That Time I Went to the Urgent Care

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It’s not that I fear going to the doctor, or that I don’t trust modern medicine or anything. I’m just supremely lazy about making an appointment with a doctor, even when I’m suffering from an extended illness.

Unless I’m bleeding profusely or lying in a pool of my own vomit, I’ll find any excuse not to see a professional. But after suffering from a months-long cold this winter I finally had enough and stopped at the urgent care near my office one afternoon on my way home from work.

First of all, it’s a little awkward waltzing into an urgent care in a paisley day dress and heels and no immediately obvious symptoms. And the nurse who escorts me to exam room makes a point of telling me I look nice, as if I dressed up just for this and she wants to acknowledge my effort. After a cursory interview she leaves me alone to wait for the next person. I would say “for the doctor,” but no one at the urgent care ever uses that title and nothing about this guy’s demeanor says “medical school graduate.” The walls are exceptionally thin, so I can hear him in the next room talking about other patients and when he comes in he doesn’t even introduce himself. As far as I know, he may not have had any medical training whatsoever—there are no diplomas on the wall at the urgent care.

After swiftly diagnosing me with a sinus infection (I mean, I could have told him that much but he’s the one with the prescription pad) “Doctor” Whoever offers me a couple options. Either they can hook me up to an IV for a little while or they can give me a steroid shot and send me home with a prescription for antibiotics. I assume this is one of those scenarios where you give someone one bad option and one terrible option to make the bad one sound more appealing. Obviously, I opt for the shot.

When the nurse comes back in to give me the steroids she pulls two syringes out of her pocket, uncaps one and holds them up to my face.

“Look how thick these needles are,” she says. “These can’t go in your arm. We’ll have do these in your glutes.”

Which, ok. If you need to give me a shot in the butt, whatever—but don’t force me to marvel at the needle’s girth beforehand.

While she’s giving me the first shot I start to feel woozy, and I have to lie down as soon as she’s done. I have a long history of passing out at inconvenient moments, so I’m not that worried about it, but the nurse starts to freak out even as she tells me it’s a common reaction. She runs to get me some candy and a glass of water.

After a while she comes back with a couple Jolly Ranchers and a styrofoam cup, but before she hands me the water she says, “I need to tell you something,” and holds up the cup, the rim of which is broken.

“I want to let you know that no one bit this cup. It’s just broken, but it’s the last one we have.”

So obviously someone definitely bit a piece out of the rim of this cup, because she’s trying really hard to convince me otherwise, but I’m too lightheaded to care and honestly, I’m more concerned that I’m receiving medical care in a place that can’t afford to stock enough cups for the water cooler. While I’m starting to come around she tells me that she needs to give me the second shot, so we get that over with and she leaves me to lie down for a while longer.

When she comes in to check on me again she tells me her shift is over, but she wants me to rest for a while longer and says she’ll “find someone to stay with me.”

A few minutes later, in walks a middle-aged man in jeans and a t-shirt. He sits in the chair next to the exam table where I’m still lying in semi-conciousness and starts asking me how I’m feeling. Then he begins to tell me about how effective the steroids are and keeps calling them “magic medicine.” I’m going to assume this guy is also not a doctor.

Eventually I’m able to piece together that this is the owner of the urgent care, and at that point I realize we know each other. I’ve definitely met this guy before when I worked at the Chamber of Commerce and he was opening this facility. I’m pretty sure I even helped organize a ribbon-cutting ceremony at his request. Fortunately, he doesn’t seem to recognize me and the awkwardness is enough to bring me fully to, so I can gather my things and head to the front desk to pay my bill and pick up my prescription.

For the record, the most notable effect of the steroids is a sore butt for the next few days, not instant relief of my symptoms, and the antibiotics make me so sick to my stomach I have to stop taking them. So maybe the effort of seeing an actual doctor with a diploma on his wall is worth it after all.

 

5 Ways to Pretend it’s Summer

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We can’t ALL escape to the tropics when winter becomes unbearable, so here are some ideas for recreating the summer experience when you’re stranded at home in the Siberia that is February.

1. Set up an Out of Office email You have to be at work, but that doesn’t mean everyone else needs to know. You’re going to cut down on a lot of meaningless busywork by telling all your business contacts that you’re unavailable until March 31st camping on an island with no internet service or cell reception. Also, keep coming up with reasons to email that one guy in the office who still hasn’t turned off his OOO since his last vacation so you can get caught up in an OOO echo chamber that’s as reminiscent of summer as the smell of sunscreen.

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It’s Like a Bird Aviary, but for People

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(I wrote this piece for the Ann Arbor blog Damn Arbor. Read the whole post here.)

The Ann Arbor Aviary is the perfect example of what’s great about Ann Arbor. You wouldn’t expect to find a gym specializing in the “aerial arts”— which include aerial silks, trapeze and lyra—in a city of this size, but there it is, next door to a storage facility out past the airport. For the record, they also offer other classes like belly dancing, and burlesque performance, and at one time, something called a “Twerkshop” for anyone needing professional instruction in that area.

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Dumb Things I Said to a Police Officer

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Last summer I went on a ride-along with a very nice Ann Arbor police officer whose name I’ve forgotten because I’m extremely self-centered, but let’s say I’m omitting it to protect his privacy. Let’s call him Officer Jones. I went on a Thursday night from 11:00pm to approximately 3:00am because the Police Chief told me that’s when I was most likely to see some “action.” Here’s what Officer Jones and I got up to.

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The Worst Place to Be Alone is Definitely a Pool

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I recently moved into an apartment complex that includes a pool, which—many of you will recognize— is both a blessing and a curse. If you live alone, most of your trips to the neighborhood pool are likely to be undertaken solo, and if you’ve long suspected that going to a crowded pool alone is basically the worst thing you could do, I can confirm that it is so.

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Is this normal?

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So… I pass out a lot.

If you just got excited to hear some wild and fun binge drinking stories, you are are in the wrong place. Just, generally. Most recently I passed out in the shower after a sauna and woke up slumped against the shower wall. My friend Lauren said she heard the ker-clunk (oh just my skull banging into ceramic tile) from the next room and was about to come check on me when she heard the water splashing around again and figured I was fine. (I could have drowned! Theoretically anyway.)

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Weekend of sloth: a re-creation

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I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but if I’m in town for the long weekend, I’ll usually hang out with my parents and end up making dinner. My mom never makes dinner when I come over, but she always tells me there’s a lot of food in the fridge. And by “food” she means “ingredients.” Hint, hint.

I decided to boycott this situation by not going over there on Thursday, waiting instead for a day when restaurants are open. Still, I kind of expected them to, you know, invite me over at least.

Usually I spend a long weekend out of town or tackling some daunting projects I’ve been putting off for too long. This time, though, I had been too busy to plan ahead for the time off. That was the first step towards a weekend of profound laziness.

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I’m a vegetarian. Discuss.

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This is what happens when you are forced to announce to a table of diners that you are a vegetarian: two people will look dismayed, one person will avoid eye contact to communicate disinterest in the moral tirade you are presumably about to launch into, and one person will say “But what do you eat for protein?!” in an “explain yourself” tone. I’m always tempted to respond, “What form of birth control do you use?” Because that is as much everyone’s business as are the fine details of my diet.

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5 Reasons I Can’t Follow You On Pinterest*

1. You own a crockpot

Listen, my mom is the prime audience for the crock pot (housewife, late 50’s, hates to cook) and even she would look at a pin of “25 low-fat crock pot recipes” and be like, “Really?” So it’s hard for me to understand why a woman in her 20’s would aspire (descend?) to this level of culinary apathy.

2. You think a leggings + sweater ensemble is fashion-forward

The outfit you just repinned with the caption “super cute fall look” is what I sleep in. Cute in a casual, thrown-together, Saturday-chores way? Perhaps. But are you taking this picture with you to the mall? I hope not.

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This happened.

This is the story about why I didn’t blog for a week.

There are days when all you can do is look at a coworker/friend/dog and say “This is happening. This is real life.” That happened a lot last week. For instance, last Monday some coworkers and I had this ribbon cutting to go to at a Max and Erma’s. It was a crazy busy day so I had to run out of the office at the last minute to make it in time. I tried to explain this to one of our interns:

“I have to go to a Max and Erma’s. Congressman Dingell is going to be there… at the Max and Erma’s. So I have to go take pictures.”

[blank stare]

“This is my life. This is what we do.”

Continue reading “This happened.”