A long post, just two days after the last one. You have to admit that’s a record for this lil’ blogger. I decided to throw caution and my e-unsociable image to the wind. It must be the phlegm.
Speaking of illness, I’ve had an eerie lot of it lately. Me, the pride of welldom… the girl who never gets sick, except occasionally in the head. Before this latest onslaught of germ-ridden-ness I could have counted the total number of flus had with my ten fingers. I wonder if it has something to do with the universe, who’s acting rather like a menopausal woman these days; cheerful one day and a bloody wretch the next. And trust me to have nothing short of the most dramatic circumstances too.
My last major illness worth writing about happened about a month back. ‘Twas a moonless night and the crickets were too busy drowning their sorrows to chirp due to a sever lack of rain. As a part of a larger sinister scheme to kill me slowly, some people in office gave me their illnesses by way of a sore throat. It started off with a slight irritation that turned into an inability to swallow. I will not entertain any perverse remarks, please. Naturally, I ignored said throat irritation, because whatever germs I have picked up in the past have usually been too disgusted to stick around for long, and leave grumbling in search of greener pastures. I didn’t see the need for immediate medication, especially because a sore throat also makes me sound rather sexy. All husky and sultry in that deep, raspy way instead of my usual banshee screech. I expected to turn men on with my vocals for about three days and then return to normal.
But this germ had other plans and took up residence instead of leave. It even invited family over for visits, who being Sri Lankan germs, also took up residence. Husky turned into grating which eventually turned into a completely mute attempt at whisper. The only person thrilled was my boyfriend, who could only dream of these moments where earplugs weren’t a daily necessity in life.
Then, on a similar moonless night a few days later, my ear began to sing to me. No, seriously. I was at the PC playing ‘Pet Shop Hop’ (free download on yahoo games- I swear it’s addictive) when I distinctly heard aliens trying to communicate with me. Either that or I figured it was my inner voice giving me some divine intervention. Contrary to my opinion, it turned out to be that damned germ dynasty nesting snugly inside me. My singing ear tried to make itself heard by starting to ache. Again, the self-medicator in me decided to wait it out, enjoy the pain and see it through. But the germs had other ideas. By 2 am I was twisting and turning in bed, unable to sleep or even close my eyes for that matter thanks to the by-now excruciating stabs of pain in my ear canal.
Not able to take it anymore and fearful of being rendered deaf for life (that’s my boyfriend’s dream, not mine) I woke my slumbering mother up and insisted we go to hospital. Ever the concerned parent, Mother asked me if I couldn’t wait till morning. Of course I could, I replied. That’s exactly why I woke her up at 2 am… to tell her I could wait. I think she got my point. But she fought back, taking way too long perfecting her hair before we left.
I decided to drive because Mother’s driving at that time of the night can give me other ailments and I wasn’t about to entertain anything else. Being the bonded pair that we are, we fought and argued for a good fifteen minutes outside the house on which hospital we should go to. Sorry to digress, but you know… I just don’t get how that happens. My mother is the creature who claims I have cancer if I sneeze. And it is this same creature who decided that a blinding, unbearable earache that moves her doctor-intolerant daughter to actually WANT to drive to hospital at ungodly hours was no cause for alarm. Really. I tell you.
Anyway, back to my moving drama.
So after the initial argument over hospitals, my ear and I decided to go with Mum’s vehement choice and speed off to the nearest one- Asiri. Driving with one’s head lopsided in pain gives you a rather skewed view of the street and driving with one’s mother in the passenger seat is nothing short of a horror, making the whole experience quite theme park ride-like.
We made it to Asiri and I swooped into the Emergency section. In true efficient professionalism, the attendant was snoring happily in a wheelchair meant for ER patients. Next to him was the security guard, cuddled up to said attendant and snoozing like a content lover. Apparently my urgent car honking had excited them to the point of letting out an extra snore. I didn’t have the heart or the blood pressure level to wake them up, and rushed in to the emergency ward with mother waddling at my side.
In the ward we found two night-duty nurses also asleep because of course, that was part of their night- duty. They didn’t appreciate being woken up and glared at me with as much bedside manner as a couple of crocodiles. The doctor, I was curtly informed, was with another patient. I would have to wait. I pointed out that to my knowledge, there WEREN’T any other patients, seeing as how every bed around me was empty. This got me more glares and one nurse went off ungraciously to summon this popular doctor.
About an eternity and some more ear pain later a lady doctor arrived, bleary-eyed and yawning. Her hair was a holy mess and her white coat crumpled. She had been with another patient, she mumbled, while rubbing fresh eye-crispies off her face. Of course she had.
I wailed out my auditory woes in my husky croak. The doctor and the nurse listened in the same way that I do to a particularly boring lecturer during the 8th hour of a full-day revision class.
“Erm”, mumbles the good doctor. “ I think you have a sore throat”.
She was pure genius, this one. From the corner of my eye I could see Mother nodding earnestly at the great discovery. I asked her why my ear was killing me and the doctor looked at me quizzically.
“Oh, your ear is paining too?”
No. Of course not. How silly. I was just cupping it and whining about ear pain all this time with a lopsided head because I was born that way.
She asked one of the nurses to get her that ear-inspecting gadget that has never ceased to amaze me. The nurse, still annoyed at being woken up, took her time locating it. Doc took some long looks in my ear before announcing there was nothing wrong with my ear.
So, then, the pain was actually the work of aliens?
I was at screaming point by now. Unsuccessful, of course, since the loudest I could shout with my hoarse throat was a decibel above silence. Even mother had ceased to look enamoured by Doctor Quack. On my insisting, the sighing so-called medical expert asked the nurse to get her a second ear gadget, just in case the fault was with the lens of the first. Again she checked, pinching my ear lobe in the process and pulling it out like she wanted to model Dumbo out of my skin. I had to remind myself several times that crying in front of a doctor is the ultimate proof of sissyhood.
“No… nothing wrong. I can’t see anything.” She informs. The nurses are all looking victoriously at me. I’d woken them up for NOTHING and now they could sue me.
“But there’s PAIN. Pain beyond even my super-human tolerance! And what about my throat???? How do I get rid of all this unbearable hurting???!?”
She looked at me long and hard as if I was THE most difficult and intolerable patient she’d ever come across. Then she took another good ten minutes to study her blank prescription pad in deep thought. From out of her vast, expansive medical knowledge she pulled out a sure-fire cure for a writhing me.
“ Nurse… give her some Panadol.”
Ten minutes later I was back in my driver’s seat, panting from the exertion of having told the doctor in the most verbose way exactly where she could put her Panadol and stomping out of the ER room in a fury, leaving Mother to apologize for my miscreant behaviour. Another five minutes later Mother was panting beside me, having finally understood the frustration I was going through. Apparently, when she’d gone over to the cashier to pay (I refused, obviously) for the quack’s sagely advice, she’d been unable to wake the man up. The sight of him swaddled up in a sarong had, I think, pinched Mother’s last nerve and finally brought out the beast within. Even the security guard and ER attendant were sung a special lullaby on her way to the car, and they were both now sitting up, wide awake in alarm at hearing such obscenities from a fat little lady.
Now it was my turn to choose a hospital. Whispering curses at Asiri, the Doctor, the nurses and the street dogs on their nightly jaunts, we whisked ourselves to Apollo. I was almost surprised to find everyone awake, fully alert and even attending to patients. I hardly had time to park my car near emergency before TWO, not one, attendants rushed out earnestly and directed me to the emergency ward where a bevvy of nurses and doctors milled about. I was immediately taken to a room and made to sit on the bed, while a nurse checked my temperature and pressure. Then came my special treat for the night.
My earache almost vanished in delight when a tall good-looking Indian doctor sauntered up to me and asked me what was up. I was speechless for a moment there, and it wasn’t because of the sore throat. I could see mother making goo goo eyes at him and stepping forward to give him the lowdown and take the attention away from me, so I quickly found what was left of my voice and spoke up. Suppressing my urge to tell him lies about ailments I didn’t have just to get his sympathy and maybe a body-check out of it, I dutifully croaked to him all about my ear that I had suddenly begun to ignore. Dr. Cute-stuff nodded wisely and listened to every word, asking me some valid questions and interrogating every possibility. I swear this man could have been a marketing tactic by Apollo to ensure it has a steady stream of emergency patients every night. I certainly would come down with something just to get the chance to have him inspect me. I have no idea of his name, but shall call him Rahul, because that sounds Indiany and cute.
He called for an ear gadget that was promptly placed in his hands by the nurse. The guy only flashed it at me once and he immediately saw the infection within. So much for the Asiri quack’s laborious search. Rahul asked me to open my mouth and I gladly gaped. He shone a torch and affirmed that everything was badly infected. The throat infection had travelled to my ear canal, he told me. He had two solutions for me.
1. A painkiller injection that would take away the hurt immediately.
2. Pills that would take about two hours to act.
I opted for the injection because I couldn’t handle the pain for any longer. He asked me how I’d come and I said I drove. (I said this in a very proud, accomplished way, just to let him know I was of a legal age. You never know where these bits of info can get you)
“Uh oh. Then you can’t have the painkiller”, said Rahul. Or should we call him Akshay? Ok... Akshay. “ The injection will make you drowsy and you won’t be able to drive back”
But I couldn’t bear to stay this way for another two hours till pills kicked in. I pleaded with him for a different option. He looked at me for a long while (I’d like to think for reasons other than that he was trying to think of a solution) and then confirmed that yes, there WAS another way.
“We can give you a suppository.”
Freeze scene. Cue horror music. A WHAT?
Ok… here’s the thing. I was willing to let this guy look down my tonsils, sure… but there was no way in HELL he was poking anything up my rear end. This relationship was just not ready enough for that level of intimacy.
I had a conniption. Choking on my own phlegm I asked him to kindly repeat himself.
“ A suppository.” He calmly repeats, with a smile that’s not cute anymore. “The pain will go away immediately.”
My mother, by now, has begun to giggle. So has the nurse. I think it had something to do with the look on my face. Doctor Dreamy stood there looking quizzically at my dumbfounded-ness, patiently waiting for an answer.
“ No. No way. No. No, no, no, no. Uh-uh. Nope. NO.” I kept shaking my head furiously to emphasise my point. As this juncture, Mother jumped up in delight. “I’LL give it to you!” she squeaks in excitement.
That was it. That was all I needed. I looked at Akshay, who had now ceased to be appealing to me. I asked him to allow me to take the suppository home, that I’d administer it myself. I could manage the pain for long enough to NOT have a room full of people surround me while I shoved a pill up my bottom. He smiled, agreed, and we were off. By the way, this cashier was wide awake too, so all payments happened with ease. I drove home in a daze, not looking forward to taking the suppository and thinking up all sorts of things about how the experience would be. I also had to keep giving my hurt Mother reasons as to why exactly I didn’t want HER doing the deed. Honestly. MOTHERS.
Back at home, having managed to painstakingly coax mother into going to her room and sleep instead of watching me (she’d have taken photos given half the chance), I took a long look at the enormous pill they’d given me. Looked a bit disgusting, really. Like a miniature rocket that was bound to make me feel worse than the ear did. But Mother had told me it would dissolve instantaneously. It was too late at night and I was in too much pain to not believe her.
I know you’re gnawing at your fingernails, waiting eagerly for the gory details of what happened next. You’re gonna have to be creative and imagine it yourself sonny, because as forthcoming as I am, there are some things I just won’t share with a whole blogosphere. I’ll just say it was an ‘interesting’ experience that didn’t live up to the horror stories and fantasies that presided. So there you go. My first ‘pukay peththa’, as a colleague put it. Yuck.
Next time when my throat starts to hurt, I’m going to be the first person at the doctor’s clinic.