Excerpt from:
Red Flag 

Dr. DeMF 

As a child, I played hard, all out, all the time. And I got hurt, frequently; broken leg, broken fingers, sprained ankles, concussions, but none of these injuries were of much long-term consequence. 

But when I was nine, I was hit in the face with a baseball bat in an accidental sports injury. Nearly every bone in my face, sinus cavity and eye sockets, shattered. It was horrific and was just the beginning of the iceberg of long term health issues to mix metaphors. 

I heard the wooden bat hit me, I felt instant pain and have no idea how I kept my balance. Blood gushed out of my head like a fully charged firehose. I staggered the short distance home across the street. My mom opened the door to me, in my formerly crisp white parochial school uniform top covered in blood. I am sure I was a horrifying sight to see. 

It just so happened that a doctor was at our house, visiting my older brother. He immediately responded to my mother’s scream and came running. He quickly found the wound and put pressure on it to try to stop the bleeding while wrangling me down in the process as I writhed in pain from his touch of my fractured skull. 

He asked my mom to get some athletic tape from our first aid kit and he butterflied a very tiny cut on my eyebrow, the only outward wound, but the source of the enormous amount of blood that poured out of my little head, thereby stopping the exquisite crimson flow of blood. 

My mom was relieved she didn’t have to head to the Emergency Room. I was given an ice pack and I laid on the couch in my brother’s room with a coursing headache and all those broken bones in my face that were patently ignored. The screaming star of the show, the bleeding wound was quiet but the problems lurking below the surface were going to be a mess that just got worse with time. And, yeah, it hurt like hell. 

 The bruising, swelling, and cut healed in time, but still below the surface all those bones were knitting together all the wrong ways. My sinus cavity narrowed so much that I came to have constant, year-round infections, allergies, colds, you name it, I was permanently sick with anything head cold-related or adjacent. I should mention for context, I come from hearty people who are never sick. The contrast of my horrible year-round state of unwellness felt worse by contrast to me as I judged how everyone else in my family thrived, slept well, I mean, they THRIVED with good health. I felt like such a baby. 

I had almost daily migraines, I spent afternoons in the dark of my closet with a cold washcloth over my eyes. I missed a fair amount of school. My mom was very strict and I had to be very sick to miss school, so, if she acknowledged I was sick, you know I was sick. I just felt awful, for more than a decade. 

When I was in my early twenties and I had my first real job with health insurance, I was determined to figure out a solution for my terrible headaches. 

I found an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor and hoped that he could help me. 

My first appointment was pretty standard until he had to look inside my nose. He scooted one of round stools on wheels up next to me, opened his legs very wide and straddled me while he remained seated on the stool. Of course, he had to get close to me, to look up my nose but it felt so odd, too close. 

Maybe it was just me, but his downtheres region was right next to me, uncomfortably so. 

Turns out I needed, as I always suspected, significant sinus reconstruction surgery. The date was set and the days clicked by, closer to surgery. I needed to have a pre-operative examination two days before surgery. I was twenty-two, in very fit shape. 

This was during a very care-free time in my life, way before having my son, when I used to sun bathe in the nude, a huge rite of passage for me; the result of unexpectedly finding my at the time boyfriend home from work, sunbathing nude. I was surprised because I had never known anyone to sunbathe nude and it struck me as hilariously funny that he laid out naked on his lunch hour while on emergency call. He responded to the look of surprise on my face with a typical sarcastic response, “What? I pay the mortgage on this place. I can do whatever I want.” 

“Copy that.” I spoke in radio code, since he was on call. 

He insisted I try it sometime, that I would probably never wear clothes again. After he returned to work, I shyly, in front of no one, decided to give it a try. Damn it, he was right. 

It was funny when the tables had turned and I never had clothes on again, every time he entered the yard, I would be there, naked. It felt like I startled him a few times. My car was out there, but like me that time, I wasn’t expecting him to be right inside the gate between the outside world of clothed people and here a few feet inside the gate, naked. But there I was, temporarily located for the time being, until it got too cold. I was an invincible immortal at twenty-two. I didn’t believe wrinkles would ever catch up with me. 

I avoid the sun like a vampiress anymore because I am a delicate flower. 

So the day of my pre-op. I had blood drawn, didn’t seem like much of a to do. Then I had to report to my doctor’s office. I waited in the examination room. The nurse came and took my blood pressure and pulse. “The doctor will be in to finish your examination in a moment.” 

The doctor entered and shut the door. I was pretty sure there was some sort of policy maybe even a law that doctors would not be alone with you in the exam room but was too young to stand my ground with this assertive doctor. He instructed me to lie down on the examination table which I did, fully clothed. He was an ENT, why wouldn't I have on all my clothes? 

He untucked my shirt from my jeans. He asked me to undo my belt and pants so he could examine my internal organs. I have to admit, I had a lovely flat, tan belly back then. As he felt around to the top of my bikini panties-seemed like bullshit to me, but I laid there quietly. 

Then he reached up under my shirt and undid the front clasp of my bra and lifted up my shirt revealing my girls and felt them up in a very non-clinical, perverted way. He remarked, "You have beautiful skin." I questioned why he had to examine my breasts for sinus reconstruction surgery. He replied, “it’s standard clinical procedure.” I was disgusted and royally pissed off. He quickly pulled away and left the room. 

I pulled my clothes together and left, without looking back, furious. I drove straight to my boyfriend’s house and needed to vent about my creepy experience. I could not believe he sided with the doctor, “If you have your car in the shop for a new radiator, you want them to take the time to check your tires for your safety.” 

“That’s bullshit and you know it. There is nothing wrong with my tires!”