June 3, 2010

La Pharmacia Latina

As I write this, my left eye is currently the size of a grapefruit and it's all red and itchy. I recently took some expired pills whose instructions are entirely in Spanish. I don't speak Spanish. Sadly, I've been here before.

Last January, I woke up with a swollen and itchy right eye. I called Cousin-Doctor who told me that I needed to get it checked out because "It's on the face." I'm not sure whether it being "on the face" meant something like, it's close to your brain and something could burst and cause it to catch on fire, or if it was like, don't mangle your best asset, but I figured either was worth my attention, especially the latter.


The dilemma was that I was new to a giant city and new to my insurance policy. I started out by doing what any true millennial would do. I turned to Google. People my age could be in the middle of getting stabbed in the throat by a maniac and, before calling the police, would crawl bloodily to the computer and Google “cauterizing a stab wound with kitchen appliances” or “fun bars near Richmond Avenue.” My Google search included something like:


After playing around with search terms, I located the nearest walk-in clinic, La Pharmacia Latina. So what if the name suggested I might need a translator? It took my insurance! I arrived to find myself in a small waiting room crammed with people coughing and hacking everywhere. As a natural germ-a-phobe, I was just trying not to come completely undone. I was actually convincing myself not to run out the door when a coughing child licked the door handle. That’s when I knew I would never be able to leave unless they had some emergency exit in the back.

Finally, when my name was called, I made my way to the back. In the patient room, I waited as several people in scrubs looked at my face and talked excitedly to one another in Spanish. You know its bad when one guy points at you and says something with the word “gringo” in it and then they all start laughing. Finally, they exited the room and a lady returned with a giant needle. Another bad sign.

She was amazing. I couldn’t even feel a thing. I was actually a bit worried that I hadn’t really had the shot. I tried to tell her how impressed I was by waiving my arms around in the air, pointing to the injection site on my butt, and then giving the umpire signal for “safe” in baseball in order to indicate no pain. She kinda just looked at me.


Then, to my horror, she took the used needle and stuck it into my chair like a pin cushion while she applied the bandages. Suddenly I wished I was not sitting on that chair. I cannot say with any real confidence that I don’t have aids right now.




When she was done I mumbled “gracias” and headed for the door. I bathed in their hand sanitizer at the counter before taking my pills, heading for the exit, and doing a strange dance to try to get the door open without touching the ebola handle. Eventually the swelling and itching subsided and I saved the pills in case of another similar situation. Now, as I sit here with one eye itching and stuck shut again, I am thankful for my forethought to stash some of this medication in order to avoid another trip to La Pharmacia Latina. So what if the pills have expired?

3 comments:

Camille said...

I hope you don't have AIDS, that would be bad.... So would having to possibly return to that clinic for medical attention.

Rachel Andoga said...

Jordie, I'm in Singapore this summer and I'll have you know I just read this entire thing aloud to my friend/roommate for the summer and we died laughing. You are the best and I hope your eye condition resolves itself without the use of any unsterilized needles.

Jeff said...

Ew Jordie, you are not a true millennial if you're using Internet Explorer and an MSN search bar.