“It’s a fly,” he said.
“What?? No way!” I said, sitting up and looking at him.
“Yes, it’s a fly. Here look at it.” He then placed the black blob in the palm of my right hand.
As I stared at the thing in amazement (and some revulsion), my daughter chimed in.
“Mom, I think I am going to be sick.”
I jumped out of the chair, grabbed the red plastic pukey bowl with my free hand and shoved it under her mouth just in time for her to empty the contents of her stomach into it.
And then all three of us just stood there in silence – me with a dead fly still lying on the palm of my right hand and a bowl of puke in my left. I looked at the doctor and tried to come up with the appropriate comment in that particular situation. I had nothing. Even to this day, when I think back on the moment and try to come up with the perfect words-I-should-have-said . . . I draw a blank.
The specialist took the bowl out of my hand and went to the sink to wash it out.
“Oh, you don’t have to do that! I’ll do that!” I said (still holding the fly).
Kind man that he was, he answered, “It’s no problem AT ALL. I have four kids myself.” He came back with the washed out bowl in one hand and a waste basket in the other. I took the bowl and gave him a questioning look.
He jiggled the waste basket a bit and said, “For the fly.”
“Oh,” I said, and dumped the fly into it.
As nice as this doctor was, he proceeded to fail me on my hearing test. I eventually had to come back to the scene of my humiliation three more times to retake it before I passed. (But in all fairness, the questions were really hard and I didn’t study.) In all those visits he never once mentioned the fly.
And before anyone out there in blogworld is tempted to do so – to tease me about the fly (Lyart, I am talking to you) – let me ask for a little compassion and empathy.
You see, for a few days after this appointment, I was feeling . . . a bit lost . . . lonely, somehow. I realized that, gosh darn it, I missed the little guy. We had gotten really close . . . there was this connection . . . it was like he could see what was going on inside my head . . . and I dumped him. Just like that.