i’m standing at the pharmacy counter, feeling like megadeath and buying my prescriptions. And when i say “megadeath”, i mean as in death-warmed-over/undead/please-kill-me-now dead. Not Megadeth, the awesome metal band, which, despite their whining about how Metallica stole all their stuff, always make me want to jump in a mosh pit and bang my head everytime i hear them. Luckily for me, there are no potentially life-threatening, limb-breaking mosh pits in my living room and i already bang my head so many times without even trying that i probably shouldn’t do it intentionally.
The pharmacist lady pauses dramatically as she is ringing up the sudafed, which i had, previously in this transaction, learned is now “behind the counter” medicine. She looks meaningfully at me. i stare back, bleary eyed and snotty, and wonder if i just missed something. Did she say something? My ears are so plugged she might have. i’ve been listening to the ocean without the use of a big shell for 20 days now.
“What?” i ask and start coughing again.
“I need to see your license?” she repeats. i think.
“Oh.” i fumble in my purse, looking for my license. i find it and hand it to her, painfully aware i had just wiped my nose with that hand not 15 seconds earlier. WHY aren’t i one of those totally put-together ladies that carries tissue in her purse? What AM i carrying in this purse? i can never find anything useful, yet it always seems to be full. i know there are at least 5 lipsticks in there, (even though i haven’t worn makeup since i began this road to virus-hell) and probably half a dozen pens. In case i come across a pen emergency. In fact, if i ever am in an accident where someone needs one of those emergency tracheotomies, and there’s no hospital in sight, i am READY! i’ve seen M.A.S.H.! i can do this!
Back to the exchange at hand and terribly embarrassed by how grossly mucus-y i am, i try to make conversation to distract from the fact i think some snot got on that card i just handed her.
“Is this because..you know…the whole meth thing?”
“Yep.” she answers as she types my driver’s license number into her computer.
i must have blanked out again, because i suddenly realize she is staring at me.
“Huh?” i intelligently ask.
“Swipe your license?” she responds, now looking a little concerned.
“Swipe?” i look down at the pin pad on the counter and sure enough, it is asking me to swipe my license. i do so, and then a bunch of words appear on the screen, with the choices of “Accept” or “Decline”.
“Is this a promise that i won’t make meth?” i ask. i am just SO funny when near death.
“Yes.” She smiles. “Don’t make meth.”
“Ok, i won’t.” i promise, and tap “Decline”. Friendly Pharmicist Lady looks puzzled down at her computer then back at me.
“You aren’t going to make meth, right?” she asks.
“Right!” i answer, somewhat proudly. “DE-cline that! No meth here!”
She taps away at her keyboard then points back at the pin pad.
“Then I think you want to ACCEPT the terms and conditions here,” and she points to the screen which once again shows some words and then the two buttons, “Accept” and “Decline”.
“Oh!” i exclaim loudly, because i can’t hear my own voice through my plugged ears. “Did i just promise to make meth??” The little old lady impatiently waiting behind me sighs audibly.
“Umm..yes. I guess you did. You DON’T want to, correct?” She asks, now sounding confused.
“NO!” i attempt a jaunty laugh but it comes out like a donkey braying. “i am definitely NOT making meth today! i just want to breathe through my nose again. No way do i want to run around town on my bicycle losing my teeth and scandalizing the family out of their money and gradually ending up homeless with some crack-head girlfriend begging for change to get my next fix!” i may have channeled my inner Sid and Nancy there. (Gary Oldman ROCKED that role!)
“Oh…Okayyyy,” Nice Lady responds and points back to the screen. “Then select “Accept” and we can get this exchange all wrapped up.”
i get a sense of maybe-I-should-hit-the-panic-button-under-this-counter vibe from Friendly Pharm Lady, so i tap “Accept” and fumble through the rest of the NOT-meth process, take my grocery bag of drugs and head home.
WHERE. NOTHING. CHANGES.
Not for days. In fact, despite the mini pharmacy i now have in my bathroom cabinet, i get WORSE. i notice Friday night, of Memorial Day weekend, that my eye hurts. The Man says something to me and i turn to look at Him. Suddenly, He jumps back and says, “What is in your eye?”
i head to the bathroom and take a look in the mirror. My eyeballs are blood red and something white and soft and squishy and…OMGITSPUS! i have PUS oozing out of my eye! i wipe it away and 5 minutes later, it is back. By now, the Man looks like He is going to gag and i’m pretty sure i am too.
i have now hit rock bottom of the HELL that has become my life for the past 22 days.
It’s obvious this virus is winning the war with my immune system, who appears to have jumped aboard the last ‘copter out of this damn jungle and left my body to be ransacked by the Superbug-To-End-All-Superbugs. If there were a nuclear war, all that would be left would be roaches and this virus. i imagine a tiny virus dictator, dressed in a full military style jacket bedecked with medals and what i always think look like rope curtain tie-backs, twirling his ominous mustache, looking over the wasteland that is my inner system and cackling with glee while all my whiny white blood cells are running for their lives.
THIS can’t be a thing. i’m calling for backup.
i dial Ask-A-Nurse.
And it is there, on the phone with a very sympathetic and consoling Joseph, that i learn that sometimes when we are very sick and become overloaded with mucus it can exit out of our bodies through all the possible ways. Including? Our eyeballs.
Yes. MUCUS CAN COME OUT OF YOUR EYEBALLS.
And there’s something you can never un-know.
After the shouting and gagging stopped, and i could speak again, Joseph set me up with a phone appointment with the next available doc, who was also very sympathetic and consoling. AND prescribed some eye antibiotics for my pinkeye. Which, i’m pretty sure i thought was just a kid thing. Like, kids from the dirty homes? The ones who also showed up once every so often with lice and had to go home? i always felt sorry for those kids but somehow KNEW those things would never happen to me, because, you know….i wasn’t like THEM.
But, here i am. A full grown woman who is hope, hope, hoping these 14 meds work so she doesn’t have to tell her boss she has pinkeye and can’t come to work. AGAIN.
Happy Memorial Day to all of you out there. i hope your barbecues are delicious and your flags wave high.
And i hope that none of you are spending the holiday with virus dictators and mucus eyeballs.