The Allergists spreadsheet test on my arms revealed no allergies, so he sent me for a blood draw and another allergy test. With needle in hand and me in the draw chair, the young nurse was considering (PUN WARNING!!) her best shot . I told her to poke where she would, but – as I pointed to the back of my right hand, I told her they usually end up here. She politely dismissed my suggestion and began tapping the front of my left elbow, almost as if choosing a ripe watermelon. The thump felt right to her, so that’s where she put the needle. Sometimes I don’t even feel it. Sometimes it stings a little and I flinch just to keep in practice. It hurts the worst when they lift up on the syringe as they pull the needle out of my vein. Sometimes they back the needle out just a bit and make a right or left turn as they push it back in. That’s what she was doing. She was getting only a dribble of blood, and after what seemed like an extended wait (hoping to vindicate her poor target choice for the draw) there wasn’t enough in the tube to test. She sighed, removed the needle, apologized for not listening to me, and stuck a new needle in the top of my right hand. That test also pronounced me allergic to nothing.
So, I saw the Ear – Nose – and Throat doctor. Maybe he can discover the cause for my chronic throat clearing. I had seen him previously for a persistent cough and again for a plugged ear. I told him I was tired of this constant growling, vocal grinding, and throat clearing. I told him it’s been going on a long time, and that I couldn’t remember when it started. He said I was doing that when he saw me five years ago. I hadn’t finished the questionnaire before being escorted to the waiting room, so the doctor was reading the list of yes or no questions to me: Does it ever…..? “I answered, No.” Have you ever…….? “No.” Did you ever…..? “No.” Do you ever… experience sinus or facial pain? “No. Wait a minute! Did you just ask me if my face hurts?” He glanced sideways from the clip board barely turning his head, and in a timid voice, as if unsure his words should be audible, he answered with that old punch line, “It’s killing me.” We both laughed. I told him we said that all the time when I was a kid – and it was funny every time! He said me too! He explained that he probably read this questionnaire ten times a day, and each time he comes to this question, he’s tempted to say what we always said (but i suppose that could make him appear to be irresponsible). We enjoyed that good laugh, and he actually said, “Thank you.”