I’m certain I’m dying. I feel like The Horta from “The Devil In The Dark” (*If you get the reference, you’re probably a nerd, btw). My back and arm look like someone double-tapped a freckled ginger in the brain stem then left his face on me. I’m sure I have leprosy, necrotizing fasciitis, or maybe even the Bubonic Plague. On my birthday in 1665, the first case of The Great Plague was recorded in London. There’s got to be a few pissed off ghosts out there somewhere. We grow posies in our garden every year but my medical shortsightedness stopped me from carrying them around in my pocket so now I’m doomed. Not because I have the Bubonic Plague, which I’m certain I do, but because I have to go to the doctor’s office. I hate doctors. Everyone hates doctors.

I’m not sure why people hate doctors. Because when they’re not golfing, driving fancy cars, or marrying gorgeous spouses, they do take the odd moment to help people. The only GP I’ve had that I ever really got along with was a short, East Indian woman who didn’t golf and whose husband I never met. From what I understand she sold her successful practice to go into Naturopathy which makes about as much sense to me as opening a chain of U-Brews in Salt Lake City.

I head out the door into a beautiful Vancouver day, more spring than winter. Why? To go the doctor’s. Yay.

I have a 10 o’clock appointment and I am on time. The waiting room is full and I chuckle a quiet “suckers” to myself as I stride to the desk to declare that I have arrived for my prescheduled, queue-jumping “appointment.” 25 minutes later,  I must stifle a disgruntled snort as the receptionist tells some poor sod that he should have made an appointment so he wouldn’t have to wait.

No one in here looks sick except for a parapellegic whose sinuses seem to have declared war on her. The others are mostly old people suffering from some “old person” ailment that I might have by the time I finally get to see the doctor. Most people sit quietly, periodically checking their watches. Most…

One character you’re bound to find in almost every Canadian city, but seems to flourish in West Vancouver, is the Grand British Dame. They always enounciate every word as though they’re telling the story about the time they “met the Queen.” This particular one, as she berates the Muslim women behind the desk, probably for reasons other than the wait, reminds me of Basil Fawlty’s nemesis, Mrs. Richards, sans the vase and intermittent hearing aid, but if you’re familiar with the episode, you’ll know what I mean.

35 minutes later and my back is driving me nuts. I didn’t put anything on it this morning so that the doctor could see my blooms in all their glory. It burns and itches. It burns and itches like those times when you’re sitting by the phone trying to remember the phone number of the last girl you slept with.

40 minutes have past and after being paged as “Basahn Campbell”, I’m sitting in the examination room. I notice a stack of script pads. Shouldn’t really leave those lying around I think to myself as I notice the shelves are packed with boxes of syringes. This would be somebody’s gold mine. I consider making a joke about it when the doctor comes in, just to break the ice, but think better of it when I remember that I’m here to get my back checked out, not get the bum’s rush because I know just a little too much about drug seeking behaviour.

As it turns out, I don’t have leprosy, or necrotizing fasciitis, or even the Plague. I can’t say I’m disappointed but, as could be expected, my inherent Romanticism pervades all aspects of my life. Turns out the mosaic de yuck creeping across my back is Psoriasis.

*Psoriasis (pronounced /səˈraɪəsɪs/) is a chronic, non-contagious disease that affects mainly the skin. It is currently suspected to be autoimmune in origin.It commonly causes red, scaly patches to appear on the skin, although some patients have no dermatological symptoms.

Apparently it can be caused by genitics (thanks Dad), smoking (thanks Dad), and alcohol consumption (thanks Dad). I get a script for two creams: one to be used in the morning, the other to be used at night. According to the doctor I should be back to my usual white pasty self in 10 days or so. He also said that I should try to get as much sun on the affected areas as I possibly can. Good thing for me the Winter Olympics are coming in three weeks, otherwise it might be snowing.

Not being able to scratch an itch for 10 days might just drive me insane. Better leave Poe on the bookshelf for the next few days just to be safe.


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