Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Margins

Not my chest X-ray, though an even trade for mine. This one shows a pretty nice right-middle-lobe pneumonia. Mine's RLL. The nice people at the urgent care center let me see the pictures. Now I know why I've been feeling like crap.

The nice urgent care people also did bloodwork, gave me some nebulizer treatments, and shot Solumedrol into my arm. Lucky me. The poor little boy in the next room got sutures. In his lip. I wish I could have helped. Poor little guy...

I took my prescriptions to a local chain pharmacy. In the parking lot there was a man fixing his truck. Here in Phoenix any open area, preferably with a little shade, can become an out-of-doors auto repair shop.

The woman at the door was collecting money to buy pet food for a local no-kill animal shelter. They're already on my list. I gave her ten dollars. She had a soft cast on her right leg. Her clothes smelled like stale cigarettes.

At the pharmacy counter I was met by "Mandy." She took my cards and prescriptions. I've used this place before so they had me in their system, but my coverage recently changed. Workplaces do that rather frequently; probably every few years on average.

Mandy asked me if I was the primary on my card. I said yes and indicated that my name was on it, along with those of my family members. She asked me if my name was "shrimp cocktail" and I said no, that's my kid. Mandy poked the computer keyboard.

A man in a car at the pick-up window caught my eye, as if to scowl; as if to ask what was I doing that was taking so long, what was the hold-up? He looked sick and old.

Mandy just looked marginal to me. Marginal finances, marginally marketable earning skills, marginal intelligence, whatever. I'm not being mean. My heart goes out to people who live on life's perilous margins. In my work I try to help them when their health is over that margin...

Every day I express gratitude regarding my own position on the manageble side of the margin. No, that's not all true. Sometimes I curse the margin.

Mandy said the prescriptions would be ready "in an hour." She was lying. I can always tell. Sometimes I hate that, too. Like when I go to movies or watch "Law and Order" on television. The actors are often required by their profession to lie considerably. That leaves me appreciating their art, but I'm not convinced. Rather, I am distracted. They try to hide their personal problems, but even really good actors are just themselves, after all.

Opera is easier for me, because it's so obviously and absolutely fake. They sing. All the freakin' time.

I left and passed the woman collecting donations for the shelter. The man in the car had driven around front and parked his car, a Bentley, and was now harassing the shelter volunteer about something.

He was barrel-chested from years of smoking and steroid use. Skin like paper.

There was a truck on the far side of the parking lot with a sign painted on its back window: Manes by Mandy, and it listed a website. For a hair salon. Mandy was a pharmacy tech and a hair stylist.

You can be on more than one margin. That's not necessarily better.


donna said...

Oh, crappy.

Feel better soon!

dbackdad said...

You probably already know this ... but you are a great writer. You can make the every-day and mundane beautiful and poignant. Great post, as usual.

wunelle said...

Heal fast.

I guess none of us is too far from some margin.

Ruth said...

Be well, Diane also has pneumonia, hope you both are better Soon.

may said...

sorry, i hsouldn't be, but i laughed out loud on the "shrimp cocktail" being your kid, and the one about the opera, where they just sing "all the freakin' time".
there's something about those thoughts that just made me laugh uncontrollably. let's not even start about the margins...

seriously though, i hope the antibiotics get the pneumonia bug out sooner than you expect.

lastly, can you believe my word verification is "grapiers"? what?