Saturday, September 29, 2007

This Is How We Do It

I know that not everyone appreciates protocols. But I am one who is generally pretty tickled with them. Sure, they can complicate a simple task. But I am comforted by the image of a bunch of people who know more about something than I coming up with some sort of system for handling matters in order that I not spontaneously combust or end up on the first page of the local paper.

Sometimes protocols are a pain and you will often see a bit of the misplaced anger when they are activated. For example, the lady at the pharmacy yesterday, who was less than pleased by having to go to the counter to access her favorite decongestant, decided that a lengthy harangue directed at the hapless pharmacy tech was the way to deal with matters. The fact that the medication was misused by any number of nefarious types for the manufacturing of illegal substances and that the average pharmacist was not consulted with regard to the removal of the medication from the easily accessed shelves was pretty much lost on her. Given her rage, it did not seem like a good idea to suggest that she go take her ire out on the local purveyors of speed. But that's really who we should be mad at, if you want my opinion.

I'll admit that I have had the occasional snit over a protocol. But, if I really look deep into my innermost self, I know that my anger is really more about my not being able to do what I want when I want. The rules are good and just...they simply do not need to apply to one so moral as I.

Overall, though, I enjoy a protocol. There is a feeling of "safety" when there is a system in place and this appeals to my "let others do the thinkin'" nature.

Yesterday was a day simply fraught with protocols. Everywhere I turned, there was some sort of agency or authority ready to step in with measures that would keep me on the straight and narrow. Never before have I felt so darned nurtured! For example, when I stumbled, half-awake and maybe a quarter groomed, into the dentist's office at 8:00 in the morning I was pleased to learn that the Dental Powers That Be have decided that those of us with minor heart murmurs no longer need to bother with that pesky antibiotic before appointments. Since my dentist favors the meds that often give me a bit of the tummy upset, I was almost happy to the point of forgetting that I was in the clutches of my mean and scary dentist! In addition, the updated office protocol includes the use of a new sonic scaler (which is delightful and not nearly as likely to induce cringing on my part as the metal scrapers) and handing the spit-sucker off to the patient in order that they might tend to their own drool when needed. It's almost like Santa got my letters early!

I left the office cavity-free, in possession of a fine new toothbrush and with a song in my heart!

Upon arrival at the doctor's office for my Tetnus/Pertussis/Diptheria booster shot, I took a moment to review what I knew were going to be some Potential Protocol Problems. As I'd left my non-drowsy decongestant in my desk drawer at school, I was operating without any sort of sinus control. Since it is protocol at the dentist's office to hang their patients upside down for half an hour or so, there was a little of the post nasal drip going on, similar to what I was experiencing when I tried to lie down and sleep at night. I cautioned myself that I was not, under any circumstances, to allow this to make me cough. Coughing is bad. Coughing indicates illness and this may violate booster-shot-giving-protocols. I popped a hard candy in my mouth to ease the throat and headed in.

I tried. I really, really tried. As I waited in the examination room, I attempted every form of cough control known to mankind. There was lip pursing, extra-swallowing, burying my head in my arm and the power of positive thinking. It was all for naught. The very act of trying to hold in the coughs made them all the worse when they finally forced their way to the surface. It was everything I could do to remain in my seat.

This, of course, brought the nurse. With a look of concern that darn near brought a tear to my already watering eyes, she asked if that was yours truly who was expelling a lung. You could tell that she was restraining herself from calling me, "honey" with all the will she could muster. I had to confess. This, predictably, resulted in her having to wait to give me the booster shot until the doctor could see me and give the whole procedure the thumbs up. It's protocol.

Dr. Judy arrived with what I might describe as a s**t-eating grin on her face were this not the high brow and sophisticated blog that it be. Said grin was maintained as she said, "Oh, you are sooooo busted!" Dr. Judy loves nothing more than catching me faking health. She lives for these sorts of moments. She settled in and began taking notes in my file.

At this point in the protocol-laden proceedings, I sort of forgot myself. I am not a stupid woman. In fact, in some circles you may actually hear things along the lines of, "Boy that Sheepie, she is one sharp cookie!" But, having not slept a night through for a week or so due to coughing and spending the previous day teaching in a school with no electricity or working toilets, I was sort of tuckered out. These events had taken their toll on my ability to remember that protocols often require a certain amount of finesse. I launched into a recitation of how fate was out to get me, complete with hand flapping and eye-rolling. I shared how hard I had tried to not cough and showed my Not Coughing Face. I explained how it was not my fault that the dentist made me hang upside down and forced all the nasal drippings to go to the wrong places. Finally, I expressed my feelings with regard to the utter unfairness of my getting my Fall Cold right after being exposed to Whooping Cough and now being made to get a booster shot.

It was at this point, that I realized Dr. Judy was no longer writing. She was, in fact, looking at me with an expression that said we had a little problem on our hands now. With all my ranting and flailing about, I had successfully managed to brush up against one of those sensitive little trip wires that are often lurking about and will launch a protocol faster than you can say, "Center For Disease Control."

Whoops...I swear to God that I told them this was why I was getting the booster. I guess it didn't make it into the file.

Dr. Judy was now in something of a pickle because, despite minimal exposure, I was symptomatic. The fact that Whooping Cough in adults looks an awful lot like a cold is something of a bad coincidence for someone who gets a Fall Cold every year. While even Hysterical Mind now realizes that this is nothing more than the usual progression of our colds, we were in a tricky position. Thankfully, I have a doctor who is blessed with common sense and a willingness to work with me on these sorts of things. The actual protocol requires a five day removal from school and what was described as an "unpleasant" nasal swab. We were able to avoid this and I'm willingly taking my antibiotics in gratitude. As an added bonus, I was allowed to have some of my favorite narcotic cough syrup to make it alllllll better.

But, even while under the influence of the soothing, golden glow of the cough syrup, I can appreciate the irony of how protocols meant the difference between a bad dentist appointment and a not-so-bad one. Or how they took a five minute stop at the doctor's office and turned it into an hour long diagnostic session.

Still, I do love a good protocol. Here's one of mine: When the stupid lace knitting project goes wrong for the fifty millionth time, then you must heave it across the room like you usually do at that point. Then, instead of retrieving it, you cast on for the Invisibility Shawl from "Charmed Knits."

Protocols are for the good of all. This is going to make things much more bearable for society as a whole.


kmkat said...

Thank you, Sheepie. I for one will sleep better tonight knowing you have the protocols covered, every one.

Mel said...

Actually, that lady at the pharmacy should be railing at her legislators for taking that Big Brother step. Especially since all it does for the drug dealers is drive up the street price - a simple matter of supply and demand. You'd think they'd never taken high school economics. And considering the pharmacy tech's remark to me the other day when I purchased some of said decongestant that she didn't know why they bothered since nobody had ever checked their books, it's clear that altering the economics of the situation is all that it does.

That said, protocols, when appropriately applied, can be a very good thing, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Well at least you got the cough syrup and sleeping will be oh so good!
Glad things went well at the dentist.

trek said...

Did I read Invisibility Shawl? I cannot consider another shawl until the Moonlight Sonata Shawl is finished and no one has the right weight of STR to swap with me! WAAAH!!

Donna Lee said...

I love that cough syrup but I have to get the special version. I am not allowed to have any decongestants. They make my blood pressure go crazy. My special cough syrup has the codeine that makes me sleepy and it keeps me from coughing but only my super hero mask that I can heat up helps with my sinuses. I am Knitter Woman as I sit with a blue goop filled mask that warms my stuffed sinuses trying to see through the holes to knit. Don't tell anyone because this is a secret identity and who knows where the forces of evil may be lurking (behind the counter with the sudafed!)

Beth said...

Since you're sick, do you have to wait to get your shot?

Lazuli said...

Congrats on surviving both appointments! I hope the medicine does its work quickly!

mehitabel said...

My daughter had to get some Claritin for her latest cold, and was quite put out to have to show her ID for it--even though she looks 13, she's actually over 30! I, not being allowed to take decongestants, have to go around with drippy stuffed sinuses, and it's now Fall Santana Wind Season out here in the desert. Aaaaaa--choo!

Rabbitch said...

Well, I think you've followed enough protocols for both of us.

This is why I've completely declined to go to any of the lab appointments my doc seems to think she wants me to attend.

Oh yeah, and I tear up most prescriptions while waiting at the bus coming home from the Doc's office.

There's a good chance I'll start spreading Typhoid soon.

Mia said...

Hey, but what a great dental visit! I went last week too and get the joy of having 2 more crowns installed. ::sigh::

Hopefully that cough syrup will inspire some good sleeping and you can shake that cough :)

And an invisibility shawl? I may need to make one of those!

Kate said...

Sheepie. I hate to say it, the invisibility shawl won't hide the cough next time you go to the Dr. Office for that shot. Sorry. :/

YOU POOR THING! I gotta say though, that i am really glad you saw your Doctor so that you could get the "good drugs" to make all-better.

Get some rest woman!! (I know, easier said than done)

Teri S. said...

Ahhh...nothing like a good cough syrup to set things right. Or the casting on of yet another project. Or a protocol that keeps us safe from the likes of drug dealers.

Lorraine said...

Yay for new dental technologies! They can do all the research and development they need to in order to continue to depainify dental procedures!

missemilysmom said...

I love the invisibility yarn! Did you spin it or buy it? If you bought it where!! I love it!!
Hope you feel better!

Debbie said...

Whoa! good job avoiding the 'unpleasant' nasal swab. (ENT procedures have the effect on me that dentists do on you.)

Heaving lace across a room would be a lot more satisfactory if the darned stuff were a little less...lacy. And floaty.

Denise said...

I love that your doctor caught you 'faking health'. That totally cracked me up! It's like the opposite of a hypochondriac - a 'healthochondriac' I guess.

I hope you're feeling better after your shimmery codeine cough syrup weekend.