Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Mint Incident

My company has a health center on the premises, which is super convenient except for the fact that the doctors and nurse who work there are all a bit cracked. I was having weird leftover symptoms from what I believed to be the Swine Flu, so I went down yesterday and visited the doctor.

A white-haired old crank with red-rimmed eyes, he made some stupid jokes and then asked me what my symptoms were. I explained that I had an extremely painful, stiff neck. Doctor so-and-so asked me to sit down and put my head between my knees, and then he put a hand on my forehead and "whipped" my face up rapidly.

"Does that make you feel dizzy?" he barked. Why, yes, it does. And thanks for giving me whiplash.

"No fever, no throat redness. You're fine! Go back to work! Stiff neck is from lying in bed all week!"

But sir, I did not "lie in bed all week." He wasn't having none of it. I think he had to get back to his bourbon in the desk drawer.

Today, I was having even worse symptoms, including swollen joints all over my body, so I went back down to the health center. I was hoping the same doctor would be sleeping off last night's binge, and I could see one of the other weird yet more approachable women who work there. But there he was, hunched over a desk and ordering more Viagra from Canada.

The same nurse/receptionist had me fill out a form and took me into the same office to take the same vital signs. Except this time, I had a mint in my mouth--plucked from a bowl in the waiting room. Since she needed to take my temperature, I took it out and searched in vain for a trash can. Then I spotted a large metal one in the corner, flipped up the lid, and threw the mint in. The nurse/receptionist turned around just in time to see me do it, and her mouth fell open.

"That's the medical waste can!"


She snatched a paper towel from the dispenser and held it out to me. I took it gingerly, and looked at her.

"Go in there and get that mint," she said. "That's not the garbage."

I stepped on the footplate to open the medical waste bin and peered inside. There was my mint, resting amongst a pile of bloody bandages, rubber gloves, used tissue, and other offal.

"You want me to go in and get the mint? In the medical waste container?"

She nodded. I threw down the paper towel and walked out. I think I said something like, "I'm outta here!" On the way out I saw Creepy Doctor Whitehair, waiting for the appointment. He looked rheumy-eyed and fresh from a recent bender. He made a kind of surprised chuckle as he saw me go, and then turned back to his computer.


Anonymous said...

I loved this post (and love your blog). Have people already told you that you have a David Sedaris-esque quality to your writing? PLEASE keep it up.

carli said...

That is almost as fucked up as the nurse practitioner down there messing up my blood test by missing the vein in both arms. . . after telling me she could never remember right from left.