Not Ink-lined To Help, Part 2

| MD, USA | Working | May 17, 2014

(Three years earlier, I had a tattoo done at a very well-reputed and very CLEAN studio that came highly recommended. The doctor is a new one at this office.)

Doctor: “What seems to be the problem today?”

Me: “I think I have the flu. I started feeling sick about a week ago. I thought it was a cold, but it got better instead of worse.”

Doctor: “It has been going around. What are your symptoms?”

Me: “Viciously congested, barking cough, headaches, chills. My whole body hurts. I have no appetite. And, as of yesterday, I’ve also got a fever.”

Doctor: “Yeah, that sounds like the flu, all right. Are you in school?”

Me: “No, I work. But my mom’s a schoolteacher, so the germs probably hitched a ride with her.”

(She starts to examine me and it all goes normally until I have to take my sweatshirt off so she can listen to my chest, which reveals my tattoo.)

Doctor: “Oh, dear…  Did you get this tattoo in the last six to twelve months?”

Me: “No, it was years ago. It was my birthday present to myself when I turned 19.”

Doctor: “Have you ever been tested for hepatitis?”

Me: “Um, no…?”

Doctor: “Are you aware how infectious hepatitis is? You can get it very easily from dirty needles. You need to be tested.”

Me: “I appreciate your concern, but—”

Doctor: “I can’t tell you how many young people I see with their piercings and tattoos. Their little friends told them where to go to some guy for it, and they don’t realize how dangerous dirty needles are. It sounds like you could have it.”

Me: “I really don’t think I have hepatitis.”

Doctor: “But you’re not a doctor.”

(She takes another look at me.)

Doctor: “And look at all those earrings! Oh, dear, you NEED to get tested for hepatitis. You have the symptoms and you have that tattoo and those piercings. I’ll write the order for you. You can go down the hall to the lab, and then we’ll go from there.”

Me: “Look, I really don’t appreciate the assumptions you’re making about me and about everybody with tattoos. I didn’t get this in some guy’s basement and the artist used sterile needles. I’ve been here many times since getting the tattoo and nobody has ever thought there was a problem until now. I REALLY don’t think I have hepatitis. I think I just have the flu.”

Doctor: “Here you go. Now, the lab is down the hall on the left…”

(Since the office was busy, I couldn’t get another doctor. I ended up submitting to the test, and feeling even CRAPPIER after they took several vials of blood. Surprise, surprise, I tested negative for Hep A, Hep B, and Hep C. In another surprise twist, it turned out that I did indeed have the flu!)

 

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