Wednesday, July 14, 2010

When I was an intern....

It was a balmy August afternoon. The temperature was hovering around 95. So was the humidity. The breeze, if you could call it that, was barely noticeable.

They lived near the top of the hill that overlooked town. Their house sat back a lane that was shared with the church that was at the top of the hill. The lawn was huge, but there was only one tree. It was at the northeast corner of the house.

From the outside, the house looked very small. It had an attached one-car garage, but it was almost as big as the rest of the house. It was one story tall and had what appeared to be a painted cinder block exterior. There was no front porch, just a couple wooden steps that led up to the screen door.

It was the summer before my last year of pharmacy school. I was working for an independent pharmacy about 25 miles from my hometown. Over the course of the summer I had made several trips to the local seniors to deliver their prescriptions. Most were to the apartments in the town's retirement complex. Occasionally I would deliver to an actual house. The pharmacy owner would usually have me stop by the local Tasty Freeze and bring back milkshakes for all of the employees.

Usually one of our front end clerks would deliver to this house, since it was on her way home. But Janet was on vacation this week. That meant it was me, the intern, who got to make this delivery.

Virginia had called at noon. She had run out of her insulin and needed it right away. James, the pharmacy manager, said that he would get it there right away along with all of her other medications that were waiting to be picked up. So at 12:30 I hopped in my truck and started on my way. Their house was only about 5 minutes away from the pharmacy, so I told James that I would be back soon. I asked if he wanted me to pick up anything at the Tasty Freeze. He just laughed and said to get going.

So I'm driving down the lane. There's an old beater of a car sitting in the driveway. An older Lincoln or Buick. A car that was fairly large. I parked my truck and hopped out, leaving the engine running. I walked up to the front door. It was dark inside.

I knocked and waited. A voice from the back of the house told me to come in. So I opened the door. That's when it hit me.

The stench.

I had never smelled anything so putrid in my life. It literally took my breath away. I turned to the door to get a little fresh air, then headed to the lady sitting at the back of the room.

She was wearing what could best be described as a tent with a floral design. I would guess somewhere in the range of 450 to 500 pounds (based on how large the people are on those shows on the Discovery Health Network). Her dress was bunched up in her fat rolls. Sweat soaking the cloth. I walked over to hand her the prescription bag, thinking I would be leaving soon.

I was wrong.

Her 400 pound son had stepped into the room and taken position near the front door. Then it started.

The questions.

One after another.

You see, Charles (the pharmacy owner) had helped this woman and her son out in the past. Virginia and Steve had not talked to Charles in quite a while, so they were wanting to see how things were going for him. They were shut-ins for the most part. The only time they got out was to visit the doctor.

So for two hours I'm trapped in this sweltering house (no air conditioning or fans) with two very large, smelly people who only want some company. Finally James calls to see if I had left yet, he needed me back at the pharmacy. That's when I escaped.

To see that my gas tank was almost empty. When I left the pharmacy I had a half-tank. But it had been running for two hours.

I eased down the drive to the main road. From there I coasted downhill to the gas station at the bottom. I fill up the tank and head back to the pharmacy.

When I open the door to the store, all of the staff burst out laughing. I had been initiated into the store. James has a gigantic smile on his face. He knows what he had just put me through.


Too bad for him that the smell had leached in to my clothes, so James got to smell Virginia and Steve until we closed at 6:00. Serves him right.

1 comment:

Phathead said...

That. Is. Awesome.

My boss did the same thing to me my first summer. Sent me to the 90 year old woman's house for a delivery with full knowledge that she does not wear clothes when it's above 80 degrees.

Not sure if I'll ever recover from that.