Ten years of serious medical problems has led me to come face to face with my arch-nemesis: The waiting room.
I hate hospital waiting rooms. I hate the waiting part. I hate the waiting for what is probably going to be bad news part. I hate the outdated and strange magazines. I hate the uncomfortable chairs, the flourescent lights, the slightly odd and too-clean smell, the forms I have to fill out, and really, where in the world did that weird shade of green come from?
I have to admit, though, there is one thing I love about waiting rooms. It’s that, in moments of stress, my brain comes up with some spectacularly bizarre musings. I’ve taken to writing them down because they are invariably unique and often so funny that I get the giggles. I know it’s a coping mechanism, but I really like it.
The last round of waiting room hilarity was brought on by a very sharp pain in, wait for it…my butt. Stop laughing at me, please. Worse than a pain in my behind was having to answer the inevitable question of “How did you injure the area?” with “I have no stinking idea”. I did a ton of heavy lifting when we moved a few months back and it’s slightly hurt for a while, escalating to massive pain whenever I sat down. Since it became uncomfortable to lie face-down on the dog-hair covered floor for more than ten minutes, I decided I had to go to the doctor and brave the dreaded waiting rooms.
My sweet doctor laughed with me (and at me) and sent me to get some x-rays. In Colorado, we like to stress out our patients, so the x-ray clinic is all the way across town from my doctor’s office. When I gingerly pushed my way through the door, I was informed that they don’t “do” x-rays anymore and I would have to drive another ten minutes to their other clinic. Another painful drive and walk from the furthest possible parking spot, I was told that they would try to squeeze me in between their scheduled patiens and that I should “have a seat”. I wanted to cry and say, “BUT, the I CAN’T!”.
Forty-five minutes of waiting found me kneeling awkwardly on a chair, and leaning over as far as I could to take the pressure off my tailbone. Yes, I do realize that I looked like a total weird-o. The pain was building and the frustration of another thing happening finally caused my tears to start.
Right on time, my brain saved the day!
For years, I’ve wanted a “get out of jail free” health card that would allow me to not have cancer, chronic pain, endometriosis, or anymore surgeries. I’ve been the guinea pig, the medical anomoly, the pincushion, I’ve let student nurses ram needles up my arm, and I’ve puked in more hospital toilets than I care to think about. My chronic pain hangs around and since a hysterectomy and fake boobs with a only a 15 year shelf life, more surgeries are sadly in my future. Those are only the things I know about.
Since no more medical problems is only divinely possible, I’ve changed my mind on what I want.
I want a medical punch card. Like the ones you get from coffee shops where every tenth cup is free. But, instead of every tenth medical problem, I get a free one (shudder), on every tenth medical problem, I get to magically jump to the head of every single line.
I get front row parking at the clinic. My doctor sees me first. She sends me to the right lab on the first try. I get x-rayed first. The radiology team drops whatever they are doing and looks at my film immediately. They call my doctor with the results while I am driving back to my doctor’s office. When I get back there, I go straight to her office and she tells me exactly what needs to happen next. No waiting, no wondering, no checking my voice mail on my son’s birthday to see what, if anything, is broken this time, and certainly, no more mint-greenish yellow waiting rooms! If for some tragic reason, I DO have to wait, then I expect a masseuse to be on hand with a caramel mocha and chocolate-covered graham crackers, to make the wait as lovely as possible.
If I do my math right, counting all my surgeries, all my chemo treatments, all my mysterious chronic pain, endometriosis, six bouts of strep throat, and various other ailments, I’ll get to line-jump the next six trips to the doctors office.
This doesn’t just go for me, by the way. All of you people whose bodies believe that a state of turmoil is really fun get to participate.
It can happen, right?
Not to ruin the funny by being all serious, but I have been thinking a lot about what I can do to help and bless people, even though I have no money, a malfunctioning body, and very little kid-free time. Waiting rooms are so awkward and it’s hard to know what to do for the person who is in obvious pain, or a mama with a sick baby, or the sweet gentleman yesterday who had an advanced case of Parkinsons and patiently waited for his name to be called. So, next time I’m NOT the woman crouched in a chair with tears running down her face, I’m going to let someone else to cash in on my medical card idea and ask the nurse to switch our names in order of who to be called, allowing the person who is being asked to wait too long to go first.
It could be the one saving grace in someone’s day. If nothing else, it will give my brain more time to be funny and make others laugh. That is something worthwhile!