How do you like your formaldehyde?...

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The title will make perfect sense once you've read this account of one doctor visit gone bad. It was the summer of '96 when a small BB sized bump on the side of my nose became somewhat larger and much redder. Having already ignored this bump for over a year, I still tried to pretend it wasn't there, that it would just heal up and go away.

Of course, no such luck. It became an open sore about a 1/4 inch in diameter and wouldn't scab over. Couldn't very well ignore it any longer.

Working self-employed and no insurance at the time, a trip to the doctor didn't sound like much fun, for me or my wallet. Late one morning my girlfriend showed up at the job site where I was building a new deck. That's what I did for many years and funny how most people wanted their deck right out in the open sunshine! Anyway, she came to tell me about a free clinic some local doctors were sponsoring and that it was happening right now in a large church basement just three blocks away. Well, I couldn't very well say no to that, so off I go.

Filled out all the paper work, waited a few minutes then a nurse called me back to an area behind some curtains. They looked at the spot and agreed that it needed attention and that the doctor could take care of it right there. However he wasn't in at the moment so could I come back at 1:00 pm. No problem, lets just get it done..

So back at 1 o'clock I go and again soon find myself back in a area closed off with curtains, wasn't any real rooms, just a large space divided by curtains. The nurse has me lay on a small examining table and said the doctor would be right in. And he was. I noticed two things right away. One, that he was a very, very large man and two, that his smock was buttoned crooked. My next thought was that the little roll-around stool that he grabbed was most surely going to collapse when he sat on it. But it didn't.

So here he comes scootin' across the floor on the stool with wheels, introducing him self as he rolled. When he was about three feet from me and starting to lean forward, the alcohol breath hit me like a fire breathing dragon. I glanced at his eyes and, yep, all bloodshot as could be, big beads of sweat rolling off his bald head. A brief thought about making an escape followed by the thought that my girlfriend would never buy that story and I decided to stay. If things got too crazy I'd just bolt.


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