“Do you need an English-speaking doctor?” the nurse asks N, in Russian. N looks to me.
“Preferably,” I tell him.
He tells the nurse. She directs us to wait. The waiting room is the size of a church; high ceilings and a lot of glass.
“This is a nice hospital.”
“Mm,” N says.
We wait. In the ugly light of the hall I can see the red rash down my arm. It is an evil thing. It doesn’t itch. I hold my arm up to N. He nods, “you might be dying.”
“I might be dying!”
I sulk while N nods off. Eventually the nurse comes to lead us down the hall and into a small office, there we wait, again.
The door opens. A boy of about nine years old enters. He is wearing a doctor’s coat and a stern look. He shakes my hand. He sits at the desk. I look to N, N shrugs.
“What is wrong?” the boy asks, he lays his arms, one over the other, on the desk. I stare at his tiny hands.
I meet his eyes. “Uh—I am sick.”
He smiles, “of course.”
“I have a rash, and I had something like the flu on Tuesday—no, Monday. On Tuesday I woke up with this rash, and the flu symptoms went away, but the rash and my body hurts and…” I trail off. The boy looks at my arm, he nods.
“Is it on your head?” he asks.
I nod, “yes.”
“Yes, everywhere, the rash is everywhere.”
I unzip my sweatshirt, I am not wearing a T-shirt and he can see how the rash is covering every inch of my body, fighting the hair for dominance.
He nods, doctor-like. He holds up a finger and pulls his cellphone from a big white pocket. We wait. Someone answers on the other end and the boy begins talking fast, in Russian. I don’t catch much. I hear the word “syphilis” and turn to N. N is listening closely and doesn’t acknowledge me. So, I try to translate for myself. As the conversation winds down. I hear the boy say “I don’t know. I haven’t seen anything like this in fifteen years.” After that the boy says “mhm, yes, mhm, super, okay,” before hanging up the phone. He spins his chair to me and places both of his tiny hands on each of his tiny knees and sighs.
“I am 95% sure, you are okay.”
“It is a flu. I am 98% sure, it is only flu. It comes from your nose, boop.” He taps his own nose.
I frown. “What?”
“Nose.” The boy touches his own nose, and then whispers, “boop.”
“You need to clear your nose, boop,” the boy says. He pokes his own nose. “Boop,” he whispers. “I will prescribe you some nasal spray and you need to go for walks and you should get better soon. But, just in case I am wrong. I am 97% sure—only flu. But I don’t want to miss something, so you wait for specialist?”
N says, “yes,” before I can respond. The boy stands up and nods. He walks out of the door. When it is shut, I zip up my sweatshirt.
“What the fuck was that?” I ask N.
He looks as confused as me. “We need to wait for the specialist, I guess.”
Twenty minutes later, the door opens. The boy has returned, a girl is with him. She can’t be older than 8. Her hair is cut short, framing a set of narrow glasses.
“Up,” she tells me. She motions for me to unzip my sweatshirt. I do. She walks around me, poking, moving her glasses up, and then down her nose. She pokes my belly button, professionally. She giggles.
“Did he check your eyes?” she asks up at me.
I look down. “Yes.”
From behind me I catch a half-hearted “boop.”
“Hm,” she ponders. “Okay.”
She mimes zipping my sweatshirt up. I do. I sit. She turns to the other doctor, the boy. They speak in Russian. I try to listen. Again, I hear the word, “syphilis.”
“Did she just say syphilis?”
“Yes,” N tells me.
I throw up my arms. “How the fuck would I get syphilis. I don’t even have the time or energy to get syphilis!”
N nods, “I know.”
“Excuse me, I am sorry I don’t have the time to go out getting syphilis, so unless my girlfriend has more time on her hands than me, it’s not that.”
Both doctors turn to N. N translates. They begin to look even more concerned. They speak to N now. They speak for a while. I wait.
Finally, he turns to me. “They think you might have measles.”
They let me have an oh-fuck moment before continuing.
“You shouldn’t leave the hospital until another specialist arrives.”
“Ehh,” N says.
I look to the child doctors and give them a thumbs-up.
They mime it back, with their tiny little hands.
**my whole doctor’s visit was longer than this. If you like this story and want me to write a part two, let me know in the comments below**