Locked out.

Saturday afternoon I was running errands when my service called to inform me of an emergency. You may recall from previous blog postings how I feel about patients throwing around the word “emergency.”

“Okay put him through,” I said.

Even before he spoke a single word I could hear his breath quivering as though he was standing in a walk-in freezer. “Hello doctor, I’m sorry to trouble you on your day off but something awful has happened. I was in the emergency room last night and they started me on PEP.”

For those of you unfamiliar with HIV Post-Exposure Prophylaxis please see my previous blog entitled, Sunday morning bruch: coffee but hold the cream.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Friday night I locked myself out of my apartment, and so I decided to stay at the WSC (a bath house). I’ve never been there before in my life, but I had no where else to go.”

Now call me naive but I can think of several places in New York where you can find refuge from the cold without having to walk around in a towel. The YMCA, that German youth hostel on 20th Street or a park bench in Washington Square? Okay, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he lives across the street from that bath house, and he was intriuged by the line of teeth grinding, jittery-eyed men waiting to get in? I told myself, “Spinelli, I’m sure there are plenty of men who go to the WSC in order to get in a good work out and a peaceful night’s sleep”

Then he went on to explain that in the course of the evening he became involved in an orgy and had unprotected sex with at least two men. Swept up in the moment it took nearly an hour before he had the delayed realization that this wrong. With that he pushed off the remaining naked bodies, freeing himself from temptation of illicit sex and raced over to the emergency room for help.

The lesson here is if you ever find yourself in need of a place to stay, a bath house is never a good idea unless you are looking for sex. And if you are looking for sex then good for you. Just be safe. Then we can stop with the pretense and start talking about things that really matter like your health or Madonna.


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