Retail clerck, customer service, and medicine are some of the activities I won't perform to make a living. And I wouldn't do them just for suitability reasons: I'm shy, antisocial, and scatterbrain. On the opposite, I enjoy being the customer. I admit I dislike the sales clerks, but I'm usually willing to spend some time to pay them attention. As for the customer service folks, I try to be polite, but I have a great time with the health people.
During my last trip to Puerto Rico, Lorna and I visited Angeles, her friend, at her parent's. Don Rodrigo Pratdesaba, her father, invited us to go to the house terrace -pretty nice place- while Lorna chatted with her chum, but the conversation between them had an abrupt end once Angeles' dad learned about my country of origin. He promptly sent her to uncork a Chilean Cavernet Sauvignon and then we took over the conversation. Mr. Pratdesaba, Guatemalan by birth and doctor in medicine by trade, told me about his admiration for Chile, its landscapes, and specially its wines. He mentioned his Chilean friends, his trips to Chile, the way he learned to dance Cueca while in Spain, and the profound contempt he feels towards the military dictatorships whom even took his brother's life in Guatemala. In addition to all these coincidences we incorporated another one; story telling. Don Rodrigo recently released the third edition of his first book, "La Mordida y otras historias", of which he gave me an autographed copy. When I left his house, I felt glad and praised. I also admired the humbleness of this man who has so many amazing experiences. Later, Lorna, Angeles, and I went to La Parguera, and I took the opportunity to recover myself from my drunkeness by drinking Piña Colada, and while they kept chitchatting, I meditated about the amusing conversation Dr. Pratdesaba and I maintained. That was when I discovered my affinity with the health workers.
When I lived in Chile I befriended Dr. Vasquez, perhaps the oncologist with the best reputation in Chile, and his wife, Mrs. Panizza, who was (or is) the Chief Nurse of some department of an infant hospital located in El Llano, near Grand Avenue. I also met Dr. Alvarez, gastroenterologist, who told me the story about his college whom, while treating a lady for infertility, concluded that she was physically and psychologically a woman, and genetically -due to the chromosomes- a man, and her ovaries were in reality a pair of underdeveloped testicles. Telling the husband's patient that he was married to a man was tremendously troublesome. Here in the Iunaited Esteits I spent too many hours listening to the stories of Marielle, an OB/GYN nurse whose eyes, nose, and hands have seen, smelled, and touched the most bizarre things one might imagine. Israel, her husband, also performed as RT and experienced situations worthy of Ripley's.
But not only paying attention to their stories amuses me. I also love being the patient. I like that questioning bullshit and the analyses. It's exciting. I think it is because when one is a kid and get sick, our parent treat us like the a member of the Royalty. It may also be due to the sadomasochist episodes I suffer. I enjoy watching the needles penetrating my skin and the blood flowing through catheters and syringes. Indeed, whenever someone take a sample, I wonder what's the red wine concentration in my blood. And I guess it's plentiful because the Puerto Rican mosquitoes prefers me instead of my wife because of the outstanding quality of the wines I have drank.
From all the medical attentions I have received, there are three remarkable ones. The first one is related to Uncle Maury, a Rambo-type amateur quack whose combat arsenal includes knifes he sterilized by heating them with red-hot coal. Every time my fellow cured some infected wound I recalled him about his mom and then I felt guilty because she's my beloved grandma. He also provided with medical care to a guy known as the Mad-man Tony, a former soldier discharged because of his mental issues. This dude suffered severe burns after his drunk friend fell asleep inside their tent and forgot putting out a candle. Tony was very impressed of my uncle's skills. He even stated that the nurse did a poor job compared to my uncle's, and when he inquired about how he got those skills, my uncle revealed his burnt torso; a memory left by my grandpa when he was 2-yr-old.
My next experience occurred in Puerto Rico during a soccer game. I disputed the ball with a skinny guy, and I pushed him with my chest, but he stood my impact and I ended up with my sternum injured. I felt the pain for a while till my woman took me to the hospital. The first chick I talked to performed the customary procedures: questions, blood pressure, etc. The next chick was the nurse in charge of the business. She asked more questions and sent me to another nurse to inoculate me some painkillers. When this nurse let me know she will pinch my buttock, I took my pant down to the knees and I said, "Take it. It's all yours". Lorna was there with me, so the nurse looked at her and responded, "No. I'll just take just this little bit. The rest is hers." Then, I was helped by a black chick whom, because of her accent, I inferred she was from the French Antilles. She diagnosed a dislocated shoulder which didn't make sense to me since I felt the pain in my chest, but she was a black chick, and I didn't care about the diagnosis. After that I was taken to a room where she, along with two other nurses, struggled during a long time while they put some sort of harness on me, the only spare harness, and it was a kid size. When the Doctor on duty came by and noticed my orgasmic-like face, she said any man would like to be in my shoes and laughed. She continued with the conversation, and after she learned I'm Chilean, she wondered how come I married a Puerto Rican. Before I responded, she slapped her butt and said, "I bet it's because of the Puerto Rican banner, right?" I was left with no answers, so all I could said was, "Yeah. It's a huge banner!"
My last adventure was shadier. For an unknown reason, I started feeling a pain in my right testicle. I headed to the university's health services, which for my damned luck is run by women, to check my aching nut. After the blood pressure revision, I entered into a room where I found an advanced-aged, maternal-aspect nurse. She asked the usual questions and requested me to talk about the reason of my visit. I realized the lady felt a little uncomfortable. After all, this is a "Christian" institution. She asked if I preferred to be reviewed either by a man or a woman, and I responded that I didn't care. That was the excuse she needed to get away from the room. She stated there was a more knowledgeable professional and order me to put a XXXL size short on. It turned out that the "more knowledgeable professional" was another nurse, an intense-green eyes, younger one, although her white-hair bob could seem the opposite. She read my clinical profile and began with the interrogation,
—Are you allergic to any medicine?
—Not that I know.
—And are you currently taking any one?
—Just a painkiller here and there when I have headaches.
—Do you use any kind of drug?
—I'm addicted to caffeine.
—No. I quit the habit 4 years ago or so.
—A beer or a glass of wine... occasionally.
The last three questions were followed by a check mark somewhere in the clinical profile.
—Have you undergo any surgery?
—Do you suffer from any disease?
—Except for frequent headaches, no. I haven't been diagnosed with any disease so far.
Next, we moved to the significant question which were not as fluent as the previous ones.
—How long have you been feeling this ache?
—About a month, ballpark.
—Was it hit?
—I don't believe so...
—Do you wear tight underwear?
—...every now and then... but the ache persists even when I'm naked.
An uncomfortable silence arose, and the conversation turned into a sight exchange. I felt like she was wondering, "how the hell do I ask him?", and I mentally encouraged her, "ask whatever you want, baby!" Finally, she opened her mouth,
—... And what can you say about your sexual life? —her eyes were stuck on my wedding ring.
—Mhhh... specifically... what would you like to know? —I looked at her eyes.
A series of potentially obscene questions with its respective answers flowed throughout my head. She only stuttered and gesticulated with her hands and shoulders. As for me, it was clear that she inferred I was not a virgin because of the ring, although in places like this one there always exist the fundamentalist bunch. The situation seemed embarrassing and complex, but I was having so much fun. Nonetheless, I decided to relieve her and stated that I've been married for 4 years, I had no and have no subsidiaries, I passed as clean as a little white princess every test performed to me since I fled Chile, and all my documents, including the risonjuay, are in order. The lady recovered the breath but decided not to check my testicle. Instead, she recommended me another doctor who found nothing wrong and diagnosed stress. Fortunately, the pain was gone a couple of days later.