Tuesday, April 03, 2007

'One of the Side Effects Is Death'

So I am STILL completely congested. And lord knows, I blow my nose diligently enough and take my antihistamines at bedtime, and this snot will just not go away. I am sure my co-workers love the sound of me honking away in my office.

Anyway, I take off to go get my allergy shots today at lunch. I kind of dread them, though they do always make me feel better in the end. The time I came in February, however, I had what is known as a systemic reaction to the three shots I have been getting on a maintenance dose for months upon months. My eyes nearly swelled shut, I was dizzy and nauseated, and all sorts of general unpleasantness. In the exact science of the medical world, they decided this meant my dosage was too high and the allergist cut it back.

OK, fine, fewer allergens injected into my bloodstream. I can handle that.

But today, a woman I don't know very well is giving me my shots and she appraises me as I approach the counter in the allergy office at Kaiser.

"How are you?" she asks.

"Good," I say. "Getting over a cold so a bit congested but fine..."

She interrupts: "How congested? What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing. Like I said, it was just a cold. I'm fine."

She looks me over, hand on her hip. "Well, we can't give you a shot if you don't feel good."

"I feel fine. Just congested."

Stares. Beat. "'Cause you already had one systemic reaction. You get another and we gonna stop the shots."

"Oh," I say. "I didn't know that."

She looks at me. "So if you're sick..."

"I am not sick. I am done being sick."

"All right. But you know... one of the side effects of these reactions is death."

We stare at each other for a second.

"I'm just keepin' it real," she explains.

I am not sure what to say? Do I get a shot that ultimately makes me feel better and yet might kill me, or do I just say "In the spirit of keeping it real, then, I'm outta here"?

I debate this for a few seconds, unsure what I should actually do. I hadn't known I could keel over and die from having tree and grass pollen injected into me. It seemed so innocuous until now. Now I have to play God with my self and think that maybe by allowing this woman to give me 3 shots, I may be self-administering some lethal injection.

I sigh and roll up my t-shirt sleeve, revealing my tattoos, and turn to her: "Well, I guess we'll have to see what happens," I proclaim too happily.

She looks annoyed and then gives me the worst shot I've had in a while. My arm still hurts like hell. But I have not keeled over. My eyes are not swelled shut. I am
not nauseated.

Death: 0
Me: 1


Anonymous said...

Wow! Glad you're OK!

Yeah, I think from now on, when you ask me if I've read your blog, I'll do that immediately. That way, if you ever come over and oh...I don't know, say, keel over face down in your Pinkberry and go into a death rattle, you won't have to grip my arm and say "Read the...blofffg" (with me going: '"What? WHAT?") before I phone the AMBULANCE.

When I saw the score between you and Death I totally imagined you in a classy roller skating competition with Death. Judged by European judges. Anyway, that should exist but doesn't.

You Win.




Anonymous said...

M: I'm glad you didn't die.


Joseph said...

A) I'm glad you didn't die.

B) I kinda want to hang out with your nurse. She sounds spunky.