It started with the chills and a pathetic, little cough. Four feverish days, sleepless nights, and unending hours of suffering later I was the sickest person in the doctor's office. I had it all: fever, body aches, chills, sweats, stiffness, headache, congestion, the most powerful death-rattle cough and, sadly, diarrhea.
There were moments when I truly wanted it all to end--not the least of them occurring during my visit to the doctor. I was medication-free (not that it helped anyway!) because I didn't want any of my suffering to be masked when the doctor looked at me. I wanted to be sure that she was fully aware of my torment and, subsequently, very willing to give me some killer meds that would give me the sweet release of slumber. My fever was over 101, my eyesight was blurry, my nose so congested I was convinced my whole head had turned into a solid, and that damn cough wouldn't give me a moment's peace.
It was the cough that led to the afore-mentioned deathwish. I was waiting for the doctor after having a deceptively sweet medical assistant try to prepare me for mummification. I know she wasn't just swabbing me to test for influenza--she was trying to scramble my brains and pull them out through my nose. As I sat there on the exam table, fully grasping why people used to die so often from illnesses such as mine and admiring my own bravery in the face of such a daunting plague, the coughing fit to end all coughing fits struck.
While I was suffocating from the fury of the fit, the worst thing imaginable happened: I leaked. Yes, you heard me. I leaked. I coughed so hard that my innocent bodily fluids were forced violently in every direction--some of that between my legs, through my underwear, my jeans, and onto the lovely white paper used to make sure patients are sitting on a sterile exam table. I jumped up in a panic to see if there was some way I was mistaken. I was not. This was it. The end. I was either going to be struck dead from this horrid illness or the mortification of just having entered the Depends era of my life.
I looked around like a lunatic searching for a corner in a round room. How could I dispose of the evidence? I grabbed some tissues and tried dabbing at and then covering up the evidence. Out damn spot! But to no avail--I needed to do something more drastic. Before I could rip off the paper and wad it up small enough so that no one would notice it hadn't been in the tiny wastepaper basket before, there was a knock on the door. I leaped back onto the table.
One negative influenza result and one positive diagnosis of pneumonia later, I was once again alone in the room. With my shame. I fiercely clutched my three blessed prescriptions and, head hanging low, shimmied down from the exam table. I looked at the defiant, little, wet spot. A strangely rational vice in my head told me that this was probably not the worst thing ever found on an exam table paper. With a deep breath, a gasping cough, and a defeated sense of resignation I threw a tissue onto the table and left the room.