I turned into the clinic parking lot without having committed a major traffic violation. The lights in the clinic parking lot illuminated a lonely police cruiser parked in the middle of the open lot his lights on. Other than the police car the clinic appeared eerily quiet. The clinic lights had been extinguished; only a buzzing florescent flickered like an evening insect on a late spring night. Not knowing what else to do I drove up to the clinic's front door. I tried to read the printed hours on the glass door from the vantage point of my drivers seat. Even at the width of a sidewalk I couldn't make out the numbers. I put the care in park, got out and with my face inches from the rub-on letters I made out the seven thirty opening hour information. It also said the nearest 24 hour emergency room was going to be a good distance away. I was half hoping the police officer might see my predicament and come to my assistance until I realized he was sneaking a nap and completely unaware of my existence. My hope of a police escort to the ER went unrequited. I had to weave my way past the cruiser and back out onto the road. The streets were still pretty bare but now I had to get onto a major roadway. Going thirty-five in a sixty-five mile per hour zone probably wasn't the best idea but it got me there without the aid of the escort.
There was no one immediately behind the admitting desk. Pretty quickly I figured out why. All the non-patients were racing to deal with a non-cooperative new patient who sounded to be about 250 -300 lbs and not willing to lie down and take his medicine. It was a coven of about six nurses dressed in pink and pale blue polyester pajamas stamped with smiley faces, teddy bears and tweetie birds that raced by to tackle and subdue the blitzed out Samson.
Once the giant was tied and shackled one of the pert hundred pound tough as nails nurses came back to the front desk to check me in. I went through my symptoms: razor blades running up and down my eyes, a hatchet wedged right above my left eye and a sticky film the consistency of aspic coating my vision. She handed me over to another nurse who lead me down another hallway to a vision chart. She let me keep my glasses on and then with both eyes asked which level of the chart I could read. I said, "What chart?" She just took me back to an examining room and told me to take a seat, "The doctor will be right with you".
I picked out a point but it was too close to his face so the minute he started examining my eyes I ended up looking directly into his. I was feeling more and more embarrassed by the minute. He was probably less than half my age but he was making a very strong impression on my foolish heart.
With the eye exam behind me and my palpitations subsided I seriously started looking for a wedding ring on Dr. Quinn's fourth left hand finger. I couldn't decide if it was exceptional bedside manners or unexpected flirting I was experiencing.
He then started babbling something about what he tells his wife in situations like this. I fell back to earth and realized my palpitations were only the dreams of an old man. The numbing drops he put in my eyes earlier had taken hold. I felt like a cuckold fool as he handed me a prescription for an antibiotic I could purchase from a 24-hour dispensing machine in the emergency room lobby. The pronouncement that all I had was conjunctivitis, pink eye, a viral infection normally relegated to the pre-school age bracket or Bob Costas during the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia seemed so minor. With that he flung the curtain open and he was gone, only the white spot on the back of his head as a parting memory.