(image via weheartit.com)
This craziness is continued from Part One…you may want to fill in some details there.
Like I said, I had five hours to live, and maybe five minutes until Ben’s family merrily trundled in, bearing warm plates, completely innocent to the pestilence dwelling under our roof. I was sliding around from room to room, trying to remain calm, pouring glasses of wine, then giving them away (COULD I DRINK?! WOULD I AUTOMATICALLY POISON MYSELF?!), starting to light candles and dropping lighters in the bathroom sink. Finally I committed to the simple act of calling the doctor. To her credit, the lady at the answering service took my call with as little reaction as if I were leaving a message to schedule an appointment. There was a repetitive beeping in the background, and I wondered if the infection had spread to my brain.
“Alright,” she said, “I’ll send your info to the doctor on call, and they’ll call you back.”
“Hurry. I mean, thank you.” My hands shook as I figured out how to end calls on my cellphone (it still baffles me…) and I spun around to crash into my brother-in-law.
“Oh my god! You’re here! Hi!” I flushed and started babbling, talking with my mouth self-consciously half-closed. “Let’s get you a drink, what do you want to drink, the drinks are in here!”
Mercifully, Ben and Laurel showed up. I dumped the cheese platter on the coffee table and Ben put on some football. Without talking it over, the three of us realized that it was better to avoid any mention of poison ivy until we had more concrete details. More hugs and exclamations of delicious food and happy holidays circled as my in-laws carried in several days worth of steaming side dishes. I was in the middle of tripping over the cat’s food and water dishes in a confused haze when I realized that my phone was in the other room, and I dashed off mid-sentence. It was ringing.
“Hello? Ashlie? It’s the doctor on call. Can I help you?”
I crashed through the porch door and slammed it behind me.
“Hi, yes, hi. I’m sorry to bother you on Thanksgiving but I uh, I have poison ivy. Um, in my mouth.” I felt so stupid and kind of dirty saying it out loud. There was ominous silence. “I was doing yard work, and it spread to my face, and now it’s on my gums. I obviously was going to eat today and I wasn’t sure if that was okay or if it could wait until tomorrow or what…”
“Oh, I’m so sorry. I’m going to have to say that you’ll need to head into the emergency room.”
“Yes, right now. The second it’s on your face it’s a cause for concern. You’ll need a steroid taper or even if they do a boost with an IV we can finish it off in the office next week but I would head over there as quickly as possible.”
“Um, wow. Okay. Oh my god. Bye.”
In shock I hung up, wrestled my way back into through the porch door, and announced that I was headed to the hospital. Only Laurel didn’t look blank. She grabbed her coat, already half-laughing at our adventure. While I was being waved out of the house kindly, I shot turkey instructions (ha, like I really knew what I was doing) over my shoulder. Ben’s car was the only one not parked in so I drove myself the two streets over and just like that, I was entering the emergency room on Thanksgiving day.
On the porch it all seemed very dramatic, but once we were walking in I felt almost silly. The parking lot was silent, with a smattering of cars and even less people waiting. The security officer gave me some entrance forms and answered my pleasant “Quiet day?” with a loud, “SHHH! We don’t say that around here.” Randomly, a male model wearing a Ralph Lauren sweater took my insurance information, pouting at us through the glass. Another woman taking my vitals described a Thanksgiving feast they had cooked for the night crew that had dried and congealed overnight before she came in to find it. Laurel gagged. I had my blood pressure taken, rated my pain on a scale of one to ten, and was lead to another room with a bed and TV. Even with the combined distractions of the human show and our own personal television to keep me busy, I felt antsy and keep jumping up, then sitting back down when a janitor walked past. I was incredibly itchy, but mostly just anxious to be home.
A nurse bustled in and read my entrance sheet under her breath.
“You feel safe at home, you wear a seatbelt, you drink alcohol…socially, or everyday?”
Socially everyday? Is that a choice?
“Um…socially.” I had waited too long to answer and her eyes narrowed.
“When you drink, do you drink beer, wine, or liquor?”
My eyes flicked to Laurel, who could barely contain herself. All three, damn it, and I really wanted a glass of SOMETHING that instant.
“Mostly beer. And wine.”
“I see. The doctor will be with you.”
And then, finally, she was. The nicest, most professional, most calming doctor ever came in and I instantly knew Thanksgiving was saved. She looked at my rash, diagnosed me with Acute Poison Ivy, and told me that a steroid taper would clear everything up.
“I don’t need an IV? My doctor was saying something about needing an IV…”
“That’s probably because she didn’t really know exactly what you were dealing with. It’s hard to tell over the phone, but I am sorry she alarmed you. You should be fine with an oral medication.”
The doctor was young, which was probably why she was so incredibly professional, especially while dealing with two girls who spent the entire time they were waiting snickering at each other. We broke her (to giggles, not tears) with the next question.
“I’m going to head back to eat Thanksgiving dinner. Will it be all right to have a glass of wine with this medication?”
“Well…you can, but this steroid has been know to make people be alert, and very agitated. When you throw alcohol in the mix, it’s hard to say how people will react.”
Laurel finally did what she had been threatening to do for the entire day, and burst out laughing.
We headed home with several prescriptions and a slightly sheepish demeanor. Everyone at home was where we had left them: Ben, his dad, and brother watching football, Ben’s sweet mom putting the finishing touches on the meal that I had started and abandoned. Somehow everything was ready at the correct time (an art that will remain a mystery to me until next year) and we all sat down to eat just a few minutes later than I think we would have anyway.
It ended up being such a nice meal. I was full in an instant, and we went into the living room to drink coffee and eat pie and watch funny YouTube videos as a family. Ben’s parents went to some friends for dessert and music, I took Laurel to the train to head to her overnight shift, and I finished off the evening with Ben and Andrew and funny shows OnDemand. It was not the traditional Tommy Hilfiger Thanksgiving that I thought I might be able to full off, but it pretty typical for my life and my personal propensity towards weirdness.
For now, this is going to count as Cooking A Multi-Course Meal From Scratch, and if I end up pulling off something better before October 6th, 2011, then I’ll replace the entry and this will remain as Thanksgiving 2010: Medical Emergencies To Be Enjoyed With Loved Ones.