When last I wrote, I was under the impression that my bronchitis was improving. I was wrong. When, after 4 full days of antibiotics, I was feeling no better – and in fact, was running a temp of 100.6 to 101.2 – I dragged my ass back to the doctor’s office. Yesterday morning, this was. It was my intent to get to the office directly at 8, which is when they open, so I wouldn’t have to wait for very long.


Although the office doesn’t open until 8, they’ll apparently let people in to sign in ten minutes prior. When I waltzed in at two minutes before 8, there were no fewer than 13 people signed in ahead of me (in fact, there were exactly 13 people. I counted), and the waiting room was crammed full. I only had to sit in the waiting room for an hour (and had expected to wait much longer) before they led me back to make my co-payment and have my blood pressure and temperature taken. The nice nurse was working, and she didn’t try to weigh me, thankyajesus. Then she led me back to exam room #3, which seems to be the very exam room I always end up in. I settled in with my book, ready for a good, long wait. Imagine my surprise when nice Dr. Webster showed up less than two minutes later. He listened to my lungs, listened to my heart, and listened to my tales of woe, then proclaimed I needed stronger drugs and told me he’d be right back.

A man after my own heart.

Instead of nice Dr. Webster, though, the next person to come through the door was the nurse who’d taken my blood pressure and temperature. She was there to take blood, she told me, and then they were going to do a chest x-ray. As I sat down in the chair next to the counter upon which she was laying her blood-taking tools, she inquired if I was "hard to stick."

Ohhhhhhh, yes, am I hard to stick. I’ve had tons of blood taken in my life, and after about the age of 18, if I’ve needed blood taken, they’ve had to get the "expert" to do it. And sometimes it’s taken the "expert" two or three sticks to get the job done. As you can imagine, having blood taken is just a thrill a minute for me, as I generally attempt to lend a hand. "Usually, they get blood from here…"

In any case, after trying the back of my left hand, the nurse gave up ("I don’t want to stick you more than once," she told me. "And I’m sure you don’t want me to keep sticking you!" Indeed) and got the "expert" to do it. The "expert" in this case happened to be nice Dr. Webster. He managed to find a vein in my right arm, and stuck the needle in then stuck it in some more and some more (godalmighty doesn’t it hurt when they have to do that) and got enough blood for the lab to do a CBC. Then it was off to the x-ray room where I was posed in weird ways – mostly for the x-ray guy’s amusement, I suspect – and then back to exam room #3 to wait.

The upshot: I have pneumonia. They popped me in the ass with an antibiotic shot, observed me for 20 minutes to make sure I’d had no reaction to the shot, gave me more prescriptions, and I arrived back home around 10:30. Where a frantic Fred opened the garage door and all but threw himself at my feet sobbing "Where have you been?" I gave him my usual annoyed look. "At the doctors. Where else would I be?" He told me that he’d gotten so concerned that 20 minutes earlier he’d called the doctor’s office, whereupon the front desk guy (instead of the sweet, size negative four girl who runs the front desk with an iron fist during the week and always calls me "ma’am") looked at the sign-in sheet, told Fred I’d signed in at 8, so I must be gone by now.

In any case, I sent Fred to the grocery store to get my prescriptions filled and buy me some junk food (he only has bronchitis, you know. Nothing like the real illness I’m suffering from), and then spent the rest of the day napping and watching The Thomas Crown Affair. I really like Rene Russo, but she was incredibly annoying in that movie. The big, loud Julia-Roberts-type braying laugh was just getting all over my nerves.

I’m 32 today. In fact, I think I turned 32 somewhere around 5 this morning. 32 years ago, it was the coldest day of the year in Bangor, Maine, my mother would be more than happy to point out.

I intend to celebrate my birthday by hacking up a lung and doing some long-overdue laundry. The spud has been reduced to wearing too-small dresses, since it’s been a week and a half since I’ve done her laundry. Maybe I’ll even pay some bills! Oh, the excitement…

How the fuck did I get to be 32, that’s all I’d like to know. I swear to god, just yesterday I was cruising around with Liz and her not-yet-husband, Herman, blasting Whitesnake and driving all over hell and creation looking for trouble. *sigh* The years go fast, don’t they?