Killer reminiscing, and feeling nauseated
It was 1998, I was a dashing young man working as a bartender while I trudged my way through nursing school. My clinical group was split into pairs and we were informed that we would be going to one of four locations for the next few weeks. An OB clinic, A doctor's office, the County Health Department, or the County STD clinic. Always on the lookout for adventure, I lobbied for me and my partner, Angie, to go to the STD clinic, without her knowledge or approval.
On the first day it doesn't take long to realize that the patients, as well as everyone who works in the STD clinic, are very abnormal. I had never known my county had a clinic dedicated to fighting STD's. I needed to get out more. We spent that, and pretty much every day, for two weeks, giving pregnancy tests to high school girls and sticking long metal Q-tips into guys pee hole. The most frightening statement usually made was, "Oh, you have got to come see/smell this."
One of the final days I spent the first hour with the STD boss who was showing us a real live "crab" he had just taken from a patient's nether region. Under a magnifying glass, they really look like crabs. Then they decided I was going to run the next case that came in, all by myself.
I am waiting in the exam room when I hear some coughing and a unwavering aerosol can approaching down the hall. I peak out and spot the receptionist pushing an elderly, dishevelled man down the hall in a wheelchair. Over his head she was holding a large can of Lysol and had not let go of the button the entire hall. She wheels him into the room, hands me the can, and quickly departs.
When the door closes I am struck by an odor that is forever etched into my psyche. It can only be likened to: Someone eats a big pile of moldy, stinky cheese then, a day later, releases his bowels onto a bloated dead skunk. The guy looked at me and smiled.
His name was "Ed". Ed could stand and walk, but not for long periods of time. he came into the clinic because he received a letter from the STD clinic saying that a recent acquaintance of his, who recently tested positive for HIV, listed him as a sexual partner. He wanted to get tested, and while he was here, it hurt to pee.
Ed was a very candid fellow, so I took the opportunity to ask what his secret was. He didn't appear very suave, debonair, or clean, but he was obviously getting laid. Ed was happy to share his tricks. Ed's brother was a crack dealer, and every week he would give Ed a handful of crack to trade for his rent money, food supplies, and Ed always kept a little extra to trade for sex from crack whores. Ed was a friggin genius.
I drew the blood from Ed to test for HIV. By now I was accustomed to the smell and had grown rather fond of Ed. He was optimistic and loved to joke around. It finally came time for the Q-tip in the teeter test. I helped Ed stand up and pull his pants down, then his long johns, then a pair of shorts, and finally his underwear. With each layer it became painfully obvious where the source of Ed's unique odor was located. Ed explained he did not trust his roommates, so he had to wear all his clothes all the time.
In order to fully assess the region I had to help Ed spread his legs. I don't know if you have ever tried to pull apart a hot grilled cheese sandwhich, but it was very similar to that. It was, and still is, the only time in my nursing career that I would ever come close to getting sick.
Ed decided to inform me that he had a hard time bathing.
Q-tip in, Q-tip out, Ed was given a box of handy wipes to freshen up as I stepped out into the hall to breath.
Angie, and half the staff, were outside the room. Angie took this time to remind me that I needed to do some patient education for our report. I gave Ed a great big bag of condoms and educated him on the cons of unprotected sex with crack whores. He educated me on the pros of sex with crack whores, which is their determination.
I then concocted a scheme in which from now on, all the crack whores would have to give him a sponge bath, pre-sexual coitus. Ed said that was the best idea he had ever heard.
I never did get to find out the results of Ed's HIV results, but I like to think he is still out there today, banging crack whores, but with a sparkling clean set of balls.