So Carl calls about 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday and he is slurring his words and I ask him why and he says his tongue is swelling and his lips are swelling. So I insist that he call the advice nurse at Kaiser who says he needs to be seen immediately, which is, of course, what I told him. He calls me back at 1:15; I am in the middle of an interview with an MIT professor--which, of course, has been impossibly hard to schedule--and I say, "Sorry, must go, ta-ta and all."
I fly home and we go and when Kaiser ascertains that his throat has not swelled shut, they let us sit for eons. But in the middle of this, I need to pick up Blue, our lovable but incredibly dumb dog, from the vet, where I have taken her to have her get a shot for the pinched nerve in her neck (she now needs cortisone every eight weeks). I figure I can get her groomed too and have all her shots. So I go to pick her up and she's still damp (and groggy because they have to sedate her to give her the bath--we know this) and they say, "Here, just let us blow dry her," whereupon she immediately has a seizure and turns into Cujo.
Meanwhile, back at the ER, Carl is about to die--of boredom. And they finally call his name, and this other man (who earlier told the security guard that he was "f---ing ugly" and that he would not be "ordered around by someone who looks like a terrorist") jumps up and says, "Yes, I'm Carl Skolnik." Thus begins the lightning round of "To Tell the Truth" as the real Carl Skolnik stands up and says, "No, I'm Carl Skolnik." The real Carl Skolnik finally proves who he is and the fake Carl is vanquished back to the waiting room.
Meanwhile back at the vet, the real Blue emerges and we wipe the strings of saliva from her mouth and I lift her into the car, whereupon we have a total transfer of evidence to my black slacks and burgundy angora blend sweater. I look like Santa has shaved over me.
Then I drive back across town (five miles, 45 minutes) to the ER; Carl is now in Room 11, where, they say, "Gosh, the swelling seems to have gone down." Of course it has. It's been five hours. They say that it might be the result of the antibiotic he's been on for the last three weeks or it could be his blood pressure medication that he's been taking for three years but that he needs to see his regular doctor immediately and they'll get him an appointment. Which they do. For Jan. 20, first available. And he kindly points out that he has had both a heart attack and a stroke and it probably isn't a good idea for him not to be taking blood pressure medication and they say, "Yes, well, good luck with that."
My boss asked me if I wanted to work from home the next day. Between Cujo and Carl and the workmen, I think being in the office, which on most days resembles the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, will be a welcome relief.