I’m sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for the magic steroid shots to make me feel better. I’ve been sick with “just a cold” for six weeks, and now I feel like death. Diagnosis: bronchitis, a sinus infection, and an ear infection. Two shots in the booty are on their way. I’m ready for this.
I have a bit of an anxiety issue. Most of the time when I get a shot, a tattoo, or piercing I have a slight physiological meltdown. In other words, I pass out right on the floor. It’s an anxiety issue, right. So, I also get anxious about warning people that this might happen. I usually roll the dice, hoping I stay conscious. Today, however, I’m a 22-freaking-years-old adult. I’m a capable lady who can do hard things. I can tell a professional physician that booty shots make me panic and collapse. I’ve also practiced my “I pass out when I get shots HAHA” speech in the car before coming in. I bravely tell the nurse I don’t always, or even sometimes, respond well to shots. I find out that this urgent care was basically made for me because they ask all patients who receive shots to wait in the lobby a precautionary ten minutes in case they react to the shot.
I handle it like a pro when the nurse administers the shots. No dizzy room or watery legs in sight. I feel puffy with pride. “I did great!” an announcement more fitting for a child who didn’t cry very long than a grown ass woman who manage to stay conscious, but here we are. I go sit in the lobby for ten minutes of scrolling Instagram. A few finger swipes in, I can feel it coming. My heart is starting to race, it feels as though my mind is leaving my body, the room begins to wobble. Maybe another person would have alerted the healthcare staff.
I’ve prepared for this eventuality. I packed honey cough drops. They will probably help. No one will be the wiser, certainly not the middle-age lady in the corner flipping through magazines. I unwrap eight of those bad boys and pop them in my mouth like they are Smarties. It’s fine; I’m fine. (It wasn’t; I wasn’t).
My head smacks the wall behind me, my body slouches in the chair, my hands go limp on my lap. “OH MY GOD,” screams the general vicinity of the receptionist’s desk.
“GET A CRASH CART GET A CRASH CART!” I vaguely hear.
I wake enough to be somewhat aware yet heavily groggy. I lift my hand waving away the healthcare provider horde (my hand did not move).
“I do this sometimes,” I tell them (I grumbled, “uuuuuuurrrrhhggg,” which some might have interpreted as a lack of ability to easily breathe).
“I NEED AN EPIPEN NOW,” screams the doctor frantically checking my vitals.
“I’m not allergic, I just do this sometimes,” I say. (I groaned “uuuhhhhhh,” which probably contributed to the general panic).
“GIVE HER THE SHOT, NOW!”
I wave my hands no at the medical staff (my hands drop limply off my lap where they had been resting, which may have further alarmed the doctor).
I feel a little pressure on my thigh then a scream from someone in the room. This is a lot, I think, this is a big reaction. Several of the people around me rush away. I thought that an EpiPen would have hurt a little worse. I stand up and move into the wheelchair they have brought over (I flop to the side of the chair, start to fall to the floor before the catch me and place me in the wheelchair). I’m rolled to a recovery room where I begin to regain control of my body and sort of collapse onto a gurney. I tell the doctor that I had been known to pass out on occasion, a message she obviously had not receive earlier. She hands me a juice box then leaves.
I sit cross-legged sipping juice. I’m mortified. I need to leave and never return. I have to walk past the medical staff and through the waiting room. Walk of shame. I decide to drink juice until I’m capable of running then making a mad dash. I put my purse on my shoulder to prepare. I check my left thigh where they administered the unnecessary EpiPen. I thought it would have left a mark or hurt, but I can’t even tell I had a shot. I take another sip from my juice box.
“She pierced her thumb,” I hear a soft, woman’s voice whispering, “It went straight through the thumbnail and into her thumb.”
Holding my juice, I slightly lean past the door frame to see who is talking and what is going on. I see the doctor talking quietly into the phone with her back to the receptionist. That friendly, chipper woman I met in the lobby was holding her hands wrapped in bloody paper towels with a pained yet empty look on her face.
I didn’t have a mark on my thigh because I didn’t receive an EpiPen shot. The receptionist, in a panic with doctors and nurses frantically reacting to what they thought was a catastrophic allergic reaction, had missed my leg and stabbed her own hand with the EpiPen. Having stabbed through her actual thumbnail into her thumb, she now knows that the only thing wrong with me is a panic problem.
I finish my juice box. I stride out of the room with apologetic confidence (I hunch my shoulders and wobble out, whispering “So sorry,” every of step down the hallway). I bolt through the lobby, pulled on a door that required pushing in order to open, figure it out then stumble through the door. I reach my car and skid out the parking lot.
I reach home a little too quickly. Jamie asks, “What did the doctor say?” while I nibble on some crackers.