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Well, contrary to what we were told the world didn't end. Or if it did end, it would seem that the afterlife is an awful lot like the current life, which is kind of disappointing. Either way, I hate having my time wasted with doomsday distractions complete with a full description of how much and in what horrible ways I will be suffering when it does. Even Chicken Little had the courtesy to just say the sky was falling and not go into detail. It should be enough just to say the word 'apocalypse', which pretty much covers everything you need to know without having to carry on about horsemen, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, fire and brimstone falling from the sky, and whatnot. Way too much information.
So, the world didn't end, but I was sicker than I have been in a few decades, which felt just as bad at the time. My darling boy brought home a disease from school, (the font of all wretched diseases), and demonstrated his faith in the depth of our bond by sharing it with me. While I generally like to get as much from him as I can, there are occasions when I sincerely wish he would keep things to himself and this was one of them. The plague-like illness started innocently enough in our heads with all the symptoms of spring allergies. No big deal. That is until it made our ears horribly painful and began it's insidious migration down to our chests. We hacked, we coughed, we felt like someone had parked 4 wheel drive trucks on our chests. We had chills, we had fevers, we were miserable. I'm not a big fan of doctors and I rarely go and see one, but I could tell that things were progressing pretty rapidly into dangerous respiratory territory, so I called and made us appointments in our local clinic.
Did I say how much I hate going to the doctor? I didn't want to infect anyone else and certainly didn't want to get any more infected than I was, so sitting in a crowded waiting room with a bunch of other people was miserable. When we finally made it into an examining room we had a ridiculously long and uncomfortable wait made even more torturous by our symptoms, which caused us to pretty much decimate an entire box of tissues. Then, the worst possible thing happened – we got a health professional with a sense of humor.
He bounded into the room like an annoying puppy, introducing himself cheerfully and behaving as if we couldn't help but be thrilled to spend a little quality time with him. My head started to pound. He started by asking us about our symptoms. Evidently, the fact that we were hacking like coal miners and blowing our noses wasn't enough.
“Feeling under the weather, are we?” he asked brightly.
“No,” I answered, “we aren't under the weather – the weather has run us over with a tank. We are sick.” He gave a little chuckle and bounced onto his little wheeled stool. “Well, I wouldn't worry about it too much since the world is going to end in two days.”
My son snorted and I gave Dr. Happy the evil eye. I should say I tried to give him the evil eye. Since my eyes were red-rimmed and watery with dark circles under them, I can't be sure how successful I was at it. I may have ended up giving him the fish-eye instead.
“Thanks for the apocalypse update, Doc, but just in case its only an end of the world fire drill could you give us something?” I asked.
“I could, but I have commitment problems. I'll need to poke around a little first.” he chirped.
Poking around meant looking down our throats, sticking things in our ears, and listening to our lungs, which we endured with Spartan stoicism. Then he plopped down into his stool again and started writing things on his little prescription pad.
“You have a disease going around that is carried by white footed mice,” he pronounced with a smile. “Its really nasty.”
White footed mice? Really? Not rats, not birds, not swine...white footed mice? Was he kidding me? I had to conclude not, since he launched into a happy speech about the disease and how people can die from it. The jolly physician went on to comment with a chuckle on the amusing irony of being done in by a creature to whom we humans have been deliberately giving horrible diseases in laboratories for about 100 years. I told him that in my present condition wryly amusing irony was way to subtle for me to grasp. He handed me a bunch of prescriptions, told me to take them exactly as written since I had signs of pneumonia, and gave me a pat on the back.
“I'd give you some post-apocalyptic medication but I don't have any,” he said from the doorway. “On the other hand, you're awfully grumpy. Maybe I should give you a salve for burns just in case.”
He laughed at his little joke, waved his fingers at us, and skipped off to his next victim. Gotta love those funny doctors.
On the way to the pharmacy I couldn't help thinking that I would rather go out in a giant planet consuming apocalypse than be taken out by mice. It just seemed so undignified. And if I got to choose where I ended up after Ragnarok, I wanted it to be someplace without doctors who interned at Comedy Central.
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