Thursday, August 17, 2006

at the grocer's

I went to the grocer's with my parents last Saturday. I'm not really the type of person who finds joy in this mundane activity, let alone do it with my parents. But let me explain how I ended up doing that.

I've had a fever for a week, with the added treat of some gooey phlegm scratching up and down my throat. I didn't exactly toss and turn in my undies in bed like what I did the last time I got sick. It's less dramatic this time. I didn't even stop working. I was only absent for a day, when the fever reached uncomfortable heights. That was just it.

My mother finally managed to drag me to see a doctor in this rundown private hospital downtown that reminded me of a butcher's shop. When I whined about the hospital's unplastered walls, grimy tiles, and ugly nurses, my mother retorted that we no longer live in Manila. If I wanted the best hospitals, I needed to travel all the way down the mountain. This medical facility was the best this city has to offer.

Since I was just an outpatient, we went straight to the emergency room whose appearance alone was enough to make me develop hemorrhoid. Or maybe that was the whole point. The place was designed to make you feel worse. The more sick you are, the thicker the owners' wallets become. It makes perfect sense, really.

While waiting for my turn inside the emergency room, I was approached by an intern who shoved a thermometer up my right armpit. The butcher, er, the doctor was prescribing some meds to a young mother and her whole brood. Apparently, they all got sick at the same time. Damn this season. And so I waited, rolling my eyes up the ceiling and down on the floor and up again, fighting the urge to scratch my armpit which was increasingly becoming itchy by the minute. I wonder how many armpits---both hairy and waxed---this mercury-filled tube had explored before the intern unceremoniously stuck it into my sorry armpit. I didn't even know they still use such crude medieval thermometers in hospitals these days. I know they have high-tech pointed thingies which they stick into your ears and then it registers your body temperature in less than two seconds. But anyway, I was sick. A few armpit hair lice from strangers wouldn't have mattered, really.

Pasted on the wall was a huge, computer-printed sign which said “This hospital is declared the most healthy [sic] in the whole province by the governor [sic].” I read it again. And again. And again. I was trying to figure out what it meant exactly but its grammatical structure made me sick all the more; it felt like a catheter was being forced up my nostril. The mercury in my thermometer must've gone up two notches higher. So I stopped trying to make mental semantic analysis. If I had stayed there two hours more, I would've had irreparable brain damage. Not that I don't have it yet.

There were three interns standing beside the doctor, intently watching her as she scribbled generic names for her patients. I wonder how many interns that hospital needs for a major operation, or better yet, how many people they need to screw a light bulb in place.

When it was already my turn, the doctor asked standard questions while filling out a form. She then suggested urinalysis and blood test. She gave me a piece of brown paper and sent me off to their laboratory, which looked a lot more presentable than the emergency room. It was as inviting as a jail warden's office. It wasn’t much but it was, at least, less sickening than the emergency room with its huge grammatically-challenged sign. After handing in my urine sample and extending my right hand for her to prick, I was advised to return after an hour for the results.

I immediately dragged my mother out of the place. Let's go somewhere less suffocating, I said, let's go to the grocer's, the wet market, the butcher's shop, any place that's far from this hospital.

That's how I ended up at the grocer's.


At 7:33 AM, Blogger Abaniko said...

You sure the needle was sterilized? :P

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Sidney said...

Hi Slim Whale,

Welcome back.

I thought you broke your fish bowl and I didn't expected to see you back.

Glad you didn't. It is such a pleasure to read your posts.

At 7:19 PM, Blogger dionne said...

that's a scary hospital... hehe! the price you have to pay for feeling invincible! stop going to work when you're sick! =P

At 9:59 PM, Anonymous bingskee said...

hey, hey, hey, look who's back!

you have to take care of yourself. get sick when you are in Manila, or when you are in a city with nice hospitals :-)

At 11:52 PM, Blogger cruise said...

what a unique reason why you went to the market... hahaha. so when you get back for the test result ready your basket and you may probably want to visit the butcher's shop for the 2nd time, hahaha.

At 12:32 AM, Anonymous jenplaza said...

where the fuck are you at? anong province ka diyan? bakit wala ka na sa manila? did you change jobs too? or yun pa rin?

At 12:33 AM, Anonymous jenplaza said...

ay, i hope you get well soon pala.

shempre minura muna kita bago nagsabi ng maganda. lol

At 5:34 AM, Blogger Jules said...

hmmmm... sounds just like this hospital i once rotated during my clerkship.

the thermometer is usually placed in a tube with alcohol so that each use can be theoretically disinfected...

(good thing the doctor didn't order a rectal exam or checked for hernias!)

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Alternati said...

I just came from Abaniko's blog and his entry was on hospitals too. I hate all hospitals on principle.. the smell just makes me nauseoud.

I do love groceries (clean ones). I love getting lost in the retail goods.

Get well!

At 11:35 PM, Blogger slim whale said...

abaniko-- not quite

sidney -- fish bowl still intact. didn't think i would be back, too

dionne -- right. should've just gone drinking instead. work is bad for the health.

bingskee -- good suggestion. next time i get sick, i'll make sure i'm in manila

cruise -- when i got back, i was told i was in the pink. perfectly ok. just needed to rest. they didn't even prescribe antibiotics. they just told me to take paracetamol. that's it. i swear, i should've just gone ot the butcher's

jen -- fucking secret.

jules -- i'm sure you know this hospital. i know they sterelize them but still, it's kinda yucky.

alternati -- exactly. the smell alone can make you sick. damn these hospitals. thanks for dropping by.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger pat said...

ive been reading this blog and been watching out for a new post because it's.. pretty. great site. thats lame i know. whatever the hell it is that got you i hope u rid of it before it gets rid of you.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger remingdoy rand said...

hoy, hoy, look do we have here! (gegegege) you're back! *sneezes* sensya na pati ako maysakit eh heeheehee :D

At 10:41 AM, Blogger bismuth said...

hey! glad you're back. kalamansi lang katapat nyan! hehehe.

At 11:48 PM, Blogger Saint Eroica said...

i love hospitals.... it's like home away from home... the smell... the aura... the obedient nurses... the accomdating doctors... there's this hosp that i really like... i won't tell you where it is... unless... you need help.. ;)

At 3:35 AM, Blogger slim whale said...

pat -- unfortunately, it didn't get me. and according to that whatever-does-not-kill-you-will make-you-stronger crap, i'm ten times stronger now. thanks so much for dropping by.

remingdoy rand -- sorry, nahawa kita. you want go that hospital? email me, i'll tell you which hospital that was.

bismuth -- right. calamansi... and tequila.

Saint Eroica -- i'm sure you love hospitals. it's like your second home! i think i know what hospital you're talking about. no, i don't need help. i'm happy with my psychotic and schizophrenic tendencies, thank you very much.

At 9:55 AM, Blogger rmacapobre said...

salut .. comment ça va?


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