Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Karma is a Bitch.

"Do you drink or smoke?"

"Occasionally," I answered.

"When you smoke, how much?"

"About a pack a week . . . I like to keep it healthy."

She didn't crack a smile or roll her eyes.

In her defense it was two in the morning. Given how young she was, she was probably only a few months into her residency. A friend tells me that the interns at Stroger go through hell. She outlined the red area around the bite mark, tracing the entire back portion of my lower leg. The spiderbite had worsened. The occasional shooting pain was now a flame burning inside my calf. The people in the waiting room had looked at my wound in awe - crissakes id that were mhuy leg i'dda be fuckin' screemins! - the only other patient whose maladies rivaled mine was the human sunburn. This man must have walked into the ER directly from the face of the sun. He left a trail of peeling skin behind him. He hobbeled around the waiting room, moaning with each step. He winced at the draft from the opening door, and tried to sit down, but was immediately brought to tears. When he was called in, I couldn't help but mutter, "Oh, thank God. That poor bastrad hurt just to look out." Everyone nodded in agreement.

I was seated on an examination table. The doctor looked at the bite. (For reference, it resembled a more advanced Day Three from yesterday's post.) It hurt to the touch, but to make sure, she jabbed her finger so deep into the wound I had to laugh.

I laugh when I'm in pain, or nervous. I'm like Bill Murray in Little Shop of Horrors. The attending physician must have thought I was getting some sexual kick out of this. She took some more info, vitals, and measured the wound. She excused herself to confer with the Chief Resident. A guy my age comes in and jams his thumb in the wound. I crack-up.

"Yeah, it looks like we'll have to remove a portion of it, drain any fluid that collected and then pack the wound."

I'm laughing like somone watching Naked Gun for the first time. As the doctor is readying the equipment, I stop gut-laughing to say, "I've spent the entire day hoping that it wouldn't come to this."

Sh was going to numb the area with a few injections of Lidocaine before starting. The tissue around the bite is sensitive to the touch. Enough so that I had to pull the fabric of my slacks above the wound so it wouldn't rub. The needle didn't feel as bad as I was expecting. The burning sensation from the injection felt much worse. The second injection hurt more than the first. The third hurt more than the second. That shouldn't be right. Before she dropped the needle in, she would ask, "Can you feel this," and prick the surface of the skin. I let her know that I was feeling it more with each subsequent injection. She gave a puzzled, "hmmm?" before suggesting we try a few more. She gave me no less than six injections, and they all hurt like mothers. I told her to stop injecting and just start with the draining.

I could feel the incision made by the scalpel. I wasn't laughing now. I was biting my forearm to keep silent. I wanted her to finish whatever the hell it was she was doing. Once the scalpel cut a small mouth into the wound, she took a pair of scissors and shoved the point into the new opening. After pulling the handles apart, the mouth was now agape. Pus, blood and some clear liquid coughed out. She took her thumbs and placed them on either side on the entry. Applying as much pressure as she could, the fluids streamed out onto the observation table and floor. She repeated this entire process several times.

When the cutting was done, she took long strips of gauze and fed them into the open mouths. It looked like a a baby bird being fed a worm.

"How do you feel, A.v.E?"

"I feel like someone cut open my leg and packed it full of plastic."

Finally, a laugh.

By Four AM, I was a ball of nerves shaking on the observation table. The fact that I'd been up for twenty-plus hours didn't help my shock. She cleaned the area and asked me to meet her in the hall. It took 20 minutes to step-off the table, let alone put any weight on the leg.

A gypsy cab was outside. He dropped me off at a friends apartment near the hospital. It would have been a forty-dollar cab ride or another two hours on public transportation to get home. The guy tried to charge me 26 dollars for the three mile drive. I gave him ten bucks and told him to take it, otherwise I'd call the cops. It worked. I wondered what else I could get by civic threat. "Make me a sandwich, or else I'll give every DEA agent within ten-miles of here the biggest hard-on to bust your ass!"

I opted to sleep on the floor, lest any leakage stain her sheets. I couldn't get comfortable. No matter how I laid out. I was still shaking, unable to forget the feeling of something foreign inside me, jabbing around. I looked at the clock. It was 5:00 AM.

I'd have to be at work by nine.


Dirty Q-Tip said...

The joys of manliness, and waiting too long to go to the doctor. "That shit will heal itself." I went in for a staph infection once the wound was about two inches deep. Of course the shoved a handful of q-tips about four inches in my leg.

My doctor came back in with a book, glanced at the wound, back at the book, at the wound, at the book... He came back and told me that it looked infected. They just gave me a injection in my ass cheek, and some pills. I now have a nice divot in my leg.

Moaning Myrtle said...

So....no posts in two days, does that mean you're in a coma somewhere?

Anonymous said...

the better story would be all the things you've done to deserve this

Anonymous said...

So...no posts in five days, does that mean you're getting pointers on how to disappoint your readers from the authors of that other blahg?

Oliver Babbles said...

I was going to leave a comment about how you deserve this, but then I saw someone beat me to it.