Miss Crankypants, in need of some expensive Chinese torture, is just back from a trip to the neurologist. Like many writers, she’s got numb fingers from typing all day. Getting tested for carpel tunnel syndrome basically means that a sadistic doctor gets to 1) stimulate your muscles so they jump around all by themselves 2) poke needles into said muscles, and 3) tell you this won’t hurt (much). It’s called EMG/NCV which stands for We Are Going to Watch You Squirm For the Fun of It.
When they make you sign a waiver before you go in, you know you’re in trouble. First they make you endure the torture of the wretched digital scale. Miss CP still keeps her eyes closed and hopes the nurse doesn’t announce the results as if she was weighing smoked turkey. Then it’s onto the boa-constrictor blood pressure cuff and the strip-search, I mean the donning of the open-backed gown. So far, all standard procedure.
From there it gets surprising. Nurse wraps a hot wet towel in a plastic bag and tapes it around Miss CP’s hand. Just warming the patient up, the nurse explains, and then leaves said patient, still wearing a towel mitt, alone in a room for the next few years. During this time, Miss CP counts ceiling tiles and solves nagging plot problems in her work-in-progress. So far, she’s only aged a little.
Finally, Doc comes in and makes small talk about MRSA, the deadly strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that kills thousands each year. Oh goody. The doctor removes the warming mitt, takes a tool that looks like a cattle prod and cheerfully begins to zap poor Miss Crankypants in the wrist, hand and arm. Miss CP puts on a brave face and says, “You’ll have to kill me to get the secret formula.”
Doc is not amused. She gets out these really long needles, then jabs them deep into Miss Crankypants’ flesh. Again, Miss CP winces but remains stoic and refuses to give anything besides name, rank and serial number.
She’s about to ask for a bullet to bite on when the neurologist says the test is over. The patient can get dressed. The bad news is that yes, Miss CP has carpel tunnel. The good news is that she won’t need surgery for a while. That neurologist doesn’t know it, but the next villain Miss Crankypants writes will torture innocent people for the fun of it, just to watch them squirm.