The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Trip into Adulthood

I recall as I child those trips to the doctor's office with a sore throat. Doc would take a look with a light deep into the crevices of my throat, make a reference to hamburger meat, then call in the nurse. By then, the tears were welling in my eyes. Nurse would come in with the longest cotton swab ever made and say "this won't hurt a bit." I looked up at mom. The nurse would stick that elongated Q-tip down my throat, gagging me and ending with a smile and a "see, that wasn't so bad." By now, I was crying. I was crying because I knew what was coming. First was the waiting. The whole time we waited, mom held my hand and tried to assure me it would be okay. Somewhere, in some back room, my throat on a cotton swab was being examined by some doctor. I waited what felt like an eternity but all the while, I knew exactly what he would say. Next was the "consultation" with the doctor. This is the part where he tells me what is wrong and I start crying as if it's the end of the world. Strep throat? Oh no...I know what that means. To clear up this nasty sore throat, I would need penicillin. Some doctor once made the mistake of discussing with mom, in front of child Law-Rah, that he could either give me a prescription for 10 days or a shot. Oh thank gawd. I can just take some medicine. Mom tells him to give me the shot. What? But mom! I thought you were on my side. Shots equal pain and I don't want pain. I want the medicine. I promise I will take it every day. I promise I will get better on the medicine and not complain about my throat ever again. Please mom, not the shot. It hurts! I hate pain!

Obviously, I lived through it. Fast-forward 20 years.

For a few days now, my finger has been bothering me right near the nail. Being the anti-doctor person that I am (that may or may not stem from those childhood visits), I decided to try and fix it myself. And by fix, I mean soak it in warm Epsom salt-water and take Advil. After only two days, my middle finger swelled to gargantuan proportions and looked as if it had grown its own goiter. This huge protrusion coming out of my finger was purple and throbbing. I decided it would be a good time to have a doctor look, right? Doctor tells me it's a staph infection and she will give me some antibiotics. She then tells me that if it does not clear up in five days, to come back and she can cut it open. I ask why I need to come back for her to cut it and she says that it will really hurt. I think for a moment: wait, I can walk out now with some medication that may or may not clear it up and my current ailment will remain until the meds kick in OR I can endure a bit of pain now which more than likely means things will clear up quicker? I made her cut it open. Then, I realized why mom turned on me all those years ago. Damnit, I think I may be an adult now.