flip front precursor: re: I am SO Special

From: Jasmine

To: Jacinda, Joe, Jalissa, Doug, Dan, Andrea, Olivia

You know, I am so jealous. I would have liked to have a stranger chat me up on my way to work, if only so I could say that *my* baby’s daddy would get pissed. But I never got that far, never even left my house, as my Monday morning commute ended when I slipped and fell down my back steps.

Yeah, that’s right. I had fallen, and I couldn’t get up.

1. “Miss Davila has a nasty fall; Miss Kavanaugh and Miss de Kay rush to her assistance”

Monday’s rain was heavy and I figured that, as long as my feet were going to get soaked, I might as well spare some of my “better” shoes the misery. So I put on my flip-flops, packed shoes in my bag, and used the back stairs.

Let’s discuss the back stairs for just a minute. They’re wooden, in lovely condition, and steeper than the Swiss Alps. Anyhoo, I had tricked myself into thinking that, as long as I hold on to the railing, I could run down as fast as I could without incident.

Wrong. Running just made the falling process happen that much sooner.

My legs went out from under me, and I fell on my ass. Which would have been painful enough had I not banged my back on the steps as well. So as I start sobbing and cursing my luck, Nadine hears me (she had just gotten up) and rushes down the stairs. She’s still zipping the back of her dress as she helps me up the stairs. I collapse onto her bed, as it’s in the middle of the living room and I can’t walk any further than that. After placing an incoherent call to my supervisor, I take some ibuprofen and some water. I hand Nadine my bus pass and fall asleep.

2. “Miss Davila places a few incoherent phone calls, alarming her good friend, Miss Cardow in the process”

I wake up a few hours later to find Nadine’s pillowcase damp (sorry about the drooling, honey). Clock said 9:30. I had just missed “Designing Women” but could settle in for some quality time with Florence Henderson and the ladies of “Later Today”. Oh, but that throbbing pain in my back and bottom . . . a hospital seemed in order. I limp to my room to check myself out. No splinters in my rear (leave it to me to fall on my ass the day I decide to wear a skirt to work) but I’m scratched up all over the place. Ew.

I stumble towards the phone, place an incoherent phone call to Maria, then pass out again. Maria calls back. She thinks a hospital visit, to get x-rays, is a lovely idea. I spent about 20 minute calling various AEtna numbers to get the address of the closest hospital that takes my insurance, and another 10 calling a cab (“No, not North Armitage, HERMITAGE.”)

The cab ride is lovely, as I pass through Lincoln Park in all its gentrified glory. Oz Park is across the street from the hospital. Somehow, I manage to resist the urge to lie down in the park. I cross the street and walk into the emergency room.

3. “‘When was your last period?’ ‘Um, three months . . .’ “What??!!'”

The emergency room was not filled with shivering dope fiends and bloody, toothless old hags screaming for more ice. I was disappointed, though not entirely surprised, as this is Lincoln Park. I would have been glad for a trixie (see http://www.lptrixie.com for a description) to ridicule, but there was nobody but me and the receptionist. She had me take a seat behind her and rang for a nurse.

A small Filipino woman came through the double doors opposite me and sat down, a clipboard in her hand. She asked me for my name, birthdate, and the events of the morning, filling out her form as I spoke. She looked horrified when I told her it had been some time. But I’ve always been irregular (not that you all needed to know that, but I *am* telling a story here). She takes my blood pressure, temperature, and pulse, and then she calls the doctor.

Dr. Fishman is a small, compact man with a bald, sunburnt head. What hair he has is gray, and winds around the side of his head. He peers at me before speaking. After describing my fall, and the pain, he instructs me to sit and wait. The receptionist takes my insurance information, gives me a bracelet, and directs me towards the waiting area. As soon as I sit down, I get called into the emergency room I put down my bag in a curtained examination area and am told to sit down in a wheelchair next to the entrance.

A nice orderly with wire-rimmed glasses sits me down in a wheelchair and steers me up to the X-Ray/Radiology department upstairs. Though I am able to walk, I have to ride around in a wheelchair for insurance purposes. My fellow emergency room patients include a middle-aged Latino man with a mustache and a naked, bald African-American man who is tied down to a gurney. Neither of them are wearing shoes.

4. “Miss Davila, body building champeen of the greater Chicagoland area”

The orderly leaves me in the hallway outside of the radiology office, though not for long. A woman with a poodle-like perm and blue-tinted glasses pushes me into the x-ray room.

“You can probably leave your skirt on . . .” She looks at my crotch with great interest. “Is that a zipper, or buttons?”

“Zipper, the skirt zips up.” I look closer at my skirt to make sure of this.

“Oh, you can’t have that on, it’s metal. Put this on and go change in there.” She hands me a gown and points me to a bathroom. The gown is like a fattie version of the wrap dress made famous by Diane von Furstenburg. I can only imagine that I look like a toddler clambering up onto the table, my feet threatening to slip out from under me.

It takes 20 minutes to x-ray my lower back and pelvic area. This process requires a number of poses which, when performed in an upright position, would most certainly resemble those used by a body builder in competition. I twist and turn, alternately holding in my breath and tucking my hands underneath my chin to get my spine in the proper position to be photographed. When It’s all over, I want to yell, Austin Powers-style, “And I’m spent!” but I’m not sure that the x-ray lady would understand or appreciate the humor. She’s seen it all before.

I change back into my clothes, sit in the wheelchair, and x-ray lady pushes me back to the emergency room. She lets me hold on to my x-rays. They are enclosed in a big, purple sleeve. It’s like the Trapper-Keeper of medical record containment. I want to keep my x-rays, but she takes them from me and drops them on a shelf. I return to my personal examination area and wait for Dr. Fishman to come in.

5. “Miss Davila gets her meds; an afternoon of ogling Russell Crowe”

After Fishman test my reflexes, he examines my x-rays and pronounces me fine. Except for a bruised back and bum, I’m okay. Prescription in hand, I make my way home to Nadine’s bed, a big bottle of RC Cola, and rest. These are dancing in front of me in the cab, and as I talk on the phone with Maria, who bolts outta work to hang out with me.

Maria arrives at my house about 30 minutes later, demands my prescription, and returns 45 minutes later with my pills and a pizza. After some talk, I start getting kind of loopy, and Maria makes a graceful exit.

I come to about an hour later, then remember that I’ve got some pay-per-view to take advantage of. I had ordered “Mystery, Alaska” while I was calling AEtna, in part because I was convinced that AEtna I’d never find a hospital, and because I am grief-stricken over Russell Crowe dating Meg Ryan. I think the combination of Russell and hockey would make me feel better.

I am not wrong.

6. “Monday night, Tuesday morning”

I spend the evening taking pills, eating, talking to various well-wishers, and watching television. I pass out at some point and come to early Tuesday morning. It’s about 5:40, and my back is *killing* me. I have another pill, call my supervisor yet again, and pass out.

Tuesday is arguably the longest day of my life. There is absolutely nothing on television, and none of the pay-per-view movies, adult or otherwise, compel me to order them. I consider calling my mother early for her birthday, but I realize that I do not want her wondering why I am at home, so I put the phone down.

7. “The End”

I’m back at work now, and though it always feels like I’m sitting on a book whenever I sit, I feel okay. Sleeping flat on my back is painless, though not as comfortable as I would like. If you find those foam blocks that mothers use to keep their babies from rolling over, but in a size appropriate to my stature (5’6″ — pretty tall for an Asian, huh?), please let me know. My back still hurts a bit, and my ass is scratched up, but overall I’m fine, and thanks for asking.

Smooches,

Jasmine

PS: If you ever have a choice in who comes to your house to hang out with you while you’re out of it, in pain, or just fine, go with Maria. She is an angel.

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~ by Jasmine on July 12, 2000.

2 Responses to “flip front precursor: re: I am SO Special”

  1. hey,

    you know william
    if you know about his brother in th navy tell him to eat more beats, smoke more chicken and… call me DR. K .

  2. […] like I want cake — which is to say, a whole lot. Oh, and here is the obligatory links to the flip front’s precursive e-mail (inspired by Jacinda, as always) and flip front no […]

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