The Surgeon promised to take the bandages off today. It’s been almost three weeks. I’m lying in the dark with no visitors because of the COVID thing. I feel like I’m back in the hole after all these years. At least in the hole, I got one hour of daylight to walk around the yard where there are two guards with rifles on the wall and one with a Glock in his lap, sitting in the corner chair tilted back, hat half- covering his eyes, but he’s not fooling me.
The nurse walks in and tells me she’ll have to remove the bandages in the room because all the operatories are taken with pandemic patients. I hear her pulling the blinds and closing the drapes. I am anxious and a little nervous, I tell her.
Nothing to be anxious or nervous about, she says, and then I hear the loudspeaker call her name to report to the nurse’s desk.
I hear the door open, and the drapes sliding back and the blinds opening.
What’s up? I ask my nurse but it’s a different nurse who answers, and he says that both the surgeon and my nurse tested positive for COVID, and he’s going to have to test me.
There is a familiar rasp to his voice, but I can’t place it. He sticks something up my nose hard and twirls it around until I feel the blood drops, and then he does my other nostril, and I reach out grab his arm and feel his obscene muscles and just as he jams for the third time and swirls the Q-tip around. The blood starts pouring out of that nostril also.
I’ll be back with your results, the husband of the woman I picked up in the bar says, and I know he’ll tell me the test says to keep my eyes covered. He returns in an hour and tells me he must draw blood. Can’t you just take it from my nose, I ask?
Still and always the wise ass, he says and jabs me hard, missing a vein but hitting my funny bone.