Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Friday, November 21, 2003

Failure of the Day: Medical Karma

You know what sucks? Itchiness. Itchiness sucks. My rash reached a fever pitch this morning and I began calling my internist at about 8am. At 9:10, they had finally arrived in the office and I shouted something about acute symptoms into the phone until the receptionist said the nurse practitioner could see me at 10:30.

I don’t go to UCSF anymore; I go to California Pacific because it’s 21 blocks in a straight line from my house. This business of not having the government tell me who my doctor is is a brave new world, even still.

The nurse practitioner was sufficiently perplexed to give me several different prescriptions, a lab slip for a blood draw, and instructions to see my dermatologist. My dermatologist, it turns out is in the same building as my internist but I hadn’t seen him since April and I certainly didn’t have an appointment. But what the hell, right? I went to his office and learned that he didn’t have office hours on Fridays. But he just happened to be in the office doing paper work and agreed to see me on the spot. How often does that happen?

But of course, this is only a fraction of what Medicine owes me, so I thanked him and showed him my rash, which you’ll be happy to know is not Bacterial Meningitis or anything else freaky, but merely a viral reaction to some low-grade flu that I apparently have and that is causing my swollen glands and stiff neck. He told me what I really needed in addition to the mass of new allergy medicines prescriptions that I would fill that morning, was an anti-itch lotion called Sarna, which I curse the universe for not introducing me to sooner. Kicks major ass, it does. I am slathered in it and perfectly comfortable for the first time in days.

I am also in what can only be called a terrific mood because when my stiff neck got pretty bad this afternoon, I took a Vicodin, a gift from Patrick (bless you) that I secreted away for just such an occasion. So, once again, I dodge medical catastrophe to no one’s surprise more than my own. Happy Friday, y’all.


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