Health Scare in America

I had to see my doctor today. I was looking forward to it because I honestly like him and have had good consultations with him in the past.

To give you some background on this, I've been having some strange pain and fever lately. The pain is not the worst I've ever had—that would be a tie between when I had tears in my trachea and when I thought my appendix was about to burst—but let's just say it's distracting and, at times, consuming. Needless to say, I was a little concerned, particularly after a little internet research led me to believe I might have developed shingles.

I get to the doctor and am disappointed to discover that instead of the doctor, I'm seeing the physician's assistant. She asked me to describe what was wrong and barely waited for my answers before firing off the next question. She poked my abdomen, knocked on it, and said, "You're too young to have what I think you have..."

She made some notes and said, "Well, I don't think you have shingles, but I'm going to treat you for it because it won't hurt if you don't." She wrote out some prescriptions for me. She said, "There's no reason for me to think you would have it..."

I said, "Well, I had chicken pox three times."

She looked me right in the eye, steely, and said, "No, you didn't." Not in shock, but in a tone that suggested there's no way in hell I had chicken pox three times. When the clock struck minute nine on the appointment, she vanished from the room, leaving me to get out on my own. A nine-minute appointment and half a diagnosis is what I got. Now maybe you can understand why I'm not enamored of her. And maybe why men hate going to see the doctor!

So now I'm home, still achey, not interested in having ANYTHING touch any part of the right side of my abdomen.

But wait, Charlie. Could this day get any worse?

I'm glad you asked! Yes. Yes, it could.

Because when I got my quick lunch from Whataburger, which I love, I started munching on the fries in the car. And when I got near the bottom—having eaten almost the whole thing—I discovered:


Thick, black, and curly, you can faintly see it in this on-the-spot camera phone shot, near the high side of the carton's bottom. And the photo doesn't do it justice because this looked like Rapunzel's pubic hair, like some small insects were going to use it to climb out of the french fry box to freedom.

Thanks for listening.


  1. My sister had shingles once--ow. I felt so bad for her. (She was about 10 years old so there really isn't an age limit on shingles).

    I hope you're feeling better soon.

  2. Shingles is so characteristic-looking, usually on the side or front of the abdomen, that without any medical training, I've diagnosed it twice on people who physicians later confirmed it -- once on a 19yo girl, the daughter of a friend (again, it's not confined to the elderly, though this girl had an autoimmune condition).

    If you've been under undue stress, that's often when shingles appears. My dad had it recently, and it lasted a few weeks.

    When I've gone to my doctor's office in North Phoenix, at times I've gotten the p.a. and found him just as good, but they always gave me the option of talking to a doctor as well afterward.

    I hope you feel better soon.

  3. I have had so many experiences like the one that you just described with PAs that I now refuse to see them. I would rather wait five days to see the doc (I'm not saying all PAs are bad, but I've just had a string of bad luck). Whatever it is, I do hope you feel better. My mom had shingles and couldn't move her arm. I think it manifests in strange ways. Go back! Go to someone else!

    Sorry about the pube, too.

  4. Yow, I hope ypu are feeling better. And that you can sue for a mil for the pube.

  5. Perhaps your server at Whataburger was afflicted with rocket pubes? Yuo can read more here: http://www.passiveaggressivenotes.com/2007/08/20/i-think-its-going-to-be-a-long-long-time/

  6. Charlie, I'm sorry to hear you're not feeling well. I hope you're feeling better soon and that you make an appointment with a real doctor quickly. xoxo

  7. My best friend just had shingles and said they were hell. I hope you don't have shingles.

    As for the pube, you should get at least a $500 gift certificate to Whatafurburger.

  8. I had gallstones when I was too young to have them. I think "having a disease you're too young to have" is an affliction of the truly gifted, that's what I think. ;)

    As for the pubic hair, EWWWWWWWWW EW EW EW! EW!


  9. omg! i am not laughing about your health plight, but i almost lost my cola all over my keyboard when i read what you found in your fries.

    ps. hope u feel better, and quick!

  10. Which is worth: America's health care system or pubic hair in french fries. It might be a toss up.

  11. I meant to say "worse" not "worth"

  12. So sorry - what a crappy day. I've had my share of that sort of uncaring PA, and it's certainly no fun. Makes me appreciate the good doctors even more. So go back and see your real doctor - you got lame treatment at best.
    I hope you feel better soon, and no...um, unexpected guests in your fries!

  13. The only way this story would be more awesome is if the pube belonged to the physician's assistant.