So I went to urgent care last night to get this thing taken care of once and for all. What a ridiculous experience. I went on my insurance plan’s website to find an in-network urgent care and only came up with one place anywhere near me. I went there and was baffled by the disbelieving looks I got while checking in. They assumed I’d been injured, and seemed mystified by my presence when I told them why I was there. I had to ask, “This is urgent care, right.” For the record, they said yes.

So, as I’m sitting in the waiting room, I notice this really doesn’t look like the average urgent care, upon closer inspection. There are none of those posters telling you how you can beat cold and flu season. In fact no one is sick. There don’t seem to be any urgent cases at all. Everyone there seems to be getting a workman’s comp check-up or a drug test. Hmm…well they checked me in, I thought. Even though they had a hard time figuring out my insurance, there’s still a doctor somewhere behind that door. I’ll be fine.

Some 12-year-old with a stethoscope came and walked me down the hall.  What? They aren’t going to weight me? They always weigh me. That’s odd. Oh well, that’s not such a big deal I suppose. The 12-year-old then starts asking my permission to take my pulse, my temp, and my blood pressure. I know I’m scary, but that only tends to be if you know me. Most people who’ve just met me think I’m quiet and shy. This guy seemed scared. I think his hands were even shaking. As an after thought as he was leaving the room he says I should disrobe. I told him I didn’t think that was necessary and he left. As I’m waiting for the doc I’m struck by how this room doesn’t seem to be the normal exam room either. I didn’t have too long to think about it before the doctor showed up.

The doc comes in, and she takes a look. She says, “Oh my,” and asks what I’ve done so far. So we discuss that a bit and she tells me what she thinks she wants me to do next. She also said things like this are “trial and error” and that we won’t really know for sure what it is, but it definitely looks more fungal than like shingles. She excuses herself and says she’ll be right back with my prescription.

This part seemed to take forever. I had plenty of time to ponder the exam room. Again I noticed the absense of health posters. There was nothing showing me my inner ear, nothing reminding me to wash my hands, nothing from a pharmaceutical company promising an end to allergy symptoms. Wait…washing my hands…there’s no sink! I’ve never been in an exam room without a sink. In fact there are no tongue depressors, no cotton balls, no cotton swabs. What’s up with this place? Then I look at the exam table itself. It, too, is odd. It’s really just a tall, padded bench, and it’s really beat up. I also notice how grimey the place looks. Maybe it’s just dingy. Either way I was glad to see the variety of sanitizers on the counter.

An eternity later, the doctor comes back and says she spoke with her colleagues. They got out the dermatology books and went through the photos. They all agree that it looks fungal (no one else saw me), and they decided on a course of action for me. I should take Benedryl so I can sleep (I never said I was having trouble) and apply a cream twice a day. If the rash gets worse they were wrong about the fungus and I should switch to an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. That’s reassuring. They have no clue what kind of fungus it is, but they know it looks fungal, and they know that I should use this cream.

As the doc and I are walking out of the exam room she tells me that she’s sorry she can’t be more specific but they just don’t see a lot of urgent care cases there. I told her this was the only urgent care listed on my insurance. “Oh. That’s not good,” was her response. She then asks me if I have any idea where I got this thing. Really? The doc’s asking me? (“Oh. That’s not good,” is still echoing in my ears) I told her about Carrier Monkey (see last post). She confirms that it could definitely be ringworm, but she just can’t be sure.  Thanks again, Carrier Monkey. I’m really looking forward to the Hep A you’re bringing Friday.

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