Monday, January 9, 2012

you sure you're okay?

I've had a super disgusting cold for the past couple weeks. In a desperate attempt to kill it and get the mucus out of my lungs, I took a trip to Med Express. After sitting in the waiting room for a few minutes, I gave the front-desk nurse my social security number and promptly forgot my own father's birthday. Then they swept me back into a tiny examination room.

Another nurse came in to ask me questions. She clamped a blood pressure reader onto my finger and wrapped the velcro strap around my arm. She squeezed the air pump and it inflated around my arm. She narrowed her eyes at the number and pumped the gauge again.

"Huh," she said, scribbling a number on the chart. "Is this normal?"

I looked at it and shrugged. I had no idea what the number meant. I'm bad with fractions. She scribbled another number down.

"And your heart rate is super low. Forty. Are you feeling okay?"

"Well," I said, "I think I have a sinus infection."

She put both fingers on my wrist and looked at her watch. "It's steady. Are you an athlete?"

I nodded.

"And when was your last period?"

I searched the back of my mind to the last time I was sedentary enough for my body to work like a normal girl's. "I'm not sure. It kind of goes away when I'm running a lot. But I'm not pregnant, I swear."

Her eyes narrowed. Then she banged the clipboard down on the countertop and scribbled "Preg??" next to my name. "Wait here," she snapped.

I studied the picture of a sailboat on the wall. Why would there be a sailboat painting in a landlocked state? I heard doctors and nurses tramping through the halls, shuttling patients around and talking in their metallic medical jargon. One of them was boasting about seeing 75 patients in one day. MedExpress is one hell of an efficient machine. Finally a doctor with a dark moustache breezed into the room.

He clacked around with his stethoscope to check my pulse and my breathing. He agreed that I did have a sinus infection. Then he glanced at my chart one last time.

"Are you... an athlete?"

I bit my lip and nodded. "Yep. I run."

"Hm. Do you run a lot?"

I shrugged again and smiled. "Yeah, I guess so."

Dr. Moustache puffed out his cheeks. "Okay. But just so you know, people with your heart rate usually  get sent to the emergency room."

I half expected him to give me a pregnancy test as well. But then he just handed me the prescription slip and told me to take a couple days off from running. Huh. That really never occurred to me. I shook my head. Apparently doctors in this town aren't exposed to endurance athletes too often.

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