immediate environment. The windowless exam room lent itself to my sense that I was slovenly in that it was sterile. I took in what little was there – the gray-blue walls, the examination table with its obligatory white paper sheeting, a metal sink, and a chair.
After what was a twenty minute wait, the medical assistant walked in the room. I was wearing my now brown beige cargo pants and beige shirt – I looked like I’d been on Safari. Add to this, he was young and cute. If I’d been younger, single, and cleaner I would have hit on him.
I first regaled him with stories about our adventure thus far, then I zoned in and told him my chief complaint. That’s what they call the immediate problem in the medical world. I told him that when I pulled the tick out of my back, it came with a chunk of skin. I added that I dropped it on the asphalt in front of the convenience store and squished it with my boot. I then, for emphasis, lifted my manure stained boot and stomped it on the floor. The thirty something year old remained wide eyed and listened as I talked. We then conversed about what a great place Alaska is, and he said (as do most people) that he someday would like to go there. I told him about our place and said he was most welcome. I added that there are no ticks in Alaska. He smiled and said thank you.
He took notes as I talked, then when I was finished, he said that the physician’s assistant would be in shortly. My eyes grew wide when he strode in the door because he was even cuter than the assistant. I was initially at a loss for words – no problem – the assistant had told him my story.
I, without being asked, lifted my shirt and showed him the itchy spot on my lower back. He looked at, but did not touch it. I felt like I was in a Peanuts cartoon, and akin to Pigpen, that I was surrounded by a dirt cloud.
The PA alleviated my fears by telling me that he did not think there had been any Lyme’s Disease outbreaks in Idaho but just in case, he was prescribing a single dose of an antibiotic. He further said I was to take this dose at dinner, and for the next few days stay out of the sun. Oh yeah, and I was supposed to take the drug at dinner time but refrain from eating any calcium-based foods for the next twenty four hours.
I didn’t go into it; that is, how there was no way I could stay out of sun, what with me living the semi-nomadic lifestyle and all. And, furthermore, we were to have cheese with our dinner. Rather, I brushed my now dirty, stringy hair out of my eyes and said thank you. Oh, and if I got a rash or came down with a fever, I was to go immediately to the hospital.
I instead wrote his orders in my notebook then followed the P.A. out the door, into the semi-dark waiting room. Outside, the sun was shining brightly. I decided after picking up my prescription that I’d later figure out how to deal with all the medical ins and outs.
Next: 165. 6/16/19: One Month