The Infection, Part 2
When MRSA first streamed through our blood and into our skin in summer 2011, I worked two days a week at a cafe. Fears mounted like a stack of pennies that people save and believed one day will amount to something. One month, Ben’s job covered the rent and beyond while other months we held on tight on a boat with holes in the bottom.
I felt dissatisfied in everything I did professionally except for substitute teaching. I had not done as much during the year to stay at home with Hayes, but in the middle of a bad economy, I left the job at the cafe. That stayed with me as if I’d committed a great sin against God and my family because I had written about the lines at the unemployment offices. I had covered stories about families who ran out of water and electricity. I looked those people in the face and saw their sorrows and hope as they carried half a month’s paycheck worth of giant water bottles. Yet, I walked away from a job.
By June 2011, I worked as a cashier at the cafe inside of a bank. A person convinced me I should be doing “great things” besides working in a cafe, made false promises, and convinced me to take a writing job opportunity, which never came to a paycheck.
The only thing that came was illness. During this time, Ben’s first MRSA spot showed up on his leg and mine on my hip. I thought it was a bug bite because it just itched at first. Then MRSA poisoned my attitude towards Ben because for the first time I thought long and hard about his death. .
I thought that authors of romances missed out on writing about the ever after because life will not always include happily. When I fell for my husband, I fell in love hard, and it never ended. I still fostered mean thoughts, which would later vanish. Taking care of Ben and our son, Hayes, became more difficult when I had another MRSA spot.
We put creams on the spots because we didn’t know what they were at the time. We didn’t know why these spots drained our energy and made us pale.
But, Ben and I were made equals at the doctor.
When you have no health insurance and little money, some doctors examine you like you’re nothing more than a poor dog about to be euthanized. I had grown up in a world of false blonde girls complaining to each other about highwater pants and underwear lines. I had known doctors to care, but the day Ben and I went to the doctor, I saw that a person who was poor meant nothing more to a doctor than an old gum wrapper thrown on the sidewalk.
Already I hated myself for not finding a job in which I felt happy, and for my cruel thoughts about my husband in his time of need. I guess I got what I deserved when the doctor asked me to pull my pants down just enough to look at my hip. We were in a hallway closed off by curtains. Metal trays surrounded us.
“You need to be clean,” he said. “You need to bathe everyday with clean water.”
I bathed everyday with clean water, but the doctor stared at me like a foul creature; a thin alligator that might not cut it in the Florida Everglades. Then, at the age of 26 I realized, he really did see me as dirty and poor. What else might he have assumed, I didn’t know, but it was enough to convince me that I needed to be on my deathbed before I ever saw another doctor. I could not predict that two years later the same doctor’s office would treat my husband far worse.
By Rebecca T. Dickinson
Memoir Shorts are based on my memoir Ready to Talk, but only a few lines are excerpts. All names and places have been changed to protect identities.
If you have ever felt mistreated by doctors, please know you are not alone.
For more Ready to Talk memoir shorts, read:
Copyright Rebecca T. Dickinson, 2015