I have an African doctor. Okay, let me back up a bit. Several days ago, I was apparently bitten by something kind of vicious as hell, and the bite swelled up considerably. The mark was on my left shin area, and at first it seemed innocuous enough, but within about 24 hours it became both blistered and infected, raising itself up a decent amount from my skin in the process. There was an angry red ring around the bite, and it showed hints of expanding its territory initially.
Early in the work week, I cheerfully raised my pant leg to a young female co-worker, fully intending to gross her out by showing her the bite, only to discover that it was suddenly quite a bit worse than I had thought. Within minutes, all the ladies (and the elderly IT gentleman, who had a spider story of his own) were crowded around my leg, peering through their reading glasses at close range at the bite. One of these gawkers was a former nurse, and she insisted that I should see a doctor to make sure it didn’t get worse. There were suggestions that the bite might even be the work of the dreaded Brown Recluse spider.
So just a few hours later, right in the middle of my work day (that part was pretty awesome, at least), I found myself sitting in an empty doctor’s office on that handy contraption they have that raises and lowers to suit the patient’s needs. The doctor’s aide had already done the preliminary preparation work; I’d been weighed, had my blood pressure and pulse checked, gone through a series of basic medical questions, the usual. Now I was just waiting for the doctor to come into the room.
Mind you, this was the first time I’d been to a doctor for anything in quite some time. I’ve been pretty fortunate health wise, I guess, but then again most 27-year-olds are usually pretty healthy. At any rate, I hadn’t been to see a doctor of any kind for years, and certainly not in the Neosho area I currently call my residence. The idea of once again having a personal doctor for the first time since I was a child and had yearly physicals with the good Dr. Holland was strange to me. As I waited, I found myself wondering who my new personal doctor would be. My first personal doctor as an adult; how exciting! Perhaps the two of us would develop a rapport and hit it off instantly. We might even become friends. Dr. Quist, the name was, but that’s all I knew.
I didn’t have the luxury of choosing the doctor, of course, since I had gotten shoved into the daily schedule on very short notice. I missed the name the lady on the phone gave me when she called the library back to tell me they were going to be able to fit me in, so I couldn’t get the scoop on him/her before I left. Believe me, my co-workers tried. “Was it Dr. Barnes? We all go to him; he’s fantastic!” “Could it have been Dr. Gordon?” Several names were rattled off to me with various levels of approval; I could tell that some of the doctors practicing in the small town of Neosho don’t have the best reputation.
So I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I was sitting there on the examination table with my legs dangling off the edge, my left pant leg again pulled up for observation purposes. I waited for that climactic moment when the door would swing open and in my new doctor would step. We might go through so much together. He or she could compile a detailed chart about my medical status throughout the years. We could establish a few inside jokes. Hell, if baseball and I ever decide to stop messing around and tie the knot, he or she could even attend my wedding! But first I need to know who this doctor is.
Finally, the moment came, and in stepped Dr. Quist. It was a he, and he was an African. I don’t mean to sound racist; if he were simply black, I’d say so. He wasn’t. He was dark, dark skinned with a shaved head, tall, slim, and pretty young; maybe in his early to mid thirties at the oldest. My first thought upon seeing my new doctor was: “Oh, good, Seal’s here to take care of me. Everything will be alright; perhaps he’ll even sing that Kiss from a Rose song and soothe me into a deep sleep before performing some kind of ritualistic chant that eradicates the poison from my leg.”
Anyway, Dr. Quist was really nice, and quite helpful. He didn’t seem to be too concerned about the bite; he figured a cold compress and a few different types of over-the-counter pills would help it go away on its own. He also recommended a tetanus shot, which I accepted and barely felt until the next day. All things considered, I’m really pleased with the doctor I ended up with. You have to love it when your doctor has an African accent. We’re going to be great friends for sure. I’m looking forward to going back sometime for a routine checkup; the two of us can reminisce about the spider bite. If it was a spider bite, I should say; Dr. Quist gave me a challenging look and asked me what made me so sure it was a spider bite when I described it as such to him, and I don’t want to disappoint him by continuing to call it that.
The 2012 Cardinals are a little like Dr. Quist. At least, I’m hoping that’s the case. All season long, we’ve been sitting around waiting to find out who this team is, hoping to be pleasantly surprised by what we find out. The bullpen has scuffled almost non-stop, the rotation has been hit hard with injuries to two very important pitchers, and even the potent offense went through a recent spell of ineffectiveness. You might even say they left us locked in a room for six weeks while we waited to discover their identity. Then came that big moment; this weekend, we may have been introduced to the true talent level of this team.
I’m not suggesting that this sweep against the Royals means the Cardinals are cured; no, they still showed signs of infection over the course of beating the baseball to death all weekend. The bullpen is not at all reliable, Lance Lynn has faltered in his last two starts, and Joe Kelly may not hold up very long as Jaime Garcia’s replacement. Even so, the team has rarely looked as confident as it did in Kansas City, and that’s a good start; it’s something to build on, and it may well lead to an impressive run. When the 2012 season is concluded and the Cardinals finish at 116-46 en route to being crowned back-to-back World Champs, we can look back and confidently state the title of this post to our friends and neighbors (since all our friends and neighbors are Cardinals fans; you’d better not have moved next door to some ugly Cub fan).
As for the (spider?) bite, it’s almost completely gone now, although it’s still a strange color and itches faintly. Let’s hope this bumpy stretch of 2012 was nothing more than a temporary issue like the one fading fast from my leg. It may have left an ugly spot on the Cardinal season for a while, but with proper treatment, no one will remember a thing by October. The team took a big step by pounding Royals pitchers (including their talented relievers) into submission, and now they just need to keep it going. I wonder if Dr. Quist is a Cardinals fan.