Last Thursday, I just sucked it up and went to the doctor. I didn’t have high hopes – after the failed mono test of the previous Saturday it seemed anything was possible. Except, like, the opposite of that.
So I hauled over to Eastie, parked a half-mile from the health center, and enjoyed the smell of early-morning secondhand smoke during my stroll down Porter St. It was $170 to get in, with a Nurse Practitioner, no less, so I intended to make the most of things. I read a pleasant book in the waiting room after checking in with a woman who looked like a young Salma Hayek (if Salma Hayek had an 18-inch waist and a 36-inch bust), and, as usual, I was weighed facing toward the irons on the scale. I kind of wish they would ask you first.
My nurse was a hip young man with shoes I adored and glasses I couldn’t help but covet.
“I hate rashes,” he confessed, with a sigh, after I showed him my arms.
“So do I,” I said, scratching absently at my lower back.
Together we spent considerable time looking through a large medical book containing every skin disease known to mankind. There were suppurated lesions, cracked and bleeding flesh, swollen fingers and languishing toes. Eventually we settled on Pityriasis rosea, a mild but mysterious affliction that lasts about a month, has no known cause, and, thus, no known treatment.
“I could prescribe you some steroid cream,” he offered, “but you couldn’t, you know -”
“- put it ALL OVER YOUR BODY.” we finished in unison, as I turned my attention to a particular itchy patch on my upper thigh. “OK, well, I also wanted to ask about getting Chantix – that ‘stop smoking’ pill, or whatever.”
He turned back to his monitor and tabbed over to my medication profile. “You know,” he said, rather sadly, “I really wouldn’t feel comfortable prescribing that for you until you talk to your other treaters. Chantix has some pretty serious side effects.” A valid point, since the newly-introduced Seroquel is giving me such vivid dreams that I occasionally wake up and smell my subconscious burning.
I liked this nurse. He treated me very nicely. I liked his rash book, I liked his sweater, I liked his wedding ring. I wanted to have him over for kebabs. He suggested that I come back in a week to check in, and then asked me, as an afterthought, what kind of insurance I had.
“It’s the shitty kind.” I laughed, and I told him all about the crazy deductible and the problems getting my scripts, and and the huge bill I now owe my therapist. His brown eyes turned sad behind those incredible black-rimmed glasses, although he laughed along with me. I mean, I felt bad for the guy. He clearly wanted to help me, but was absolutely unable to. Like, in any way at all.
At least I’m pretty sure now that I don’t have Scabies. That’s a good thing.