Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cavalcade of Annoyance

Today's appointment calendar should be sub-titled "The Cavalcade of Annoyance".

By some unknown quirk of nature, I often end up with lumps of exasperating people all scheduled together on the same day. Today is one of those days.

Thankfully, since it's also the day before a holiday, I didn't have all that many appointments. There's only so much you should have to endure in a day. I've had whiners, criers, and the purposefully infirm so far this morning.

And I've had Hannah Montana.

Hannah Montana is a short, chubby Hispanic woman. She's 54 but looks 64 if she's a day. She likes to wear revealing shirts which expose her cardiovascular misadventures to public scrutiny. The scar from her open heart surgery gleams up a you from between to floppy, wrinkly breasts. She favors Hannah Montana t-shirts with pleather (plastic leather) vests and yachting caps. She likes sparkles, too.

This morning she came in with her face covered by a paper towel. She explained that she had opted for the tissue-y burka so that I wouldn't catch any of her germs. She worked hard to punctuate each and every sentence with a cough throughout our visit. Sometimes she would forget to secure the bottom of the paper towel to her chin, and the germs escaped from beneath it to cavort across the surface of my desk.

But it wasn't nearly as bad as yesterday.

Yesterday I got a new case - a woman the jail wouldn't touch. She has a severe, oozing staph infection on her feet. I didn't even take her into my office. We talked in the reception area instead. I hoped that if we were surrounded by other people, in a more open-air environment, the various viruses and bacteria that she was sharing would find other, more winsome, hosts than myself.

She was a talker - hearing only the first two or three words of anything I said before formulating her own reply. She kept up an on-going stream of comment while I tried to explain the rules of probation. Some of it was entertaining, such as the bit where she pretended to be thunderstruck that she would have to pay $50 to the Crime Stoppers organization.

"You mean we gotta pay them to go out and hunt us down?!"

Three times - THREE TIMES - I told her I didn't want to see her feet. Three times. But she's not much of a listener. The goo was oozing through the white cotton socks that she wore to accentuate the black rubber flip flops. She pulled her foot up in the air and yanked down the sock.

I couldn't help it. It was like driving past a train wreck.

I looked.