Read Part 3
I laid on a gurney in the ER for close to an hour. In all that time, no doctor bothered to examine me. Finally some faceless drone wheeled me out of the ER and upstairs to a room, where an astonishingly irresponsible strategy unfolded.
A fitful sleep overtook me as soon as the drone shuffled out of the room. I can’t remember for certain, but I likely passed out from the pain. Twenty minutes later a diminutive grandmotherly nurse woke me. She assumed that I must be tired from the day’s “excitement” and kicked off a litany of questions by asking when I last “made a poopy.” After struggling to focus and softly grunt answers, I managed to describe my horrific pain and emphasize the probable cause. She chuckled and insisted that my “ouchie” couldn’t be that bad, “We pro’ly jus’ gotsa little tummy ache.” She went on to explain that the “doctor-man” —whose name I’d never heard previously—had ordered her to give me an enema*. According to her, he’d wait to find out if a geyser erupting into my rectum doused the pain before he acted further.
I had yet to actually meet this “doctor-man.” The warehouse staff assigned each resident’s case to a doctor based in a specific hospital. They assured residents that their chosen doctor would treat them in a medical emergency—bullshit. And the pedestrian mental image of liquid slogging my swollen and inflamed appendix terrified me; I’ve since learned that nurses routinely administer a barium enema when appendicitis is suspected. (A few weeks after this fiasco, I confirmed that nobody x-rayed me.)
Severe pain clouded my rational thought and acute physical illness rendered me phenomenally weak. I couldn’t fight the clueless RN as she jammed the tube up my ass. After she’d carried out the doctor-man’s orders, I passed out. I have no idea how much time had elapsed when a marginal dream-like consciousness visited me: A blanket pinned my body against a gurney parked in a dim room among a handful of other horizontal sedated patients awaiting surgery. I recognized the doctor that loomed over me as the condescending asswipe I’d had the misfortune to visit months earlier for some unrelated issue. (Luckily I’d conducted myself in a civil manner at the appointment.) He glared at me while slamming a manila folder into the chest of the nurse groveling next to him, snorted: “Yeah, I know him,” then checked his watch as I slid back into bizarre oblivion.
* When I was a kid and my mom drove me to a dreaded doctor’s appointment, she sometimes joked that he’d likely give me an enema. I’d protest that nobody was gonna stick a hose up my butt. Then she’d laughingly advise: “But you haven’t lived until you’ve gotten an enema.” Now I know what she meant.