The nurse and I saw the hole in my sock at the same time. The look on her face seemed like it wanted to be compassionate — the way that I want to be more forgiving of judgmental nurses — but really it was just kind of judgmental.
I glanced up at her with a look that was meant to convey humorous apology and slight embarrassment.
“So, what did you say was wrong again?” she asked curtly. She was looking down at a chart which had to have my symptoms on it — a very specific and thorough explanation of the abdominal pain I was experiencing— since I’d really only filled out the one piece of paper so far, and that had been near the center of it.
I wanted to make up something that contradicted it, like “Oh, it’s swamp ass. I’ve got a bad case of the swamp ass. Got some butt cream or something?”
The whole emergency room was giving me a weird vibe. I’d had to excuse myself from class and call my girlfriend to take me to the hospital. There was an agonizing, stabbing pain right in the center of my torso, and I didn’t want to hear all the co-eds scream if an alien burst from my chest. They generally squealed enough on their own.
“I have this horrible radiating pain right here,” I tried to explain. “It comes and goes in waves, building, peaking, and then subsiding.” She frowned a little, wrote nothing, and turned away with a dismissive “okay.” Whatever the quiz had been, my answer appeared to have been incorrect.
“Aaron!” my girlfriend hissed in that familiar tone that I know means I’ve embarrassed her after the nurse left. “You have a hole in your sock!” She’d later point out that they were also slightly mismatched and dingy.
“Right?” I said, mustering as much humor as I could while feeling like someone had tossed a javelin through my midsection. “Not sure how or when that happened…”
“I can’t believe you! You’re dressed like a homeless person!” That was a bit of an exaggeration,… in addition to being a little insensitive to homeless people. I really wasn’t dressed well, though.