Back in 1999 – you know, back when Bill Clinton was treating the country so shitty that I had an awesome dot-com job that gave me the best health insurance plan you’d ever heard of.
Anyway, I had a really bad finger infection. It was summer, and I was at my friend’s beach house in Connecticut and I noticed that my finger was swollen right under the nail to a genuinely alarming degree. I get back into Manhattan at two in the morning and go right to the Mt. Sinai Hospital Emergency Room. Surprisingly, I’m able to see a doctor right away.
If you’re not in New York, the Emergency Room waiting rooms are famous for being great places to catch up on things you always meant to do – read Moby Dick cover-to-cover; knit an entire scarf; build a civilization and watch it crumble into dust three generations later.
This is true – there was a guy who was told that he had to stop smoking in the emergency room, not because it was a health hazard but because there was a tribe of cave people in a corner who didn’t know what fire was.
I got in and I was treated by an intern, a nice young fella who told me it was an infection and that he was going to prescribe antibiotics. Then he said, “I’m also going to prescribe you a painkiller. What do you want, some codeine?”
And I said, “I don’t know.”
Then he winked at me, pointed, and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll get you something good.”
He then prescribed me a month’s worth of Vicodin, with two months’ refills.
I don’t know if you’ve ever taken Vicodin, but man, there’s a reason that shit is super-addictive; it kills every kind of pain including the pain of existence. After a week when my infection was completely healed, I had to give it away because it was too good.
Anyway, the world sure is different!