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Beaches, parties, and of course drugs

Thursday night I was still nursing my sore throat and feeling increasingly alarmed at the duration of the pain. The plan was to accompany Bryan to Laurel’s apartment for dinner at around nine, but by eight I was having hot and cold flashes up and down my body, despite taking enough ibuprofen to stun a small horse. I fished a flashlight out of my backpack and used it to look at my throat in the mirror, and was disturbed enough by the raw, angry red the beam illuminated that I decided it was time to seek professional medical attention. Laurel was kind enough to drive me to the UW Medical Center, where I waited a long, long time for around eight minutes of care.

I hadn’t been to an emergency room since high school, and certainly not one as grim and efficient as the UWMC. The waiting room was awash with minor tragedies seated on cheap chairs around fish tanks, most of them watching the network version of Bad Boys which played on the single TV hanging from the ceiling overhead. They gave me an orange plastic bracelet to wear for ID and bade me sit down with the rest of the infirm, where I tried my best to concentrate on my book and ignore the many, many distracting sounds they made. The big guy next to me picked up on the bass line of a Verizon commercial and incessantly tapped the rhythm on the arm of his chair long after the 30-second spot had ended. A couple of girls across the aisle carried on a lugubrious conversation in their native tongue. A middle-aged woman argued loudly with the front desk that dammit, she did have insurance under Regence. And of course Martin Laurence mooned and squawked for the camera on the screen above. Eventually I was led by a tiny Indian girl named Chamille (very friendly, that one) into another, smaller waiting room, where I waited another 45 minutes for a doctor who turned out to be a nurse. She asked me the same questions over and over until I began to get irate, then diagnosed me with strep throat, wrote me a prescription for penicillin, and left me to wait another half hour while the discharge paperwork was prepared. Then I waited another twenty while the pharmacy put pills (which I paid for with cash out of pocket) in a jar. By the time Marta picked me up at 11:00 I was exhausted just from sitting around waiting. I don’t relish the thought of returning there, so from now on I’m wearing a full-body latex suit everywhere I go. I think you’ll like it – it’s teal.

On the positive side, penicillin is just as potent as it smells. I already feel great again, despite not drinking enough fluids, not getting enough rest, and going swimming in the hot sun.

Last night we went to Nick’s house party on 12th and 42nd. The party itself doesn’t need any description – it was exactly like every other college house party you’ve ever been to: two or three inebriates grinding to pumping bass on the dance floor, hordes of revelers clogging the porch and filling the air with smoke from a hundred cigarettes. As we were preparing to leave, a very drunk guy named Trevor started intensely hitting on Marta, leaning in closer than etiquette warranted. I thought to myself, Should I do something? but then decided she had the situation under control. As I went to gather her a minute or so later, Trevor said, “Oh, you’re splitting with this guy?” Then he gave me a high five and told me I was the man, which made me inexplicably proud. Because, really, if anyone at the party knew who the man was, it was that guy.

Posted in Musings.


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