One thing I've learned about HMO doctors, you really have to beat them with a stick to keep them on track. Especially if you bring a curious sixteen-month-old into the world's tiniest exam room, a room that is just big enough for a full-size exam table and one latex glove. My regular Friendly Old Guy doctor was booked so I got Fluffy-haired Woman Who Gives Small Children M&Ms; (that's her Indian name). She did that half-listening thing, watching Jackson stick Q-Tips halfway into his brain, and taking cursory notes and going, "Uh-huh, uh-huh, oh that's normal, aren't you just the cutest little guy!" [PERSONAL PREJUDICE COMING YOUR WAY] The only doctors who really pay attention are the Ayurvedic guys, or the traditional Chinese medicine gals, the people who know that if you have bumps on your tongue then your heart chi is irritated, and they give you an herb, and you take it forever and then you don't have a myocardial infarction fifty years later. But you go to the HMO because they'll give you blood tests and X-rays and sew your arms back on after the combine accident. [/PERSONAL PREJUDICE]

Since my weird-feeling arm symptoms weren't adding up to anything more than a suggestion to try carrying Jackson with my other arm, Dr. Fluff was getting ready to pack up and go, but I finally got her attention by mentioning a few recent bouts of (God, I don't even want to say it here so I'll overemphasize it typographically to make a big visual joke out of it)


I really didn't want to play that card (because I'm not a god-damned whiner -- well, I'm kind of a whiner -- honestly, if I'm anything I'm more of a sniveling apologizer -- and I have bootstraps! I can pull them up! Look! All better.) But she really snapped to when I laid that motherfucker down. She tapped her magic swami maracas on my head and said, "Let's do some blood work."

So the good news is I don't seem to have bovine spongiform encephalopathy, but I may end up with a scrip for a gallon jug of Zoloft.