So, this past weekend, I unfortunately had to be rushed to the Emergency Room due to a severe allergic reaction. All is well now, thankfully, although the doctors are not entirely sure what caused it. (Do they ever definitively know anything?) So I get to the ER and the fear begins. It’s unavoidable and unfailing. Antsy, heart racing, holding my breath against that weird scent in the air, that Thriller-like waiting room where the other sickies stare at you, greedy for your limbs, the patient check-in people who nearly froth at the mouth at the prospect of either draining you of money or condescendingly asking you if you have insurance, the whole thing. I hate it all. I secretly love the whole we’re-going-to-take-care-of-you vibe, but that’s better served within the cushy environs of a four-star hotel, not County General. Anyway. As a result of my steadily swelling tongue (what a terrifying feeling, by the way) and other allergy-related factors, I was quickly processed, taken to a bed, and my vitals were checked. After the doctor did her thing, she informed me, with a sad shaking of her head, that the nurse would come back in and give me medication through an IV. I’m still trying to imagine exactly how my face looked, because upon seeing my expression, she laughed and said, “never mind, never mind! We’ll just give you a shot in the arm.” So, replacing torture with…another brand of torture?
I took a deep breath, sighed, and said ok, as if my reply meant anything. I was getting that shot whether I wanted it (hardly) or not (totally). Really, what was I going to do? I had no choice but to await my punishment for getting ill. (It’s all perspective, isn’t it?) Years ago, when I was promised a shot, my mother and father watched bemusedly as I weakly attempted to roll off the hospital bed and escape. Not now. My tongue was about to escape the confines of my mouth. I needed that shot. And so I closed my eyes and waited. When the nurse returned, she went to work. She pulled out the syringe. I nearly fainted, then busied myself with taking off my sweater to prepare my arm.
“Oh, no, hon. This shot isn’t going in your arm.”
Does this nurse know what the doctor told me? What kind of crazy communication skills are going on in this hospital? Why promise me a shot in the arm, which isn’t as bad as a shot anywhere else? Note to self: check options for malpractice suits. “Wh-wh-where is it going?”
“Either in your thigh or in your derriere. We need it to go into a muscle.”
I lifted up my dress and pointed toward my thigh, almost screaming that she was going nowhere near my poor tush.
That needle hurt like mad. I literally limped out of the room some time later, my thigh on all kinds of fire. Terrible, just terrible.
But people go through worse, which is the real perspective of the matter. Despite wanting to knock that needle out of her hand and jumping through some sort of plate-glass window to get out of the situation, I had to keep that in mind: so many people, a number of them close to me, have gone through much worse. A painful needle in the thigh was manageable, even though I wondered, mid-wince, whether she put some kind of Terminator-like solvent in me or something. Seriously, that stuff was crucially painful. But in the end, the symptoms abated, I slept the rest of the day away, and I was ok.
Moral of the story: Don’t get allergies?
Actual Moral: acquire ninja skills.