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Thursday, 17 April 2008

Sharp

If you're wondering about that photo shoot magazine business, well, they haven't paid me yet, so I'm going to wait to mock them. But I got my T shot finally on Monday (and I feel so much better).

On Monday, I showed up to my doctor's surgery and after asking the receptionist if I could speak with a nurse, I asked her if, as a favor, she could please change me from "Miss Celeste" in the NHS system to "Mr." They have to use my legal name, fine. But titles aren't legal. And every time I got something addressed to "Miss Celeste" I felt like they had tied a pink bow around my neck. "Mr" would help. A lot.

The receptionist looked at her computer. "Is your real name 'Celeste'?"

"uh. yeah."

"Are you from the states? Are you American?"

"yes . . ."

"Oh! Well, over here 'Celeste' is usually a girls name! That's probably what's caused the confusion."

I did not start laughing. I said, "My mom was a big Johnny Cash fan." Which is true, but I wasn't exactly a boy named Sue. I went to sit down and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the receptionist get more and more confused looking until she went into the back. And then my name came up.

The surgery has a sort of an announcement system. "Would so-and-so please go to room 15?" I couldn't tell if they said "Miss Hutchins" or "Les Hutchins" or what. They pronounce "Les" like "Lez", not like "less." And "Liz" is also a name, which sounds very very much like Les. It's confusing. But my last name was clear, so I went to the room.

The nurse showed me how to open the ampoules. They're made entirely of glass. You have to snap them open and be careful not to cut yourself. But they snap cleanly. She told me not to worry about bits of glass getting into the T. I asked her if she could just do the shot for me, since she'd opened the container.

She agreed and I asked for it in my bum. It's a good idea to rotate injection sites, because of scar tissue and whatnot. Since I use my legs, I thought I'd ask her to do someplace that I can't reach. She was anxious that I not lower my trousers in front of the window, but then she just pushed the needle in. No gloves. No hand washing for her. No antiseptics for me. Not even a quick jab with the needle. It just went right through my unsterilized skin. I'm surprised the British aren't ultra-cautious about this, like they are about everything else Is it just her? I guess I don't need to be too paranoid about that part then.

I asked if I could just have a few needles instead of buying a hundred, so she gave me some (yay) and then asked me how I dispose of them after using them. I explained that I put the cover back over them and put them back in the little plastic pouch they came in, so nobody would get stabbed, and threw them away. "Oh no, you'll go to hell for that!" she said.

My friend has a joke he loves: There are Jews in hell for eating bacon. There are Catholics in hell for eating steak on Good Friday. And there are Anglicans in hell for eating the meat course with the salad fork.

I won't go to hell for being all kinds of queer, I'll go to hell for not following proper safety protocol with used sharps. She told me I need a sharps container and wrote me a prescription to get one from the pharmacy. When I saw the name on the scrip, I knew my conversation with the receptionist had not been in vain. It's written for "Miss Les."

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