It's been awhile. I've gone UTI-free for so long that I didn't recognize the symptoms. It was like an ex-boyfriend showing up on my front steps with a goatee, dark glasses, and a messy British accent. An ex-boyfriend who used to rub jalapeno juice in my eyeballs until I cried blood ... metaphorically speaking.
Today I had to either cooperate with the sting, or have my trunk amputated. I opted for the former. I diagnosed myself for the nurse at the front desk, then waited three and a half hours for her to tell me I was right. I've done this so many times that I'm surprised they don't just hand me a gift certificate for one free Ph.D with my prescription.
"You can't find your insurance card?" the old woman asks me as I rip through my purse like I've just mugged myself.
I shake my head. Find a piece of paper. Hand it to her.
"This is your dental insurance," she tells me, handing it back.
"Where do you think it is?" she asks me.
I shrug, still digging.
"Maybe in another purse?" I tell her.
"ANOTHER PURSE! NO! YOU SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE IT WITH YOU! WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENED!? THANK GOD YOU AREN'T HERE WITH AN INJURY!"
Rifle, rifle, rifle.
"You know," she says. "You should always keep your insurance card tucked in behind your ID."
"That's a good idea," I say, giving up. I start to put my dental insurance card back in my purse.
"NO!" she says. "Wait until I give you your ID so you can keep them together. ... You should keep all of your insurances together. Tucked in behind your ID. Even your car insurance."
After she'd fitted me with an ID bracelet, she took ahold of my hand again. Flipped it over like she was going to read my palm, and pumped three squirts of hand sanitizer into it.
"You touched my pen," she said. "Now rub that in."
I read a good chunk of Meghan Daum's new book "Life Would Be Perfect if I Lived in that House." It's a pleasant love letter to the homes she's lived in throughout her life. It's no "My Misspent Youth," but it'll do in a pinch.
"I was standing in the doorway texting and this big fat nurse came up to me and said 'You can't smoke here, you have to move.' I was texting, man. I wasn't even smoking. Yet.'" This kid is the life of the waiting area. Other complaints included:
"How come they get a huge flat screen in the Emergency Room waiting area?"
I eye my fellow triage patients warily. This is taking forever, and I have to believe that hacking toddler and the pregnant teenager in a wife beater are going to rank higher than "Ouch it hurts when I pee."
Finally, I get called back into the shit. I'm waiting in a nondescript office, when a nurse brings in a small flashlight, the kind used for intimate exams.
"Oh, the stories that flashlight could tell," I say to her. We cackle.
I leave the office with a prescription for Cipro, the barely legal drug with which I am most familiar. It's the side effects that really crack me up, including: May make you want to kill yourself, or others.
I can usually skate through a Cipro session with just:
May give you dreams that seem like they were directed by Pink Floyd. And, May make you paranoid enough to think that the walls of the bathroom at the DECC Arena are going to collapse on top of you.