Yesterday morning, I got my last allergy shot. Initially prescribed to me by my ENT doc, I’ve been getting them for three years now. When I first did the scratch test, I was told by Karen the nurse (who administered it) that I’m pretty much allergic to everything. That I should basically be living in a plastic bubble like John Travolta did. This has been a lifelong issue, my allergies…along with my battles with sinusitis, which almost killed me back in ’94.
Look, I just wanna trade in my head, okay? It’s too goddamn big anyway.
I wouldn’t mind living in a plastic bubble, as long as there were still lots of ladies to talk to and plenty of wine flowing. But this is more about Karen the nurse. In the three years she’s been giving me weekly allergy shots, she has gone through a great many hardships, including a separation from her husband. She has two young kids, she had to move (her commute got so much worse), she had to rebuild. She started going to the gym and figuring out her future. Every time I’d go in to see her, we’d quickly catch up on our weeks, over the course of however long the shot took. Right arm this week, left arm next week. Weeks and weeks and weeks. Some of the shots hurt much more intensely than others, yet her skill and presence was always soothing and kind.
Saying goodbye to Karen the nurse this past Friday was a little rough, I gotta admit. I’ve come to depend on her. Her shots. Her laughter. Her whispered musings. Her terrible taste in movies…
ME: So what’re you gonna do this weekend?
KAREN: I dunno. I need to get out. Have some fun. I wanna see a movie.
ME: What do you wanna see?
KAREN: Oh! Y’know what I wanna see? That new “Fast and Furious” movie! (her eyes lit up) “Furious 7”!
ME: Oh, GAWD.
KAREN: Aw! What! You don’t like those?
ME: Of course I don’t! Karen! I’m RAGING cinema SNOB! Never seen one. Never will.
KAREN: Oh, Max…
And then a giggle. OUCH! And…right…a shot.
So I gave her a huge hug goodbye. It felt amazing to hold that fine caregiver in my arms. What a sweetie. “Come see me anytime”, she said. Now I just need to come up with excuses to visit the doc now and again so I can check in on how my friend’s doing.
WINE PAIRING: Being that I’ve brought the nurses and operators of the office cases of beer over the years (they’re SO not wine girls), we’ll take a break from the grape this time and bust out the suds. Karen’s always been so appreciative of the beer. I bet she’d be a lotta fun to party with. Here’s hoping she finds her peace. She’s earned it.