Thursday, May 11, 2006

Masochist's Day Out

So yesterday I really decided to pamper myself. Now, some women would happily drop $225 on, say, a day at a spa, being wrapped to the eyes in detoxifying seaweed and getting massages from brawny men with gentle, yet firm, fingers--maybe dipping into the sauna while maidens spritz them with lavendar water, soaking in mineral baths, getting their pores vaccuumed.

Or, for women of another stripe, buying that one pair of really hot shoes, the delicate, elegantly crafted kind make your ass look pert and your legs long, the kind that that make your feet look likes works of art,and that make someone want to sweep you off them.

Some women might drop the $225 on a good haircut and a decent meal--sushi, perhaps, with as much sake as they could hold. Some might buy a new outfit, or some good jewelry, or spend it on a series of dance classes, or on a few sessions with a personal trainer, or on therapy, or even (in the olden days) on a plane ticket somewhere.

But not me.

See, I had this troublesome--oh, let's say boil--on my left calf. It appeared last Friday. I thought it was an ingrown hair (my punishment for depilation--I never should have shaved. God doesn't want me to shave. He really really doesn't) or maybe a zit--but it grew, and grew, and grew. First it itched, then it swelled to the size of a cuckoo's egg. And it hurt. It kind of throbbed, like maybe there was a heart incubating in there. It turned red. It started to flash. Cars thought it was a stoplight. Many people died.

And did I mention it hurt like hell? I thought, great, I have boils. This is great. I had a boyfriend who had boils, and I always assumed it was because he was such a vile and poisonous human being. But that theory would not longer hold weight if _I_ had boils, because I am a sweet and pure person who harbors no ill-will whatsoever.

God must hate me. He hates me because I dared to shave my legs, in spite of his injunctions against it, in spite of his giving me cheap irish skin that you can't do anything to, because it screams in terror at sunlight, irritants, and synthetic fabrics. I must have a touch of leprecaun blood. Everyone knows they can't shave, either. But I digress.

So this growth on my leg, blazing and throbbing and distracting me from my fascinating duties as an editor of standardized tests, and it was driving me so crazy I started having lancing fantasies, which, as you hard core types know, I am sure, involve sterilizing a giant punk-rock safety-pin with a zippo and driving the point of the pin into the boil, causing a shower of pus to fly out onto the upturned faces of your adoring fans. But I had no such punk rock safety pin. I started fantasizing about poking thumbtacks into it, just to release the pressure. Or maybe, if I could stand it, using an unbent paper-clip.

But I am a wuss. Then I remembered there's a Doc-in-the-Box clinic at the bottom of the hill, right next to the Starbucks. Before you could say Buck Rogers I was in my little red wagon and laying tread for the place.

I got there. I didn't wait long--only long enough to count the ridges in Teri Hatcher's breastbone (there was an old issue of People lying there) before the doctor came to see me. Oh, and what a doctor. He was young, handsome in a human way, with a wedding ring and lots of soft brown hair and the kind of nose I like. What a relief. A cute doctor really makes a difference, because everyone knows that flirting cuts most pain in half.

So first he says, "oh, it's an infected insect bite, why don't we just do hot compresses and see if it drains on its own?"

But I thought, heavens no, you're cute, and I'm probably going to be paying through the nose for this anyway, and I've had these lancing fantasies all day, so I'm not leaving here until you take something sharp and stick it into me, buddy.

So I said, batting my eyelashes, "couldn't you just lance it, since I'm here anyway?"

And so he went to get his sharp sterile shiny knife-thingy, I think it is called a lancet, and he looked into my eyes and said "I don't like to cause anyone pain" and while I was melting he drove the wicked little blade into my goose-egg, and it didn't hurt at all. Until he squeezed.

He said, "Pus isn't really disgusting. Just think of it as all your helpful white blood cells rallying to clear the infection."

I loved this man. Then he lanced me again. And squeezed. And lanced again. And squeezed. It hurt like a bitch. I became very concerned about my breath. I'd had Greek Salad for lunch, and even without onions, that stuff can be pungent.

When I mentioned that I didn't have any medical insurance, he told me he wouldn't charge me for the lancing. I melted some more. I have never met such a nice doctor. Why, he was as nice as a hairdresser! Nicer! Then he lectured me very seriously about the importance of antibiotics. I could tell he thought I was a giant hippie who mistrusted the western medical establishment (probably because the hair was growing out on my legs--I couldn't shave because of the giant BOIL).

As he was about to dismiss me, I remembered the little twirly mole I've had on my neck forever, that's been bugging me for YEARS. Rebel Leady Boy once encouraged me to clip it off with nail clippers, but I am not hardcore.

So I figured, as long as Mister Doctor has his knives out, why not?

"Um, before you go," I said, "Could you just lop off this mole on my neck?" I arched my neck coquettishly.

"I'll even pay for it."
He threw down his latex gauntlets with righteous fury.

"Now that's just what I hate!" he cried. His noble nostrils flared.

"People will pay for anything that has to do with their vanity, but when it comes to something serious like an infection---" he trailed off.

"Oh no, doctor, I take your point. Please, though, it's been bugging me for years and I never go to the doctor and I'm not hardcore enough to use nail clippers and since I'm here and your knife is already out. I'll pay for BOTH. Please??"

He agreed.
And then the real pain began.

First he lopped off the mole, which hurt a bit. But then came the coup de grace. He held out this stick tipped with silver nitrate.

"It's a chemical cauterant," he said. "This might hurt."

The stick looked like one of those fourth of July sparklers before it's lit.
And when he pressed it to my wounded neck, it might as well have been a fourth of July sparkler after it's lit. It fizzed. It burned. I screamed the kind of scream a soldier on a Civil War Battlefield might have screamed during an amputation. Flesh sizzled.

Silver nitrate. Now I know what will cure my lycanthropy.


So now I have a silver mole on the side of my neck.
And I've been infected by an insect bite.

Perhaps I will mutate into some sort of superhero.
And the doctor will be my Lois Lane, trying to cure what ails me, little knowing that it is precisely my ailments that make me so powerful, so wonderful.

They rang up my bill, and that's when the hurt really came. 90 bucks for a consultation. Another 99 for the boil/mole (I think he only charged for one). He peeked his head around the door and waved a nice goodbye. My heart lifted.

"Does he do pelvic exams?" I whispered to the nurse.

She smirked. "Of course."

"How much?", I whispered, even more intently, and with the sense that I was talking to his pimp.

"$90. Would you like to schedule an appointment?"

I sighed. It was a very, very deep sigh. From the depths.

I just couldn't do it. He was too cute. It would feel too much like paying a gigolo. Lop my flesh he can, but a cute doctor with a speculum is more than my psyche (or my purse) can handle. So I left. I will now suffer pangs of unrequited fantasy about Mister Doctor, his knives, and his stethoscope. He really was very nice. I didn't know there were nice doctors. I thought they were all cold-hearted, cold-handed, money grubbing righteous pricks with ugly faces and no bedside manners. It's nice to be wrong. Even if you have to pay $225 to find out. (The antibiotics cost $25).

So, if you are a masochist and like to spend money and don't have any medical insurance, I recommend a few hours of lopping and lancing at the hands of a cute doctor. Who knows, it might even bring you superpowers, as it did me.


Blogger Boz said...

He sounds a lot like Dr. Bobby Hill only younger.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Juan Bodley said...

Sadly, I can think of one thing that has boil lancing beat...I pay upwards of $150 to have my eye polished and sterilized (when I can afford to do it...)

2:27 PM  
Blogger AEP said...

Can't you just microwave it?

2:45 PM  
Blogger Rebel Leady Boy said...

You should ALWAYS shave your legs and armpits!!

8:39 PM  
Blogger AEP said...

God punishes me when I do!
I have to let go and let God.

10:36 AM  
Blogger frlmnk said...

That sounds a lot like that red light on 41st I got hit at. But I didn't get so much attention. I mean the cop that showed up was ok but he didn't do nothin' for me like that doctor did for you.

2:49 PM  

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