July 3rd, 2001

JOY

Don't read this if you ick easily...

I went to an Ear Nose and Throat doctor this morning. The original plan was to go see one while I was healthy so that he could figure out why the hell my ears are congested even when I’m not sick. Of course, between the time the appointment was made and the time of the appointment, I got sick, therefore ruining the whole goal of showing him how I am when I am well.

I was referred to the doctor from the GW Hospital website that revealed on his profile that he is 84 years old. When I got into his office, I noticed that everything in there was just as old. I felt like I was in the plastic surgery scene in the first Batman when they were “repairing” the Joker’s face: around me were metal instruments whose purposes I could not even fathom, a metal apothecary chest with little glass vials on top labeled by hand with the formulas for chemical compounds, an award on the wall for 25 years of loyal service dated 1961. At first, I thought it was a joke. That if I waited for him in that little room for more than five minutes without running out screaming, he’d take me to the real examining room where everything was wrapped in plastic. But no.

He came in to the little torture chamber and put me at ease, listened to my tales of mucus-inflicted woe and started looking in my nose and ears. He asked me to open up so he could look at my tonsils, and before I could object, one of the metal instruments from the table was being used as a tongue depressor. Once it was in my mouth, I felt the rust. Yes. It had rust on it. By now, I was thinking that either this guy is an excellent physician and knows that they just don’t make ‘em like they used to, or he’s certifiably insane.

Since I had never been to an ENT specialist before, I was unsure if his practices were commonplace. He used very long thin tweezers to lodge elixir-soaked bits of cotton deep in my nose and after leaving them up there for over five minutes, he returns with a glass turkey-baster type apparatus filled with hot salt water. He tells me that “this is going to feel like you are swimming in the ocean and got hit in the face with a wave” and proceeds to give my face an enema, shooting this saline solution up my nose so that it comes oozing out my mouth. Never in my life have I experienced something like this, particularly not at the ocean, because once I get hit in the face with a wave, I don’t sit there waiting to flush out each nostril a few more times.

Again, I’m not certain if he’s a medical genius or a mad scientist, but one thing is for sure, it’s over 12 hours later and I can still feel the salt water. He diagnosed me with a sinus infection and gave me strong decongestants and antibiotics, and asked me to come back in a week. Maybe the last 40 years of medical advancements will have found their way into his office by then.
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    sick sick