Originally posted in the Miami News-Record on November 9, 2014
The older I get, the more often I find myself visiting medical facilities. Last week I found myself at the Indian hospital in Claremore for a CT scan.
As I pulled into the Sonic in Claremore (hey, I was early for my appointment and needed a sweet tea to calm my nerves) I got a call from my oldest telling me she was bleeding from her right ear. Since she hadn’t been to Sierra Leone recently I figured her Ebola risk was nil, so my next question was, “Did you stick anything in there?” She sighed and I’m fairly certain rolled her eyes (moms can typically sense an eye roll even over the phone) and said that no, she hadn’t put anything in her ear because she wasn’t a toddler. It sounded like a ruptured eardrum to me, so I did what I do in any crisis: I called my mom. After asking if she had Ebola and if she had stuck anything in her ear, Mom, too, said that it sounded like a ruptured eardrum. I then called Abby back and told her that she was going to have to take herself to the doctor. She was mildly freaked out by that what with being all new-to-adulthood and all, but I reassured her and hung up, ordered my sweet tea and as I reached for my wallet realized that I had her insurance card with me. I called the clinic and they told me they would see her and could look her up by her social security number. I called her back, reassured her once again that she could indeed take herself to the doctor, and then headed to the hospital. By then I was resigned to the fact that the sweet tea was going to do nothing to help my nerves.
Once I got to the hospital I checked in at registration, checked in again at x-ray, then sat in a faded pink hard plastic chair to wait my turn. I watched The Price is Right, listened to a woman have a rather loud and obnoxious conversation on her phone, gritted my teeth as a different woman sent text after text, which normally would be a non issue except she had the keyboard sounds turned up to about 40 million decibels and all of us in the waiting room were treated to “BEEP BEEPBEEPBEEP….BEEP….BEEPBEEP…BEEP…BEEPBEEP…BEEPBEEPBEEP” for a good 20 minutes, and got my toes stepped on twice. When the x-ray tech called my name I think I got up a bit too eagerly and nearly bowled him over as I ran into the CT room.
I was good and nervous by then so I was only moderately mortified that I had to don a gown for the procedure – not because I’m all that modest but because of all days to wear my comfiest underwear with two holes in them, it would be a day I’d have to wear a backless gown. It took them three sticks, a call to the lab for backup, and a full hour of inspecting my veins before they got my IV going. The dye made me nauseous and woozy and as I tried to maintain control of the world spinning around me all I could do was envision was me lying on the floor, my backless gown a’flapping while I showed off my holey underwear and legs only shaved up to the knee (because I totally phone it in in the shaving department from October through March) thus giving all of the staff of the lab department something to talk about at the dinner table that night.
Fortunately I stayed conscious and came away with nothing more than a metallic taste in my mouth and two wicked bruises. Oh, and my husband took me underwear shopping this weekend because apparently the thought of me wearing holey underwear to my next doctor visit concerns him, too.