Sunday, November 13, 2011

Twinkie the Kid

Sugar, take this and breathe into it, she said.

I had done this before, and I knew, since she was asking, the news wasn't going to be good.

Just a real hard puff, honey.  I found myself angry at her for no reason and noticed that the nurse was out of breath after the short walk from the waiting room to the examination room.  And so was I.

She was about 5'3, probably in her mid-fifties, and to call her a "large woman" would have been a compliment.  She was wearing blue spandex, and as I sulked and wheezed behind her during our seemingly marathon-distance journey, I got to watch her butt cheeks dimple and clump together, rhythmically.  Too tired to make pleasant conversation, I was stuck just watching her and wondering why she chose those pants on this particular day, and if I was meant to be there, at that moment, to watch her ass bulge, during my dead-man-walk.

When she handed me the PVC-esque pipe to breathe into to gauge how messed up my lungs were, I watched her upper arms sway under her pink and blue floral blouse.  A collection of fat and skin gathered where her triceps should have been, so much so, that when she put her arms at her side, her shoulders flared out like an out-of-shape and pastel-clad Incredible Hulk.

I think about all these things as a distraction while I breathe in, as much as I can, and let out a puff of air.  When completed, I dutifully gaze up at my nurse looking for some sort of congratulations through my coughs:  Look at me...I can take a deep breath...without passing out.  I should win an award!

Instead, I am greeted by a furrowed brow and a Honey, don't be such a wuss.  I know your skinny-white-ass can do better than that. 

*Cough*  Excuse me? *Cough*  What was that?

I said, try it again, sweetie...

Challenged, I take an even deeper breath, let out an even stronger puff of air, and notice the little gauge on the PVC-esque pipe move a bit farther this time.

That's better, sugar.  Now take off your shirt so I can take a closer look atcha.

Exhausted, my only response is a phlegm-filled cough as I remove my shirt so she can "listen to my lungs."

MMMMMM, you work out a lot, sugar, doncha?

Getting a little uncomfortable, I hiss out a response, as best I can.  Yeah, that's why I'm here.  *Cough Hack Cough*  I got sick this last week and didn't stop training.  *Cough Cough* I took a few days off, but I guess I should have taken a few more.

Whatchu training for, honey?  What's so important to get you THIS sick?  Her question hung in the air while she puffed on her stethoscope, put her right hand on my side and then, from what felt like millimeters from my ear, whispered: Relax, sugar.  This is going to be a little...*pause* *pause* *pause*...cold.

"Relaxed" might be the opposite of what I felt.  The cool sting of the stethoscope and the smell of syrup on her breath had me flustered, and I didn't know how to answer her question exactly.   I breathed deeply so she could listen to my lungs gurgle, before replying I'm training for an Ironman and waited for the normal responses:

  • Is that in Hawaii? 
  • Wow, I can't even run a mile.
  • I've run a 5K before!
  • What order do you do that in?
...some of the ones I hear the most.  But the nurse didn't say any of these things.  She just kept listening to my lungs and then slowly walked in front of me.  She had what I can only classify as "a look" in her eyes and then asked:

Are you good?

What do you mean?

Sugar, are you any good?

Virus or Cream Filled?
And I paused, again stumped, and stared off at an evil-looking, cartooned flu virus on the wall.  He had a cowboy hat and spurs, and looked to be from about 1983.  It kind of reminded me of Twinkie the Kid, but with a virus-cream filling.  I glossed over the tips for staying healthy before I replied:  Well, I'm not going to win...but I'm pretty good for even trying, I suppose.

I suppose.  Well, the doctor will be in to see you in a second.  Try to get some rest...and sugar?


Remember why you're here.

And she closed the door behind her.