A Visit to the Doctor
Preface: This was typed up about 5 years ago, long before I'd ever heard of Dave Barry. I don't know if it belongs here, but in retrospect, the humor is in a somewhat similar artery. In the interim, I've picked up some fine Dave Barry books, from which I learned that:
Originally typed on the World Trade Center BBS, sometime between 3 and 5 a.m., sometime last September (1985). I had forgotten, until someone told me I should make a T-file, and sent me a text-trap of the messages, which I re-edited into 80-col, and fixed som spehlinng.
Well, ole' Dr.D woke up this morning and everything was great... the sun was shining... birds were chirping, everything started off as a wonderful day... except for a certain lack of basic bodily ability once taken for granted.
I believe the phrase, "!&@%, I wish I could breathe..." would sum it up.
My brother, officially known as The Geek (just kidding - ouch!) had a bout with asthma a few days previous. "Damn, caught his damn asthma". So I walked into his room, where he was sleeping (with his eyes open - how unnerving) and kicked until I had his undivided attention.
Which perturbed my dog, (otherwise known as the Jimmy Dean Canine Sausage Torpedo) who tried to take a bite out of my foot. No great surprise, that, since it'd already eaten everything else even remotely chewable in the house.
"ARRGHARROUNCH!!!" cried the Geek. "What the HELL do you want?!"
"What do I want? Besides your death? How come I caught your damn asthma, you loser? Taking swigs from my beer when I wasn't looking again?"
"You can't catch asthma scumbag... you either have it or not!"
Typical brotherly relationship, huh?
"Well, I got it, you scum... where's your medicine?"
"Over the kitchen sink, you jerk."
"Thanks a load, putz."
As I slammed the door in his face, staggering bleary-eyed to the washroom, the dog decided to take another run at me. Pity for him that 4-legged land torpedos have poor steering, and he ended up flying into the wall.
At least I still had reflexes.
I found the brown bottle on the shelf over the sink. I popped out a pill. "Strange... I don't remember them being small and pink..." I staggered gasping to the 'fridge and reached for a Pepsi. I closed the door, and thought to myself, "WHAT am I DOING??
I'll end up dead for sure washing it down with Pepsi!" I spun and exchanged for an RC. No Coke. Damn. "Now I'm really feeling sick" I thought...
The next problem was the bottle opener... There wasn't any.
No problem, smashed the bottle on the cabinet, and with luck, Max The Sausage would eat the evidence.
GULP! Down went the pills. I figured I'd take two, as I'm twice the size of my brother (quite helpful in watching something besides Voltron when the folks are away).
"Scumbag..." he said.
"Get a life and lose it" I replied.
"No, you don't understand... the bottle of pills was in the bathroom... I knocked them into the toilet."
"You punk!! How the hell am I supposed to get better if...**... uhh... what the hell did I just take?"
He ran up to the sink and grabbed the bottle, then read it off... "Buffalo Veterinary Clinic: Max, give 1/2 pill every day for worms."
Now I REALLY felt sick.
"Oh Jeezus, I'm dying, I know it!" I tried to ask him a question, but he was rolling on the floor laughing. I got his attention. As he picked up his teeth, I yelled "Come on loser, I can't breathe!! Where's that bronkatine mist??"
"Mrgglgraphl ingra bbbrrrdrummm"
"It's in the bedroom, and I hope you choke!"
OK, I thought. Everything's cool now. I just take a puff of this stuff, and get relief in 15 seconds. Surprise. I didn't even catch a buzz, and I still couldn't breathe.
"Wait" said the Geek, after wrecking yet another bath towel with bloodstains, "You took the wrong one."
"Well, what the hell was this, Lysol?" I said, while caressing his cranium with an alarm clock.
"No..." he replied after regaining consciouness "But this one here is prescription strength."
"OK... lessee it!"
This one tasted like newsprint. You know what? I got worse! I then decided to read the label... 'Do not use unless asthma has been diagnosed by a Doctor.'
"What do you want now?!?", he said, managing to tear himself away from Sale of the Century.
OK, I figured now, time to end these home remedies. Unfortunately, the folks had the cars and were at work and could not be reached. So I watched many interesting TV shows from 11AM to 4PM. Like MTV, Australian Rules Football, and Love Connection. Now I was REALLY in bad shape. At about 2, my grandmother came over to yell at me for being sick, as if she needs an excuse to yell at anybody for anything.
You have to understand something about these ethnic Eastern European Grandmothers.
They LOOK frail, until they start throwing those 50 pound bags of peat over their shoulders. Being the linebacker she is, she'd come over to remodel the basement.
"Grandma, aren't you a little old to lay cement?"
"You shuddup. You not sick. You just fake so you no go to school"
"Grandma, I'm in college... they don't care whether you're there or not."
"You shuddup! You just no-good lazy bum!!"
"Right, right, have fun, just make sure you put in that new electrical outlet down there."
"You shuddup, bum!!" And she continued muttering foreign insults all the way down.
My sister came home around 3. She then proceeded to be her normal, not-quite lovable, obnoxious self. She's a linebacker too. It runs in the family, I guess.
Highlights of her day apparently ranged from riling the dog into jumping on me to standing DIRECTLY between me and the TV screen, as if I had the only viable vantage point in this hemisphere.
"Hey, beachball, scram, I'm sick."
"But caaaan't I bring my friends over?"
"NO! I HATE those noisy giggly rodents!"
"But we're just gonna listen to some PRINCE albums." She managed to lock the door behind her, luckily. As it was, the phone was no longer in working order.
By now, I was really light-headed, dizzy, short-of-breath, barely conscious. Just like Friday night, except for the constant PAIN. Finally, the old lady came home, and promptly riled the dog into jumping on my chest some more. And from there, it was downhill...
Grandma bounded up the stairs. "He's just no-good lazy bum!"
"Mom, I'm kind of dying here. Do you think you could >gasp< find it in your heart of hearts to take me to a doctor?"
"You shuddup! Lazy &^*$(*"
"Thanks again, Grandma.
Isn't there a highway you can build somewhere?"
"Umm, he does look kind of sick, collapsed on the floor there. If you can just hang on a few minutes, dear, I have to drop off your aunt and take your brother on his paper route."
"Why don't you just hire out as a chauffer..." I muttered as she left. The dog took another romp on my chest, and my mom and the geek left, my sister and grandma went down to chop firewood or something. I knew this, because everytime I felt myself drifting off, there was a tremendous BANG of the hammer, or whatever. I didn't care much.
When they returned, I was ready, with my ever-fashionable beat-up nikes, concert t, and jeans.
"Where are we going?"
"Well, none of the doctors are in, so we'll have to take you to the hospital."
Now I knew I was a dead man.
We arrived in the hospital, where I took a seat, and the old lady and the beach ball standing in line for me.
I only had to listen to 45 minutes of drivel, while waiting for them to reach the secretary at the emergency desk. She was a prize. With stunning conversations like "How did you cut your little finger, sir?" and "How are the kids doing in school". With a typing speed of well over 5 w.p.m.
With a constant problem with supplies, running to the back room (wherever that was) no less that 11 times to get 1 sheet of paper each time. Yep, a true union laborer.
Anyway, I finally heard my name called by the nurse.
I was impressed with the nurse's coordination as she effortlessly hit me in the face with the swinging door. "Don't worry, sir, we're in a hospital!", she chirped.
At least she called me 'sir'.
She showed me to a bed, and the pervert in me came to the surface, sickness or no. "Are you the HEAD nurse?"
"Why, no, why do you ask?"
"Because my I definitely need to have my pipes blown out"
A quick slap to the side of my face without the door hinge imprint brought my justification... "I ONLY MEANT MY BRONCHIAL PIPES!!"
"Oh, I'm so sorry, Mr. D.
How can have misunderstood?
Is there anything I can do for you?"
After a minor hospital delay, only about an hour, another nurse came in. "Mr. Dredd, you will have to strip to the waist." As I unbutton my pants, she quickly corrected my error. "NONONonono... you have to take off all the clothes ABOVE your waist."
"Well, your chest is where your problem is, right?"
She drew a few pints of Draft Blood Lite and took my temperature. With another chance at that nurse blown (ahem!), I waited for a nominal time... about three copies of Reader's Digest.
The nurse came in and as I began to pick up my head to see what she was doing, she said "Don't bother getting up, sir." Yippie! Finally she had seen the light, right? Wrong. "Nonono... I'm just going to wheel you to the X-ray room. What were you expecting?"
Another minor wait in the X-ray room. Then, two attendants walked up to me... and I just hoped I still had a valid will somewhere...
"Will it be much longer, doc?"
"Only a little while to set up the X-ray machine." I glanced at the other attendant. He was chewing Hubba Bubba, drinking Pepsi, and reading Spider-Man.
I need to join this union.
"Got a copy of War And Peace around?"
"It won't be THAT long, Mr. D"
"Well, how about Shogun?"
"Well, you won't believe this, but some nut swiped it last time. He should have just taken the last 2 pages if he wanted to read the ending that bad! Whatta loon!"
I was debating whether to sit there for a year or so and accumulate radiation, or make a run for it. I decided to run. Unfortunately, I ran right into a Kenmore Kop who mistook me for a wanted felon. "Don't shoot, I give up!", I yelled as he drew his .45. Three slugs in the wall gave me the impression that he didn't understand, as I returned with unmitigated haste to the X-ray room, for further experiment.
"Ahh, just in time!" exclaimed the lab tech.
Well, a couple of X-rays later, they wheeled me back to triage. The lady next to me was sent to get X-rays. She came back. She got her X-rays back. Negative, too. This started me to wondering.
If I didn't have asthma, and I couldn't breath, and my X-rays were taking so long, what could it be? I asked the nurse. She cheerfully replied, "Gee, sounds like pneumonia!"
"Oh, thanks a LOT."
I lay there for the next eon or so, convinced I was dying. "It's not fair, I haven't even gone to Germany to drink the Beer Of The Gods! I'm too young to die!"
Then the doctor came back. With my mother. With my sister. I knew I was dying. What he said shocked me.
"Your X-rays are crystal clear. You appear to have some sort of viral infection of the nerves of your lungs, causing intense pain when you breathe."
"Well, what can I do??"
"Nothing. Here...", he said, handing me some Tylenol, "This should control your fever until you recover fully."
"You mean there's nothing I can do to breathe better?"
"And all this is just a misplaced common cold?"
"And I can't do anything to try to feel better?"
"Nope. But this is an interesting case. Can you come back tomorrow at 10 for a double-check?"
"I suppose so. How much is this running me?"
"What do you care? You're insured."
Oh cripes... Well, back home I went. My grandma met us at the door. "He's got an infection in his lung.", my mom offered.
"You shuddup! He's just fake it the lazy bum!!"
Yep, home sweet home, noise, ruckus, dogbites, pepsi, TV and rodents and headaches. Nice to be back? I doubt it. At least I don't have worms.
This story above is the Gods-honest-truth (with only a few liberties taken). And this is also what I do when I have insomnia, and time to kill, and am able to do absolutely nothing else.
Well, this has been an experience, thanks for bearing with me (and no, I can't breathe properly yet, either. Whatta day.)
(P.S. I never did go back for that double-check the next morning. I might be gullible, but even I have limits.)
(P.S.^2 My brother and I don't really fight like that, certainly not since he outgrew me. Except during hockey games, when you HAVE to keep the front of the net clear. Besides, he plays like a rat and deserves what he gets...)
(P.S.^3 You didn't really read all this, did you? Hot damn, that's impressive! Are there any subliminal messages I can slip in, like "Sign your house over to me?" I'd feel like a Bhagwan!)
© 1995 Dr D. Last update: Saturday, November 02, 2002