Typical of my usual good fortune I fell sick in the middle of the long weekend just past. It is nigh impossible to get a doctor’s appointment up here where I live – unless you are aware three weeks in advance you are going to fall ill – let alone on Sunday afternoon the day before a public holiday.
We have a massive GP shortage in my area. We’ve lived here for two years and all the “good” doctors aren’t taking on new patients, which only leaves us with the choice of two medical centres. The only one you are generally lucky enough to score an appointment with at short notice is the one that has a revolving series of freshly graduated student doctors that change so frequently I never bother to remember their names. I just call them all “Dr Google” because every single one of them has relied heavily on search engines to diagnose fairly commonplace ailments and their treatments. It’s confidence building, especially when they give your kid the four month vaccinations instead of the two month ones. I didn’t fail to notice the brief look of panic on his face when he realised what he had done, quickly followed by immense relief once he realised they are the same scheduled shots.
Anyways, given the public holiday I couldn’t even score an appointment with whoever the current Dr Google is on the next working day so I spent a fairly hellish twelve hours lying dazed and prone on the lounge in between rising to attend to the steady stream of regular requests and basic requirements of my two infant children, each stint spent upright generally accompanied by a fresh bout of vomiting or dry retching over the toilet bowl.
My symptoms were getting worse instead of better so it was time to head down the mountain with what I was pretty sure was an ear infection. My ear hurt, it was blocked and ringing, I had chills, dizziness, nausea, vomiting. Whatever it was I didn’t care, I was in search of hard-core prescription pharmaceuticals because over-the-counter was no longer cutting it.
The trip down the mountain was not a pleasant one. I was so sick that I couldn’t even be bothered changing my clothes. I was wearing an old flannette shirt under a dirty hoodie I’d been wearing for days, my hair was greasy and unwashed and I was still in a daggy old pair of XL mens tracksuit pants with lambswool slippers on my feet. I haven’t been out of the house wearing slippers since I was a child.
The best thing for dizziness and nausea is not a long series of winding roads and hairpin turns down the side of a mountain. Lucky for me that my husband is such a disgusting grot that his car is always a mess. It normally annoys me no end but last night it was a saving grace because in amongst the detritus at my feet I managed to score a clear plastic bag, which I vomited into all the way down the mountain and into the carpark of the medical centre.
I took it in with me to the waiting room. I must have looked a sight. Dirty, unkempt blonde girl with glazed eyes, standing at the counter clutching a clear plastic shopping bag full of pink-tinged vomit, pale-faced and shaking like she was well-overdue for her next hit. Walking around in public with a bag full of vomit is one of those things you never expect to do past a certain age. I’m not really sure why it was pink-tinged, it must have been from the skin of the Fuji apple I’d eaten ten hours earlier, because nothing else had seen the inside of my stomach since then. I’d been barfing up vintage bile for hours. It could have been blood. Who knows. I was not letting go of that bag, despite the fact it had a small tear in it somewhere and was slowly leaking onto my trackies, just to compound the overall air of misery.
So after about ten minutes in the waiting room praying that I didn’t need to vomit publicly into that bag, I got into see the doctor. He didn’t check my vitals. No blood pressure check, no stethoscope, no thermometer. He did pull out his look-into-the-ear device and had a bit of a poke around. He didn’t think it was an ear infection, so I was a bit surprised by that.
So, after all of that, I was finally diagnosed with A FEATHER.
A feather. He thinks I might have a feather in my ear. He didn’t attempt to flush it out or anything, just sent me off with a script for antibiotics.
What. the. fuck.
I kind of wish he’d checked Google.
AND OH GOD I WISH I HADN’T…..OH GOD WHY DID I JUST DO THAT?!?!?!?!
Because you come across stories like this when you play Dr Google.