After returning from our wonderful trip, I found myself with a bout of a god awful bacterial infection in my stomach. If you will indulge me in a three act play:
Act One: Move your damn car.
I have terrible stomach pain, which 12 hours of Bravo is not helping. Am wearing mismatched sweats and can’t take a sip of water without doubling over in pain with the drama of a season 1 New Jersey housewife.
I call my doctor who I hope will tell me to take a bath, a Xanax and call her in the morning. Instead, she says go to Urgent Care. It’s Sunday. I am appalled.
My Lyft (doesn’t have the same ring as Uber, I know, but you know, politics, sexual harassment, etc.) is stuck behind a truck double parked in the middle of the street. We wait, and wait and even though the fellas unloading this truck see a line of cars build up behind them, have no intention of moving. I’m huffing and puffing in the back of the car and finally with the same wounded strength as Carrie after Big stands her up at the alter and she pummels him with her very expensive white flowers, I step out of the car and scream at these guys to move, to which they inform me “they are unloading” and I reply, weeping, “Well, I am dying so I win.” So if you were behind a truck on 16th and Wharton on Sunday around noon, YOU ARE WELCOME. The dramatics are real, but still probably made better by those musical theatre classes my mom made me take, so thanks Mom.
I am uncertain if my driver thought I was crazy or wants to marry me, but I’m going to assume it was the latter, if only because I look like a crazy old lady in pearls, and he might stand to inherit something good when I did die as I said I was in the process of doing (which he wouldn’t, unless you count books and wine as a really great inheritance).
Act 2: Hell hath no fury like a Jewish woman who hasn’t eaten in 24 hours.
I get to the urgent care facility which smells like a K Cup machine exploded with only flavored coffees (which, as you know, I find appalling and uncivilized). The woman behind the counter takes my insurance and my credit card and hands me an IPAD to fill out all of my issues and medical history. AN IPAD. At Urgent Care! I am all for saving the environment, but can you imagine the germs on that thing. One sick person after another handling that thing with hands they’ve just wiped their germy nose or other orifice with. Honestly, disgusting. Give me a piece of a paper and a pen, I can write.
The minutes tick by. Then the hour hits. The woman behind the counter who gave me the germy Ipad makes a general announcement that they are running behind today because of a new employee. I have a few internal thoughts on this statement (that I made public through a follow up survey, don’t worry). If I were in charge, I probably wouldn’t start a new doctor on a Sunday in January. You know, the only day of the week most doctors offices aren’t open AND one of the months with the highest incidences of general sick. Also, can you call someone else to come in?
My usually not overbearing Jewish mother appears merely seconds after this announcement is made and sits with me for another 90 minutes before they call me back.
They get me in the room, tell me there isn’t much they can do for me because they don’t have the right equipment to image my abdomen and suggest I go to the ER. Well, if you think the fellas with the moving truck got a mouthful, let me tell you that the staff back there were in for even more of a treat. In addition to not starting new employees on Sundays, I would suggest that the woman behind the counter, in addition to getting herself a Hazmat suit to defend against the IPads of Death, figure out what is and is not treatable at that location to save the employees in the back from angry Jewish women who are nearly 24 hours into a forced fast. The wrath of a hungry Jewish woman (I mean, from my own personal experience) is one that no one wants to bump into.
So off we go (thank goodness for my usually not overbearing Jewish mother) to the Emergency Room. How exciting, the same hospital where I was born (which mom would remind every person caring for me). I had to go through a metal detector where the security guard confiscated a meat thermometer that had made it’s way into my coat pocket.
Honestly, try explaining to someone that A. You have no idea why it’s there (I do, it’s because I cooked Thanksgiving dinner at my mom’s house, knew she wouldn’t have one and transported it in this coat) and B. That it’s something you actually use and not intended as a rather blunt weapon. All while doubled over in pain from some kind of stomach/organ situation.
And there, without my meat thermometer, we waited for another two and a half hours. The two and a half hours consisted of a family eating McDonalds next to me, making me want to die even harder, a couple coming in for what looked like a girlfriend with similar condition to mine and a boyfriend with a man bun who tried to charm the admins into giving him a definitive timeline for when his girlfriend would be seen (it didn’t work), and the world’s most uncomfortable chairs. Pennsylvania hospital, get your waiting rooms together. The man bunned fella couldn’t charm his way into the hearts of the staff, but my “did you know my daughter, the patient waiting to be seen, was born at this hospital” mother was. And so finally I was seen.
Act 3: Double Doink.
Darlings, I’ll give you a piece of advice: Don’t ever try to get medical attention while there is an Eagles game of any significance on.
I am escorted to a room and asked to change into a gown.
Let me ask you a question: How can someone in a compromised state of any kind be expected to tie those ties in the back effectively? Is this a class I missed? It’s like asking someone to get themselves into a straight jacket. Just probably not happening.
Darlings, it’s 2018, do you think maybe an update to the hospital gown is in order? Maybe a nice drawstring pant? A cotton cashmere? A solid color? Maybe a charcoal? And a hood? A hood would be nice. Hospital Executives everywhere: I’m available for consulting.
I am hooked up to an IV full of saline, which I hear they’ll bring to your hotel room in Vegas and I think to myself that I would appreciate this service every morning while I’m enjoying my first cup of coffee (at odds with each other, I know darlings).
The chill of the IV was oddly comforting, which is strange since I’ve been battling the chills all day long.
They take a blood panel, which is always emotionally strenuous for me since A. I have tiny veins that roll around and hate all medical professionals and B. I am always convinced that this is the time they find Leukemia (my Bubby died of Leukemia and I have a sense that I will too. I also read too many Lurlene McDaniel books as a kid).
I don’t know if the nurse was extra strong, my body was extra week or I was just feeling extra vulnerable, but when she put the tourniquet on, I nearly lost it. I have never felt so much pain in my life. I cried. She backs away. We try it again. I am fine. But I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment. How many times have I had blood drawn (A lot, I’ve been a hypochondriac since adolescence) and this has never once happened before.
A resident comes in and asks me a lot of questions, the answers to which he jots down in his 1920s newspaper reporter notebook. Unlike those reporters, or even the paperboys, (could you just die over young Christian Bale?) of the 1920s, he was incredibly socially awkward and may have blushed when I confessed that “yes, I do use cannabis recreationally once in a while” in front of my mother (who just yesterday found out that I had never done acid and was scandalized to hear that she had raised such a square). The resident informs us that he would go report back to his attending physician, who would come in and hopefully tell me what was wrong with me.
The attending physician comes in a few minutes later, using the old “Sisters?!” line on my mom (Okay, Dr. Christian Troy) (PS Just finished rewatching Nip/Tuck, still love it, but doesn’t reallllly hold up) and asks me all of the same questions that his resident did. I guess that notebook was just for show?
While he is asking me all of these questions and tapping on my stomach, that play that made everyone very excited to be a Philadelphian was happening. So he asks a question, I answer and he would have his back to me and to the TV, and mumbles an answer or affirmation.
Listen, I get it. As Philadelphians, we REJOICE in the bad fortune of other sports teams when the consequences are positive for us. We are just as bad as people say we are (no we’re not, and btw what are sports?). Doctor, I don’t care if you want to watch the game, but like maybe not with my vital organs on the line. He hems and haws and says something about my gallbladder and my intestines and then leaves after the thing that happened to the Bears happened.
In the meantime, the tourniquet nurse comes back and feeds me a cocktail of “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.” Well, no that’s not right, but I think that’s what I heard. It tastes like melted Artic Zero mint ice-cream with a chaser of Chalk and it makes my mouth numb, probably about as close to that acid trip my mom wants me to take as anything I’ll do. And finally the Golden Globes come on.
We watch Sandra Oh and Andy Samburg be generally boring, but kind in their opening monologue. There is a collective gasp by myself, my mom and the nurse as we see Gaga’s dress for the first time. And I think “FUCK I was going to blog about the red carpet, but here I am in a hospital bed” So sorry I didn’t red carpet for you – here’s my .02.
My favorites? Julia Roberts. Jamie Lee Curtis. Judith Light. Glenn Close. Charlize Theron. Don’t @ me, I stand by all of these choices.
My least favorites? Elisabeth Moss (LEAST FAVORITE BY A LANDSLIDE). Amy Adams. Rachel Brosnahan. Kate Mara. Heidi Klum (She would absolutely call this unfinished if it came down the runway on PR).
(all photos @Getty Images)
Back to the hospital: Le Hubs comes to replace my mom as the worried family member and I fall asleep, only to be awoken and wheeled to get an ultrasound. I hate ultrasounds, they are another thing that are emotionally draining for me, and I imagine for any other woman that has lost by nature or chosen to lose a baby (not scientifically a baby, but can you let it slide for the sake of the story?). And it is messy and disgusting and CAN’T WE FIGURE OUT A BETTER WAY.
Am Wheeled back to the room, watch Bohemian Rhapsody walk away with best Drama (I have thoughts on this, and they aren’t really positive. YOU GUYS THEY CHANGED THE YEAR OF HIS HIV DIAGNOSIS TO MOVE THE PLOT LINE ALONG. A CREDITED DIRECTOR IS ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT. I REFUSE TO GET BEHIND THIS.) The football obsessed attending physician comes in and tells me that I had a bacterial infection which he refers to as “Traveler’s Diarrhea” (is there a medical term for that?) and prescribes me an antibiotic which I would later learn has side effects including swollen tendons and heightened anxiety. I would say this was a pretty good choice for someone whose medical history includes both Tendonitis AND Generalized Anxiety disorder. But I’M NO DOC, so what do I know?
Epilogue: Next time, le hubs, I’d prefer a black car
I got dressed, walked of shame out through the ER waiting room full of people who probably needed the urgent care much more than I did and got into a minivan home.
I spent the next few days watching great and good TV (Finally got through season 2 of Mrs. Maisel and it’s better than the first, don’t @ me) (And the first episode of The Romanoffs, which I thought was a little trite and predictable, but I’ll never say no to Aaron Eckhart), eating saltines (Which Stanley of course took a liking to) and drinking ginger ale. I am starving.
Wear Sunscreen. Don’t get sick on a Sunday. Do some drugs strong enough to make your mother proud (don’t really.)