Monday, March 22, 2010

For Interrogation Techniques the CIA Should Consult Allergists

It’s been proven by an actual scientist, a real M.D. that I am allergic to Tennessee. This is not exclusive to Tennessee. I’m reasonably sure that I was also allergic to Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Alaska and every state in which I’ve lived. I know the moment that made the internist wash her hands of me and send me to the allergist. One snowy morning in January I turn up at her office on the verge of anaphylaxis and beg them into treating me instead of sending me to the ER. Those in the waiting room that day had to be baffled if not amused by me. I was scratching and clawing at myself so much I know they had to be thinking I was either coming off a high of some sort illegal drug, or I had a disease for which I should really be put in my own room. Thus I was sent to the allergist.

For women, if we know we are going to spent some portion of a doctor visit, either wearing paper or even less our “Cute Quotient” must be at a certain level to be able to do this. Ladies, you know what I’m saying. A low self esteem, bad hair, feeling fat day is the wrong day for a visit of this sort. Luckily for me, my “Cute Quotient” is in the “somewhat high” range that day. My hair was looking good –skinny jeans were fitting well. I’m feeling ever so plucky and witty. I’m ready!

This was a snowy day in the “Greater Tri-State Area.” Cold, wet, gloppy snow was coming down with a loud “thud” on windshields and foreheads. Upon entering the clinic my “Cute Quotient” immediately fell five points when the staff laughed out loud at all the gloppy snow on my ever so cute hair. GRRRRRR.

After a lengthy interview with a nurse whose hair seemed too highlighted in too many colors and whose lipstick and scrubs seemed to match too well for me to take her seriously, the real fun began. But back to the nurse, I’m frightful she may have gone to a college that (I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP) requires no clinical skills to graduate with a nursing degree. I hear the advert for the “school” on the radio.
After donning the dreaded paper shirt (“Cute Quotient” down again) she enters with a tray of what looks like 47 not so little needles. A tray of veritable poison dart cocktails mixed especially for my discomfort. Then ever so nonchalantly, she sticks me in the back with 67 needles!

Here’s where it gets interesting and by interesting I mean agonizing. Before leaving the room for me to “relax” for 20 minutes to “see” if I react to any of the 125 needle sticks she puts in a video of “How to Dust Proof Your Home.” As soon as she left the room I wanted to tie my legs in a knot and set myself on fire, and THAT was just from watching the video!

To say my back itched and burned is like saying that putting our hand in a pool of lava “might” cause minor burning and skin irritation. Dropping the blow-dryer in the bathtub has the “potential” to cause electrocution. I’m convinced that getting a massage by an angry Tasmanian devil would have been pleasurable compared to this.

Should the CIA be in the market for “Enhanced Interrogation Technique” ideas, they should look into allergy testing the GITMO detainees. Believe me, if I had any, ANY intelligence I would have given it up in exchange for some Cort-Aid. Seriously, if they think Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has any more information; bring on the 79 needles.

The “Nurse” comes in to check on me, and I say in an effervescent and breezy fashion, “I’m fine! This! I can barely feel it!” I’m thinking of the “Cute Quotient” again. Since I apparently did not react enough to many of the 214 needles, they had to put several in my arm. That way I got to watch as my arm swelled and changed color as I thought of ways I could remove my own arm to stop the infernal itching.

When it came time to “read” my back, the “nurse” had to bring in extra people to look at me. She (and the rest of the staff) had not seen “anyone’s back light up like that before.” – “Cute Quotient” nearing zero.

Finally the doctor comes in. I wish he would have just slapped in square in the face instead of telling me what he did. He explained to me that my “crooked nose” and “dark eye circles” are due to allergies – “Cute Quotient” is in the negative zone.

I shuffle out of the clinic feeling small and quite itchy with a booklet of prescriptions aiming to make me not so allergic to Tennessee. In the end I may be not allergic but I will be broke.

I’ll bet all those GITMO detainees get all the Zyrtec they need for free. I wonder if they have any room for me down there.

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