I'm a terrible person. Like a suave, metrosexual player I drew you in, promising the world (blog entries), raising waxed brows with pleasure as you supported me (read my blog entries), and then *POOF,* I was gone, without even a text or goodbye (or blog entries). But wait, it’s not like that, baby. I love you. And I’ve got a suave, metrosexual player excuse for going MIA on you: Herpes.
Okay, not exactly herpes. But for a hot (burning, tingling) second I was thought it was.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to devolve into some TMI “girls gone gyno” nightmare entry. All the problems were above the belt....above the mouth even. Allow me to explain.
Woke up with wicked case of why-the-fuck-does-my-nose-hurt-syndrome, known in scholarly circles as WTFDMNHS. A superficial (me, mirror, overhead lighting) scan of the area in question revealed nothing out of the ordinary save for giant pores (damn you, Mom) and that bump on the bridge of my nose which makes me look like the old Ashley Simpson (damn you again, Mom)...problems, but not outright causes of WTFDMNHS.
I spackled the face, took two Advil for the pain and a Benedryl for the itching and headed, groggy, to work.
I also made sure to poke at Ground Zero with my index finger like a complete and utter child for the rest of the day. (“Does this still hurt? FUCK, yes.” “How about now? FUUUUCK, yes.” “Okay, what aboutnow?”) Night came, went to sleep.
Dawn. Woke to throbbing pain in right nostril. Slight fever, aches, headache. Second superficial mirror scan revealed swelling, redness and what can only be described as...leaking. Like an old hooptie at a junkyard, I was leaking something from the nose, something the color of which indicated it should never leak from any nose, despite the leaky nature of noses.
* Full disclosure: I’ve got a chronic illness which weakens my immune system and causes various problems. It’s not HIV/AIDS, but in the Lupus/MS family, so I do have to be as careful as those patients about dealing with infections early or they can get out of control.*
Point is, I’ve encountered enough immune freak shows to know a staph infection when I see one. And I saw one, UP my goddamned faucet nose.
Having just moved to NYC, leaving my family doctor behind, I called my insurance provider, found a doc in the area they’d cover and headed in to nab some antibiotics before I started looking like the Elephant Man.
Here’s where The Herp comes in.
After waiting in a midtown office for over an hour, the doc called me in. I opened my mouth to say, “Hey, I’ve got ____, get staph infections all the time, this one’s in the nose, how about some Cipro, medicine man?” He strolled over, looked up the nose and said those words which send chills down the spines of everyone with a set of genitals.
“You have herpes.”
Um....nose herpes? Wait, WHAT?!?!
“Are you sure, sir? I don’t want to offend you but I’ve had a lot of---”
“It’s herpes.” A script for Valtrex and Zovirax cream appeared and I was bustled out the door.
“But wait, what about the fever? And the LEAKING? Can you give me anythi--”
“NEXT!” said the nurse.
Um, fuck my life.
Didn’t make it to dawn. At 3am, nose throbbing, dizzy and nauseous, I returned to the mirror. Something resembling a crystallized snowflake from Hell was now living in the nose.
Oh God, I’M A MUTANT!!
I made eye contact with my mutant self, fully expecting to see the beginning of my no doubt Kafka-like transformation into a dung beetle, and was met by two bright pink eyes. MY two bright pink eyes.
OH MY GOD, I AM TRANSFORMING INTO A LEAKING, RED-EYED HELL SPAWN!
By noon I was back with that doctor. I showed him the pink, crusty eyes. I pointed to the chrysalis residing in the nose. I told him I felt like someone beat me with a stick.
“STAPH!” I said.
“HERPES!” he said. “Keep using the cream.”
CUT TO DAY FIVE:
After following doctor’s orders, I look like THIS GUY.
(Note: picture that guy dragging ass to work everyday in a pair of leggings, an over sized tunic and a series of face-hiding hats and Jackie O sunglasses.)
It’s now Friday. The itching, burning and leaking has increased daily. I haven’t slept in days. I lay awake at night in tears with packages of frozen peas and carrots on my face to numb the seared piece of fois gras it is fast and painfully becoming.
At dawn, I have the total meltdown. I call Alex, sobbing, for the first time in a long while, squeak and screech an incoherent explaination of my mutation into a Proboscis monkey, then beg him to pick me up at a train station in New Jersey to take me to my old doctor before the transformation is complete and I have to be shipped off to a zoo laboratory for study. Alex agrees, because he’s a merciful soul who knows I have no other way of getting there...and one with a morbid curiosity about what I must look like on the other end of that phone line.
Two hours later, I’m sitting in a family office in suburban New Jersey, worshipping the feet of the office manager who squeezed me in as the doctor’s final appointment before he left for vacation, and not flinching when she goes, “Jesus, you look like shit.” (Or a shit-slinging Proboscis monkey, maybe?)
FINALLY, Dr. Hottie McHotHot (aka, Dr. Anisko, truly one of the tri-state’s best, and truly one of the hottest older men I’ve ever had the pleasure to wear a paper examination gown in front of) is seated in front of me, brows furrowed as he peers into the now impassible netherworld that is my nose.
“The New York doctor says it’s herpes,” I sob.
“Well, dear, I’m not one to discredit other doctors, but I’ve never seen any case of herpes that looks like this.”
“What...w-what is it?” I’m milking the drama now, wanting to swoon into his strong, medical arms and have him revive me with smelling salts. I wish I had worn a corset and a bustled dress.
“It looks like a classic staph infection,” he delivers. “Which has spread into both eyes and the rest of your face because you need antibiotics. But it looks like we’re catching it right before it gets really ugly, so we’re lucky, aren’t we?”
(insert long trail of hysterical expletives here)
SO. After some ass-kicking antibiotics, rest, pain killers, a ton of vitamins and more fluids than I’ve ever wanted to drink, I’m pretty much on the mend. I no longer look like a primate, just myself. I'm ready to get back to blogging. It takes me a long time to heal, so I may be slow and lame at first, but I promise to improve as soon as the staph exits the building.
In the meantime, you might want to avoid my the first doctor, Dr. Michael Aziz, to prevent a monkey-face like mine.
And if you’re looking for a check-up with a hot doc, nab a Jersey Transit ticket and head west for Dr. Andrew Anisko. Alex will pick you up at the station.
PS: Dear CIGNA Health Care providers, thanks for suggesting that first guy....and yes, I'm being sarcastic.