There was no Suite 304. Back down the elevator, back out to my car, get the sheet. Suite 305. Back up the stairs, and in. She's not there yet, and neither is Mike. Settle down to wait.
Mike shows up, right on time. We talk for half an hour before the doctor shows up. Infectious diseases.
Mr. H. had a lump, slightly painful, about the size of his hand, on the outside of his leg. His wife: "How do you have a lump that big and not go see a doctor?" Cryptococcus neoformans infection, probably opportunistic because he was on immunosuppressive drugs for his heart transplant. He'll be on antifungals for the rest of his life, now.
Brian is 28, HIV positive. His CD4 count is good, low viral load. He's getting a new job on Monday, as an assistant manager. Check his drugs, order another CD4 count, talk about making sure he takes meds with food so he doesn't get resistant virus. Tolerating the meds really well, feels great.
Torrance is in to check on his liver. HIV positive. His Kaposi's sarcoma is gone, and the antivirals + antibiotics have cleared up his shingles and cellulitis. Friendly, pretty upbeat. Only taking his drugs because he knows if he doesn't he'll get really bad. Like his ex- did. He can't stand the thought of taking them forever.
I walked into the room, both times. I knew before I saw the papers why they were here. Why else would a gay man be in an infectious disease clinic, and I knew they were gay...and I thought about the guys I know. There's a moment of heart-wrenching terror when I hear you talk about meeting someone new, every time. Just a moment of terror. Because I know you think, and I know you're careful... but you just never know.
Mr. H. is 78, and here because of a chronic Pseudomonas UTI. She reviews his meds, asks him to get in a gown so she can examine him. Takes the CT scans with her.
While Mr. H. is changing, she stops in to see Ryan, a second-grader with Apert Syndrome. He, unlike most kids whose skull bones are fused so soon that he has to have operations to let his brain grow, is not retarded. But he is a character. And cute, in a deformed Quasimodo sort of way. Just in to make sure his latest set of sutures is healing properly. And as we're examining him the fire alarm goes off. It's an earsplitting wail, that sends all of our nerves through the roof.
Man in the hall says it's okay, we can stay, false alarm. Back to Mr. H. She goes over the CT scans (I found the radiology report with minimal urinary retention, yay me!) and decides that it's probably a chronic problem that's not going to be very treatable, considering he has prostate enlargement and all. But she's going to work with his urologist on it.
By the time he and his wife are on their way out the door, the alarm has gone off twice more. Once it comes back "evacuate" from the man in the hall, but then stops. The third time, there's nobody to ask. We stay. Dr. N. comes back, looks at us. "You guys look wiped." Mike: "I have permanent hearing loss from that stupid alarm." Dr. N. laughs, and says "It's having a detrimental effect on my patient care." We're looking up Apert on her Handspring when it goes off for a fourth time. Forget it. We're going home. She shooes us out the door.
There is a smoke smell in the hallway on the third floor, but who's worried? I take off for home, get there to find an e-mail from the mortgage lady:
I can meet you tomorrow evening or Friday evening. Unfortuately I will be out of town this weekend at a conference so I would not be able to met you this Saturday.Tomorrow. Or Friday. Now I'm just waiting for her to call me back like she said she would today. I'm so excited. Please, God, let the house be in good shape...Please, God, let the bank realise that we're a great investment for them to make.
We're taking Lily on a date tonight to see Chicago. And if I want to go, I have to go study now.