It's annoying to be wheeled into a hospital room when you know nothing's wrong with you.
Why I'm here: Have You Ever Fainted? All About Mine.
The normal stuff is happening: tubes shoved into my arms, pads with wires plopped and taped, arm cuffed and hugged. I'm handed a menu.
A doctor walks in and announces he's not a doctor. That's okay. I'm not a patient. He's a student. A hospitalist.
He wants my entire life story. I tell him. He leaves. I enthralled him, or so my significant other tells me, who doesn't leave.
The hospitalist returns, towing along another hospitalist and a real doctor. My team, they tell me. They start yacking, sort of taking turns, and it's just like House, MD. I'm expecting Hugh Laurie to come limping in, throwing things around and yanking tubes out of me and accusing me of I don't know what -- and then having some sort of epiphany.
None of this happens. My team drones on.
Everybody finally leaves. I'm alone. It's dark, shadowy. The night nurse enters. She reminds me of a character from The Twilight Zone: perfectly coiffed, old-time makeup and lipstick, moves confidently, briskly. If she didn't move she'd be a mannequin. I'm waiting for her to say, "Room for one more, honey," and wheel me down to the morgue.
Early next morning. I grab my smartphone and search orthostatic hypotension to find out there's a good chance certain prescription drugs cause it. I search for a medication I take right before bed, Bingo. Recent studies link fainting to the med. If there's a culprit, that's the culprit.
My team is back. The hospitalist who interviewed me drones on again, and suggests I stop taking the drug I'd already decided not to take anymore. Finally some drama in this Soap: the real doctor overrules him, saying I should continue taking the drug I'm never taking again and stop taking another med instead.
Dilemma. Do I cause tons of trouble and tell the real doctor she's wrong and the student doctor is right and that I'm going to completely ignore her? Or do I smile and nod like a passive, unquestioning clod so I can get out of this place as soon as possible?
I smile and nod like a passive, unquestioning clod. She signs the release form.
The next day I get an email saying my Health Summary/Continuity of Care Document is available online. It's no summary. I scroll through 15 pages of charts and graphs and very important results. Nothing is overlooked. I now have all the information there is about my bones, muscles, organs, fluids, chemicals and whatever else happens to be roiling and pumping and galvanizing and sloshing inside of me. It's a narcissist's dream. Those ignorant Ancient Greeks had no idea what "Know Thyself" really means.
I keep seeing the word unremarkable. I figure out it's med-speak for normal. At age 64, after abusing my mind and body in every way imaginable throughout my life, I'd say that anything normal is remarkable.
A week later, an appointment with my regular doctor: He snips the stitches, agrees with me that I should stop taking the medication I've already stopped taking, and continue to take the medication the real doctor in the hospital told me not to take anymore.
On the way out, I notice this on a table. Probably for an erection that lasts more than four hours:
I'm glad I only fainted.