Published in TriQuarterly
“I am not afraid of doctors.
Sitting in the only unoccupied chair at the allergist’s office—straight-backed and wooden, a torture device more fit for my late granny’s dining room—what I must grapple with is my fear of paperwork. It’s my first time here, there are four full pages of questions on the clipboard in my stiff, shifting lap, and what I am experiencing is not fear in quotation marks. This is not the setup for an insurance joke or commentary on today’s tragic mix of bureaucracy and medicine. This is real, sour stomach fear.