Friday, July 10, 2009

Allergy clinic blues

Today, I had to go to the allergy clinic to get my serum for the two shots I give myself once every three weeks. As I've explained in previous entries, the clinic will no longer give them to me unless I show up for a serum test. This process consists of a med tech putting one tiny amount of each of my serums under the skin on my arm, making me wait ten minutes, and then coming to see if my reaction was too strong. The med tech gauges the reaction size by measuring the size of the circle around the injection point; if its diameter is above 11 mm., the reaction is too big, and they have to remix the serum.

As usual, the experience was a winner.

After I checked in and was in the room with the med tech (MT), this dialog ensued. Please note that it is not my fault that MT has almost no English.

MT: What your name?

ME: Mark Van Name

MT: That no funny. What your name?

ME: That is really my name. My last name is Van, like a moving van, and Name, as in "my name is."

MT: We no moving. What your name?

ME: My last name is two words: Van (pause) and Name.

MT: Oh, yeah, yeah. I remember. Funny name. (Rummages in refrigerator, emerges with serum, and shows the two bottles to me.) This you?

ME: Yes.

MT: All correct?

ME: No. My address is wrong. (I pointed at the error.) This 1 should be a 2.

MT: You move?

ME: No. Someone in your office simply made a typing error.

MT: Not possible.

ME: Please just change this one number.

MT: No. (Hands me a pen.) You do.

(I do.)

MT: You pick up [other location].

ME: No. I want to pick up my serum here.

MT: Open all time there. Here only one day one hour week.

ME: That location is almost half an hour away from my home or office. This location is less than ten minutes. I'll come here.

MT: (nods and strokes his chin) Hour changes some weeks.

ME: Okay. I'll ask.

MT: Could be hard to find.

ME: I'll take my chances.

(He shakes his head and points to a chair. I pull up my left sleeve. He walks in front of me.)

MT: Which arm?

(I point to the one with no sleeve covering it.)

ME: Good choice.

(I resist saying, "WTF?" What if I'd chosen the other arm? Would he punish me?)

(He gives me the two tests.)

MT: Go. (He hands me one thin piece of tissue.) If you bleed lot. Ten minutes.

(I know the drill, so I don't ask for clarification. I am to go to the waiting room and sit for ten minutes, at which point he'll come and check the two test areas. I do, and after ten minutes, I ask for him.)

(The receptionist looks up from talking to her boyfriend, points to the corner chair, and says, "Wait.")

(I wait. At the fifteen-minute mark, he emerges. As he walks out the door, I push up my sleeve to show him the test arm.)

MT: Which arm?

(I point to the arm with the sleeve up.)

(He studies my arm. One test spot has a tiny reaction; the other has none.)

MT: I do two?

ME: Yes.

MT: I see one. No other reaction.

ME: That's good.

MT: No reaction.

ME: So I pass, right?

MT: (Steps back and again rubs his chin.) Okay. (Hands me the envelope with my serum.) You go.

You can bet your ass I left.

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