Friday Night Frights

New YearSomeone tugged on the grand tapestry of the universe and unraveled a thread that led me to be at the Walgreens up the street on a Friday night.

This was not my original post idea for tonight, but when life gives you lemons, you need to pucker the hell up and be sour. It’s time for a little blog improv.

My wife, who apparently is on a quest to find another way to die, had a prescription that needed to be picked up. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been caught dead at such a place on an evening like this.

It all started around New Year’s 2011. My wife already had a hurt shoulder than pains her greatly from time to time. One night we went to bed and everything was fine. When we woke up, somehow she had injured her knee. We’re still stumped about that one. She’s just that talented, I guess. But yeah, that knee injury was bad. Out of the blue she was on crutches and going in for MRIs (which were a friggin’ joke), trying to see an orthopedic surgeon who wouldn’t call her back and interpret her scans, and generally just trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

Then, about three weeks ago, the wife decided she needed to go foraging for organic materials for basket weaving. She likes to weave baskets. Personally I’d rather debug Perl scripts or write compliant HTML, but we all enjoy different things. Naturally, a few days later, she started seeing red splotches on her body. At first we thought they might be a reaction to something we ate. The next morning, however, it was all made clear. She had been visited by the poison oak fairy.

On my wife’s side of the family, poison oak is a deadly force to be reckoned with. Just looking at a picture of it can make them explode in an itchy red mess. Me? I don’t think I’ve ever had it. I guess some people are more susceptible.

My wife’s case was bad. Very bad. It was in and around her eyes, mouth, face, tummy, legs, hands, and, well, suffice it to say a few other choice spots that shall remain unmentionable.

So now my wife was being subjected 24/7 to intense pain and scratchiness on top of her shoulder and knee that were still painful, too.

That led to several more doctor’s visits, missed days from work, and eventually a prescription for a pill known as prednisone (a pill) for poison oak. My wife was told right up front that one of the side effects of the pill is that it can make you “grumpy.” Oh Lord, help me!

I went to WedMD to check out the possible side effects. There it was in black and white. Mood swings. Chronic trouble sleeping. Depression. Delirium. Hallucination. Paranoia. Mental disturbance. Wow. That’s quite the list.

Bonus side effect: “Complete Stoppage of the Heart.” Yeah, that would qualify as a side effect. Personally, I don’t care what medical problem you have. A side effect like that one just might be worse than the problem it’s supposed to allegedly be fixing, eh?

She’s definitely had trouble sleeping since the first of the year. That sure doesn’t help.

So Friday morning we wake up and something new is going on. She’s having trouble breathing and doesn’t feel well. By the time I go to work she’s still in bed so I figure she’s taking the day off. I tiptoe out of the house.

I called at lunchtime to see how see was doing. No answer. Finally later in the afternoon she called me. She had gone in to work at noon and will be going to urgent care when she gets off. Because she’s sick of her doctor who never does jack shit.

Related post: Salubrious Basterds/The doctor will fee you now.

Urgent care told my wife that she had picked up bronchitis and/or pneumonia and likely an infection, probably because the prednisone weakened her system to the point of allowing such things to be able to gain a foothold. That’s just friggin’ pluperfect! Their brilliant plan to deal with this troubling development? Yep. You guessed it! A cocktail of even more prednisone and some antibiotics to knock down the infection. Doctors are so smart!

And that’s the short preface to this post. A post which is actually about how I ended up at a friggin’ Walgreens of all places on a friggin’ Friday night. Gads!

I had to go pick up my wife’s prescription. It takes a damned good reason to get me in that shit hole.

As soon as the glowing building loomed in my field of view I knew I was in for the time of my life. You see, I live in a very small town where they roll up the sidewalks early every evening and all day every Sunday. Places like Walgreens stay upon 24 hours a day, thus become destinations in and of themselves to the indigenous locals who don’t know how to entertain themselves any other way.

I pulled into the parking lot and couldn’t believe my eyes. 8pm on a Friday night and the Walgreens was packed. Who knew?

I parked and tried to make my way to the front door. The sidewalk was teeming with all sorts of miscreants. Yes, once again, I had entered The Cloud. That’s just my way of saying “outdoors where people accumulate and smoke their asses off.” I was swimming through a sea of smoke, holding my breath while walking, trying to make it to the front door.

Vending Machine French Fries in NYMost of the people were conglomerated around the evening’s star attractions: The two shiny and gleaming RedBox video rental machines on the sidewalk near the front door. Jesus Christ, what a clusterfuck! I couldn’t help but wonder to myself, “Who the fuck rents their DVDs from a fucking vending machine?” No doubt if they put a vending machine there that served french fries then these same helpless/hopeless people could also enjoy a hot meal!

I steeled my resolve. My mission was to ingress and egress the scene as fast as humanly possible and then get the hell back home. I was already “feet wet” so there was no turning back.

Inside, I made a beeline to the area for prescriptions. Imagine the layout of the store as a rectangle with the same aspect ratio as a widescreen movie. Label the bottom left corner of that rectangle as “entrance.” Label the top right corner of that rectangle as “prescriptions.” If you drew a line between those two points you’d have a hypotenuse, your optimum shortest distance of travel. If only there weren’t aisles and aisles of shit in between.

The place where you pick up your prescriptions is located in the most remote location in the whole friggin’ store. There can’t be any logical reason for that, right? It has absolutely nothing to do with making you walk by soda and candy bars and cheap plastic toys made in China and all kinds of other friggin’ horseshit, right? I must have hiked 2.3 miles to get to my wife’s prescription all the while exposed to purchasable  goods.

I’ll spare y’all the rest of the details of my visit to Walgreens. I was able to make my escape and somehow return to home base, but it’s all a blur. My debriefing is scheduled at 0800.

I’ve been plotting my wife’s ailments since the first of the year. The trendline has decidedly upwards movement. In fact, if I project that trendline into the future, today should be the first time she’ll add two new problems on the same day. The rate of growth is exponential, so I have that to look forward to.

See you again soon, Walgreens. My old friend.

How’d I do with those lemons? Was I sour?

11 responses

  1. Sorry to hear about the Mrs, all these ailments & pain. 

    You get a gold star for the use of pluperfect.


    1. Ah, you read the whole post. I’m touched. 🙂

      Would you believe that was a three-fingered typo? Probably not. Heh.


  2. So I saw this in my inbox and thought, “This one’s longish. I have a lot to do.I’d better read it later.” And then I read the first sentence. Fabulous. Any post that includes “pluperfect” AND “hypotenuse” and “cluster…” is one for the ages.

    I’m so sorry about the poison oak, the shoulder, and the knee…and the prednisone…and the Walgreen’s.


    1. Shit ass luck, I guess. But I’m glad you liked it. 🙂 Thanks for wasting your valuable time here. Always very much appreciated!

      The wife did sign off on me writing about this topic. I just hope she appreciates my delicate approach to the subject matter.


  3. I’m so sorry to hear about the Mrs! That just sucks. My bubby had a case of poison ivy that was that bad – it was horrible.

    We feel the same way about our Wal-Mart – we only go if it’s a dire emergency and everything else is closed.

    I hope Mrs. Abyss feel’s better soon and that you can have a break from the Walgreens.

    We are trapped in our house with the ice and snow, so we can’t go anywhere. I’ve only been out of my house twice since Tuesday – a trip to the Walgreens (or even the Wal-Mart) doesn’t sound so bad right now 🙂


    1. I made a trip to Walmart once. 🙂

      I don’t think I’ve ever been trapped in a house due to snow. I hope to enjoy something like that at least once in my lifetime. Hey, bucket list!


  4. I meant “hubby” not bubby. Oops! My fingers are frozen 🙂


  5. Hope your wife is feeling better soon — keep her away form basket weaving materials for a while, eh?
    Sadly I might be one of those wretched Walgreens goers on a Friday night if I were near one because those stores are just so exotic to a Canadian like me ha ha!

    Have a great weekend.


    1. Thanks. And yes, basket weaving is now forbidden. It’s just not worth it!

      Trips to Walgreens at 8pm on a Friday night are ok, but only if you have a darn good reason! Exotic? Ha!


  6. Ah, hell, Tom. Trapped in Walgreens is a terrible way to go.

    Please have her doctor GET HER OFF THE PREDNISONE! Sorry… I hate that frickin’ crap. All kindsa trouble, that stuff. It always seems to cause more trouble than it cures.

    Of course, that’s how they get paid.

    Sorry I missed this one, I’ve been out of the loop for a while. Thanks for catching me up!


    1. Thanks!

      I agree. The prednisone seems to be one big hassle. And, aside from the side effects, we can’t tell if it did a damn thing to help with her original problem, the poison oak! My gut tells me it was would have been far preferable to just ride things out rather than go on pharmaceuticals. (Of course, that’s what my gut always says.)


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