Hi! I know I kind of dropped out for a bit there, but I had strep throat…maybe. Let me explain. 🙂
Last Thursday my throat started feeling scratchy, and by Saturday morning it was so swollen and painful to swallow. Since it was a weekend, our doctor wasn’t open, so we headed to a nearby urgent care clinic. We had visited once before when Louis was sick, and I was just desperate for some medicine.
Thankfully when we arrived there was only one other couple in the waiting room, so I filled out the necessary paperwork and waited to get called back. About ten minutes later, a nurse walked out.
Nurse 1: “Aisle?” *looks around waiting room at us and the other couple* “Aisle?”
Me (thinking): Maybe that guy’s name is Kyle, and she’s looking for him?
Nurse 1: “Um…Aisle?”
Receptionist: “Are you looking for Ali?”
Nurse 1: “Uh, yeah. Ali.”
Me: “Oh, I’m sorry I thought you were saying…never mind.”
I got up and walked back with Louis down the hall with Nurse 1. Another nurse was standing in the hallway, and started talking to Nurse 1.
Nurse 2: “Oh, is that my sore throat patient?”
Nurse 1: “Nope, this is my abdominal pain patient. I’m taking her to Room 4.”
Nurse 2: “Oh okay good, I’m not ready.”
Me: “Um…I’m here for a sore throat…”
Nurse 1: “Oh! Haha! Gosh, guess I grabbed the wrong file! That could have been bad!”
Nurse 2: “Oops! Guess you’re mine! Um, I’m not ready so you can just stand in Room 1.”
Me: “…thank you.”
It was obviously off to an interesting start. Louis and I waited for a few minutes in Room 1, until Nurse 2 arrived again and finished setting everything up.
Nurse 2: “Sorry! I’m so brain dead! My shift usually isn’t at this time. I had to get here so early this morning, so I’m totally out of it. I can’t think straight!”
That’s always comforting to hear from the medical staff working with you. We chatted for a bit about my symptoms, and she swabbed my throat for a strep test. The test takes a few minutes process, so Louis and I were left again to wait for the results. At this point, I realized how hot I was. I’m not sure if I was running a low grade fever or what, but I started sweating. I don’t mean lightly perspiring. I mean, I was dripping in sweat. I had on gray yoga pants and a gray hoodie because it was cold when we left the apartment, but I was DYING of heat in the clinic. By the time the physician assistant came in, I was embarrassingly sweaty.
Physician Assistant: “Hello, what seems to be the problem today?”
We discussed my symptoms, and she let me know that while the strep test came back negative, they were still going to treat me for strep.
Physician Assistant: “I’m going to go ahead and look at your throat and listen to your lungs and heart.”
Me (somewhat awkwardly): “Okay, let me go ahead and apologize in advance, I’m very sweaty. I’m not sure why, it’s just SO hot in here.”
Physician Assistant: “Oh, no worries! I’m sure it’s nothing.”
Me: “No, I’m extremely sweaty.”
Physician Assistant: “Um, okay.”
She began checking me out, and eventually asked me to lay down to press around on my stomach to see if my spleen was enlarged (apparently a symptom of mono). When I laid down, I had SWEAT MARKS on my yoga pants where my legs were bent from sitting. SWEAT MARKS. Stupid, gray yoga pants.
Physician Assistant: “Oh!…Did you work out before coming here? You’re…really sweaty.”
Me: “Uh, no. I’m sick. I told you I was sweating. Sorry…I’m just really hot.”
Physician Assistant (probably extremely grossed out by this point): “Oh…well, that’s odd. I’m thinking we should do a couple more tests, since you’re sweating so much.”
Awesome. So awkward. And gross enough that she wanted to run more tests. Cool. She eventually left (I’m sure to run her hands under scalding water after having to touch my sweat), and we were left to wait for another period of time. Finally, Nurse 3 arrived.
Nurse 3: “Hi, I spoke to the physician assistant, and she wants me to do tests for mono and the flu on you. The flu test is a nasal swab, and the mono test is a finger prick.”
Nurse 3: “I’m sorry?”
Me: “I’m just really scared. Is it going to hurt? I’m scared to get my finger pricked. Is it going to hurt? I’m worried.”
Nurse 3: “I mean it’s not fun, but it’s not that bad. It doesn’t hurt too much. Have you ever had a mono test before?”
Nurse 3: “Oh, then yeah, it doesn’t hurt that bad.”
Me: “You’re lying. You asked me if I have had one before, so you could tell me it didn’t hurt. I know you’re lying.”
Nurse 3: “Um, no it’s really not that bad.”
Me: “I’m scared, I don’t want to do it.”
Nurse 3: “Okay, I can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do.”
Louis: “Just let him do it. It doesn’t hurt that bad, and you want to make sure you don’t have mono.”
Me: “You don’t know. You’re both lying. I’m scared. Does it hurt? I’m not sure I want to do it.”
Nurse 3: “Okay, well if not that’s fine, but I have a lot of patients to see. If you don’t want it, just let me know, and I’ll leave.”
Me: “No, you can do it. No, wait! I’m scared. Okay, do it. No wait!”
This went on for about thirty minutes. Not really, I’m sure it was only about twenty seconds. I was just so embarrassed I was being such a wimp, but so scared at the same time. I could tell Nurse 3 was getting super annoyed, Louis was laughing at me for being so ridiculous, and I was having a huge internal struggle. I finally let Nurse 3 do the mono test, and, honestly, I didn’t even feel it. What a waste of emotion and embarrassment. Honestly, the nose swab flu test hurt worse than the finger prick! I’m sure I gave Nurse 3 plenty to talk about to his coworkers. (“Yeah, that chick in Room 1 is such a wuss and super annoying.”)
Once he left, we waited longer for those test results to come back. Finally, our Physician Assistant returned.
Physician Assistant: “Well, all the tests came back negative, so…we’re just going to treat you for strep.”
Physician Assistant: “So, at this point, I’ve decided to give you a steroid shot for the inflammation, and you can either get a penicillin shot or I can give you a prescription to take the penicillin orally. It’s up to you, one shot or two?”
Had she not heard the exchange I had with Nurse 3 over a finger prick? When Louis came to this clinic before, they gave him a steroid shot as well. He said it felt like someone branded him. As in, poked him with a fire-hot metal rod. No, thanks. He denies claiming it hurt that much, but I remember what he said!
Me: “Neither. I want no shots. And I want the penicillin orally.”
Physician Assistant: “Oh…you don’t want the steroid shot for the inflammation?”
Me: “Nope. I’ll just take some Tylenol. Just the prescription please.”
With that we were on our way out the door and heading to the pharmacy to get my medicine. I have no doubt the shots would have healed me quicker, but I had used up all my bravery for my finger prick.
I was feeling much better a few days later, when I got a call from an unknown number. I never answer when I don’t know the number, but thankfully they left a message. It was the urgent care clinic calling to check up on me…sort of…
Voicemail: “Hello, this is the urgent care clinic. We are calling to check on Juan. We know he came in a few days ago when he was sick, so we just wanted to see if the treatment plan was working. Please give us a call back.”
I quickly called back hoping they weren’t already on the phone discussing my medical history with another random person.
Me: “Hi, I just got a call from someone. I think they were trying to check up on me, but they said they were calling for Juan….so…I’m not really sure.”
Receptionist: “Oh…hold on.” *30 seconds on hold* “Ummm…yeah, we were calling to check on you. How are you?”
Me: “Much better, thank you. So, just to make sure, my file isn’t mislabeled? I just want to make sure my information isn’t being given to someone else.”
Receptionist: “No, probably not. No, definitely not. It was just a weird mistake. Glad you’re feeling better! Goodbye!”
So, with that parting statement, I’m pretty confident I cannot/will not ever return to that particular urgent care clinic. Between me sweating through my clothes, being a wuss about a finger prick, and being referred to as both ‘Aisle’ and ‘Juan,’ I think it’s safe to say I need to move on. I guess next time I’m sick, I’ll be heading to a different doctor.
Thanks for reading through this wall of text, and if you’re wondering, I’m feeling 100% better. 🙂 Until next time!