See, it started with a family picnic, mine, not his. We all met at the lake. The kids were little, so this was not high on my list of fun ways to spend a summer afternoon. As a rule, by the time I got everyone ready to go, someone had already gotten dirty. Add to that the list of crap I had to tote along with us and the food I had to prepare, well let's just say a dental appointment might have been preferable. Nevertheless, off we went with a car load of kids and a very frazzled me.
It went as well as can be expected with the men standing around drinking beer and the women working their asses off getting the food out and rounding up hoards of wild children. The scene looked nothing like this lovely picture, but I want you to pay attention to it anyway.
The afternoon wore on. People ate, and ate again. Kids swam, sand was washed out of ass cracks, arguments between cousins were broken up and in general everyone enjoyed themselves, especially the aforementioned beer drinking men. Near dark we all disbanded and went home where I put some very tired and slightly sun-burned children to bed.
Sometime in the night, it hit me. I was horribly, violently ill. I equate it to seasickness as it came in waves. I vomited for hours and hours along with debilitating diarrhea that left me as weak as a kitten. The next day I could not get out of bed and when I hit the twenty-four hour mark with no improvement, in fact, getting worse, Bill took me to the emergency room.
It was very late at night as I recall. My mind was not clear at all and I'm sure I was severely dehydrated. Bill passed me off to the 'skilled professionals' and went to wait for the verdict.
Some of what happened is a blur and some things are so clear I wish they were blurred. The young doctor on staff looked like he was about sixteen and when he asked to preform a GYN examination my one fear was crapping all over him. At the same time I wondered if he'd ever seen a vagina up close and personal and why he wanted to see mine.
In any case they got me ready and with my legs in the stirrups and Dogie Houser's head barely visible between them, he got a bird's eye view of a twenty-six year old vagina that had given birth to four babies. Hang on, it gets worse, much worse.
That night I learned that apparently the wise-ass gene is the last to die, and I was dying. Dr. Youngster proceeded to examine me while I vomited to the side in a little plastic basin. Here's what he asked me.
"Mrs. MacFarlane, do you cheat on your husband?"
"Why, what do you have in mind?" immediately flew out of my mouth. See this is what comes from being married to a wise-ass for so many years. It just comes so naturally. After a while you can't stop it, even at deaths door.
"Does your husband cheat on you?" he continued.
"Not that I know of, why?" I responded.
"I believe you have Gonorrhea."
Mostly there was silence in the room, or perhaps I passed out. Soon I heard snickering from a couple of the nurses. Apparently, I'd become the 'case' of the night for suddenly all the staff felt compelled to find a reason to enter the room and add their two cents. One or two looked at me with sympathy in their eyes as I hyperventilated in complete and utter shock, but mainly I was the joke of the ER.
They gave me four massive shots of penicillin, which I'm now allergic to, thank you very much, and watched me to make sure I didn't so into anaphylactic shock. Finally they released me telling me the test results would be back in about a week and to check with my doctor. In the waiting room Bill rose and helped me to the car.
"What did they say?" he asked.
"You don't want to know," I growled back.
"Yes, I do," he insisted, puzzled at my attitude.
"They said I have Gonorrhea," I weakly screamed at him.
He laughed. Seriously, he laughed and said, "Idiots."
We went on home where I proceeded to torture him for the next seven days.
"Don't you think your taking this a little too far," she asked as she followed me to the bathroom as I raced to wash and spray everything off. Bill rolled his eyes as I passed him.
"You just watch the village," I hissed at her as I pointed my yellow glove in her face. "I want to know who's going to the doctor's and for what."
"Okay,okay," she sighed backing away. "Take it easy."
I can't tell you how many times I called my doctor's office that week demanding results. Finally he got on the phone with me.
"What's this all about?"
When I told him what happened, he laughed.
"Who told you that?" he asked.
"The doctor at the ER."
"Most of them don't know their ass from a hole in the ground," he insisted. "He probably wasn't even a doctor, maybe a resident. (Seriously, my doctor was old school and just so cool.) "Based on what you've told me it sounds like a case of food poisoning and the penicillin probably saved your life, even if it was a misdiagnosis. Now stop calling here. You're driving everyone crazy. I'll call you as soon as I get the test results."
"Okay," I said meekly.
Bill was standing next to me, his arms crossed.
"Get the results?" he asked.
"No, they aren't in yet."
"You, little girl, are going to feel so bad," he said, shaking his head.
I sprayed Lysol in his direction as he walked away.
In the end, I did feel bad. The results were negative. I think my Doc took manly pleasure in telling me that. He liked Bill. I felt bad for not trusting Bill. I felt bad that my entire house smelled like a giant lemon and the kids ran from me afraid of getting sprayed. I felt bad that my hands looked like shriveled old lady hands from wearing those gloves. I felt bad about everything.
Bill could have been a real jerk about it, but he wasn't. He just welcomed me back in our bed and said he was glad I felt better.
We did see a lawyer and the lawyer said we had a good case against the hospital. After all, they had no way of knowing if I was the kind of woman who would go home and shoot her husband instead of sanitizing him to death. We decided against, well really I did. It was a horrible episode in our lives and I just wanted to forget it, not relive it on the witness stand.
Later I found out I wasn't the only one who got sick. My sister in law and my sister both did. I think it had something to do with our penchant for potato salad.