Before Shaun went to the orthopedic surgeon, she had to go to our regular doctor. Some sort of insurance rule. The day after the accident, the staff squeezed her in at the end of the day. Really nice.
The doctor came in, smiling. She looks down at the chart, and then up at Shaun.
“So what happened?”, she says.
We look at each other. Um. ER report? They faxed the x-rays and test results to her office while we were still in the ER.
Shaun dutifully explains.
“Ow”, says the doc, wrinkling her nose at the horror of it, and distractedly shaking her finger, “I bet that hurt.”
Shaun, nodded, asking, “Did you read the x-rays? They couldn’t tell if it was fractured”. She hopes this doctor might be able to give her an answer.
“Ewwww”, the doc shudders, “X-rays? No, of course not. I can’t look at the pictures. I’d be sick”, she laughs, stares at her finger, adds, “I read the report.”
We look at each other. A doctor who gets queasy over an x-ray of a dislocated thumb? How did she make it out of medical school?
“Excuse me”, the doctor says, “this really hurts, I’m afraid I have to deal with it before I see you”.
We stare at her blankly. Shaun can’t take the medication the ER prescribed for pain: it’s clear she’s allergic. She’s in a lot of pain, and covered in hives.
“Paper cut”, Dr. says, holding up her finger, so we can see. “This little sucker hurts like the dickens. I’ll be right back.”
We don’t speak. Did she just leave a patient in pain, with a hand the size of a lamb shank, because she had a paper cut?
Shaun can feel me winding up. “Down, girl”, she says. “I can’t deal with that and you going off”.
I imagine chasing the doctor with a sheet of printer paper, slicing edge forward. I clamp my mouth shut. Getting mouthy will lengthen the process of Shaun becoming pain free.
The doctor returns, wrapping a Bugs Bunny band-aid around her finger. “Sorry, I know it’s stupid, but these things really hurt!” She has a hard time wrenching her attention back to Shaun: her eyes keep straying to Bugs Bunny.
Shaun stares at her.
“Nothing like yours though, of course!”, she adds, hastily.
I back down. The woman has shame. I do an emotional reboot.
Shaun asks if there is something she can take that won’t give her hives. The doctor says, “yes, there is”. We leave with a new prescription.
In the car, we turn to each other while I crank the engine, and say simultaneously: paper cut?!? and start giggling. Shaun says, “Seriously? I can’t actually LOOK at your x-rays, because I’ll throw UP?”
(If there was a disaster calendar, it was hidden, or we were both too deeply in shock to notice.)