Thursday, April 19, 2012

Proctologian Mimicry

Mr. Jumpy eyed me suspiciously. "Don't let her near me! I say, don't let her come anywhere near me!" He shuffled to another side of the bed.

"Why, what's wrong?" A nurse asked.

"I can't believe she did that to me, that doctor there," he pointed at me. I had been nowhere near the new elderly patient, so the nurse smiled and humored him, "what did that bad, bad doctor do to you, Mr. Jumpy?"

"I'd know her from anywhere. I will never allow anybody to put a finger there again, you hear? Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to hide my anus."

I have logged another "first" to my list of experiences. This was definitely the first time I was mistaken for anyone's proctologist.

For the rest of the morning, everytime I walked by, he would mutter and shift, presumably hiding his anus. He watched me as I went about my duties and eventually allowed me to give him a pillow/blankets.

"You know what," he mused a few hours later, "you' all right. Just never do that to me again."

"Ok, Mr. Jumpy, I promise that you have nothing to worry about from me."

Mr. Jumpy didn't turn out to be mentally ill, surprisingly... he was just a man terrified of rectal exams.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Friend Betty

I was doing an EKG on my patient Ms. Sloppy, lifting one large breast to put on stickers when I spotted Betty scurrying across a pale leg. I followed my first instinct and grabbed Betty in a piece of gauze. Gingerly, I opened the gauze and Betty looked at me for a second and we were friends at first sight. Then she attempted to scurry to the underside of my gauze, perhaps to get closer to me.

I tried to tip her into a urine cup, but I had to use my gloved fingers to carefully fish her off the gauze, though she used her spider-silk-thin legs to cling as she might a particularly hairy leg, perhaps. Engorged to about six times the size I'd previously seen, Betty the bedbug seemed comfortable enough where she was. I shook the cup, which made her lose her balance and she landed on her back, delicate legs waving in the air.

She is the perfect parasite, carefully designed to glide on light, feathery legs that help her otherwise cumbersome body escape detection. Her glossy ectoskeleton was clunky (due to overeating, perhaps) but aerodynamic and provided sufficient armor to make sure she did not suffer from being knocked around the cup I carried in my pocket. I had a long and busy day, but this did not fatigue Betty as much as it did me. Every time I showed my new friend to my co-workers, she would wave her little legs with just as much energy as before.

She had a magical effect on everyone she met. Psychosomatic pruritis followed everywhere she went.  And everyone was itchy (to meet her). 

The janitors had the most interest of all in big Betty. As the first line of defense against colonization in the hospital, I would have imagined them to see her family more often than anyone else. But no, they surrounded the little orange urine cup and they spoke in hushed tones like there was a mystical aura around it. The infestation of bedbugs isn't just physical... it's psychological, they whispered, awestruck and reverent. I hear they're impossible to get rid of and even if you do, you still feel like they're there, another added, like some sorta curse. All nodded.

At the end of the night, though, I put a quick end to our friendship; though we had a great time all day, Betty was getting feisty, clinging onto the sides of her cup, perhaps attempting escape. The janitor who watched me wouldn't believe Betty was gone and exclaimed every few seconds that 'the legs are wavin'! ' But I knew... Betty had already gone to a big bed in the sky.
RIP Betty