I've been having headaches for a month straight. Last night it got so bad, I went...DUN DUN DUN...
...To the ER.
I know right? In the words of one Travis Bickle: "All the animals come out at night - whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies. Sick, venal."
So it took a lot to get me to go to the doctor after hours.
But my headache was That Bad.
So my husband takes me to our local ER, and while checking in, some guy in front of me is coughing. Mad coughing. Like, hysterical-coughing.
The receptionist hands the man a face mask and says he has to use it. He says, "Why?" She says, "Because you are actively coughing." Actively? More like hysterically. He says, "I cain't breev thoo no face max." She says, "Sir, you have to wear this face mask. You are actively coughing." He holds it like two inches from his face and says loudly, "I CAIN'T BREEV THOO IT. I CAIN'T WEAR NO MAX." She insists he wears it, so he holds it somewhere in the general vicinity of his head and goes to sit down.
At this point, I am so flustered, so stricken with dread, that my eyesight narrows into tunnel vision and I literally started shaking and couldn't follow directions like "Sign your name at the bottom and date it." I ask, "What's today? What time is it?" because I don't know. Because there was a man HYSTERICAL-COUGHING ALL UP IN HERE. Whooping, if you will.
They tell me to have a seat. I pick a seat as far away from the hysterical-coughing man as I can. I sit down. My head is agony. My nerves are shot. I am cursing the very moment that I decided this apparent brain tumor required medical assistance. I start crying. Hysterically crying, you might say. I take out my hand-sani and use it, while sitting there sobbing, snot and red eyes and blotchy face and all. Ugly crying.
I rub the Bath & Body Works red-apple-scented hand-sani in ferociously, because it is all I can do. I cry. I cry because of my Headache of Doom, but also because there are sick people everywhere.
Fairly soon, thank God, I am taken to a private room. I say private, but of course what I mean is, a room with a billowing sheet hanging 'twixt me and the entire world. The nurse says she will be right with me.
I listen to the conversation happening outside the door billowing sheet. Then I hear it. The words I was desperate not to hear.
The man they just brought in next door has motherfucking whooping cough. I knew it. I called it. The man what would not wear no got-damn face max. Has whooping cough. Super.
So as I lie there, trying to explain myself to an ENTIRE PANEL of doctors, who are grilling me, dissecting my every word ("Well was the pain sudden, or did it worsen over time? You first said it got worse as the day progressed, but now you're using the words 'sudden pain'--which is it??") as if I were just looking for a quick fix of morphine.
Eventually, they give me a shot of Imitrex in my shoulder. Now as you recall, I have a Liver of Steel. (Prior to this, at home, I'd tried a couple of leftover narcotics, colloquially known as The Good Stuff, but it didn't even touch the pain. It never does.) So I wasn't expecting Imitrex to work.
Forty-five American minutes later, they come by to check on me. They decide to give me THREE MORE SHOTS. Two painkillers (a certain kind that deals with nerve pain or something), plus one shot to offset the side effect of the first two shots. Siiiiiiiiiiiigh. The shots hurt almost worse than my headache.
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