Saunas are pleasant. Summer is pleasant. Working in an unairconditioned clinic in an exam room the size of an elevator is decidedly unpleasant. Our clinic, which is located in the bottom level of a large old building, has central heat and a/c. What that really means is that my office is freezing all winter, and as soon as the weather starts to heat up the exam rooms become stuffy little coffins. The temperature inside of the clinic hit 87 degrees this week–like working in the tropics, minus the ocean breeze and scenery. I spent all of my days this week sweating in my polyester jacket, trying to look attentive to my patients while secretly praying: Talk faster, so we can finish and I can open this goddamn door and get some air. Run-of-the-mill depression becomes mind-numbingly-dull depression, and poorly controlled diabetes goes from tedious to torturous. And any exam that involves bodily fluids or private parts…man oh man. Let me tell you, doing a pelvic exam on a very obese woman with yeasty, moist abdominal folds in a hot little room is not something I am looking forward to doing again. If I can survive the next few weeks, the building’s central air will finally kick in, and I’ll spend the summer in a frosty wonderland. Of course if last year was any indication, the central air will shut off before the last heat wave of the fall, and we’ll spend one more week of steamy hell before winter.
Working in a sauna April 25, 2008