How to spend a gorgeous Palm Sunday…

..in the med station.

Yes, that would be correct. I spent my Palm Sunday afternoon waiting… and waiting… and waiting.

I went to bed Saturday night with an incredibly itchy eye. I thought maybe there was a scratch on the cornea, or a dog hair or eyelash caught up under the lid. Turns out it was pink eye. If you’ve never had pink eye in your recent memory, feel blessed and grateful. It was the most miserable thing. I couldn’t go to church, or work. ( I am a cashier for a grocery store, and I can’t touch people’s food with contagious conjuctiva.) I am living in fear of being fired right now. I’ve had to call in a lot already in 2008, and they (management) are starting to crack down on repeat call-in offenders and sack ’em.

So how does one spend ones time in the local Urgent Care Center –a.k.a. the med station? Well, first off it may be worth a call to your own doctor. This should be common sense given the environment of HMO’s and PPO’s and all their rules. But if your insurance has lax rules, or you have no coverage, try this then.—->

Next, call the med station you want to go to. Depending on where you live in town, there’s a good chance there’s more than one nearby. Why bother and do this? Couple of reasons, and I learned this the hard way last Sunday. A) You may just want to go to the ER, especially if you suspect broken bones B) You’re sitting on the fence about whether what is bugging you is worth the trip in, the co-pay, your time, etc. C) Find out how many patients are waiting, and how many doctors or PA’s are on staff that day. I’ll cover more on this later.

Okay, you’ve decided to go to the med station. You are in some level of discomfort, for some reason or other. A) Bring something to occupy your mind, hands and mouth. Sure they have some magazines, but they’ve been touched by a whole months’ worth of flu-bug sickies. I’m not really germ-phobic, but there’s got to be a limit, yes? Bring your word search, knitting, crochet, crosswords or something else you can stop doing right in the middle of doing. (Did ya get that? make sense?) Moving on… Your mouth: bring a bottle of water and a snack, unless of course you’re puking your guts out, then that’s not such a good idea. A bucket would be good for you then. Anyhoo…Chances are you won’t find complimentary Beaner’s coffee and muffins.

One should avoid bringing this to the med station unless ABSOLUTELY necessary and I’m not joking. You’re whole family and their cousins! There isn’t room enough in the waiting or exam room. People are sick and they don’t want to watch someone else’s kids go completely wild. Even happy children will drive a person bonkers after enough time. Think about it.. you are one of the flu-bug sickies, and there’s this 7 year old next to you pretending to be the next Michael Jordan, or, worse, Einstein. There is nothing for them to do here, except get on people’s nerves. The TV, if there is one, is probably on CNN or a private medical show closed circuit loop. If the yungun’s must come, pack a suitcase– not kidding here either– filled with books, snacks, drinks, toys, a blanket or pillow, hair brush and pony holders. Why the hair stuff? They can play beauty shop and do each other’s hair.

Now back to why you should call ahead about the patients-in-waiting and the MD’s on for the day. I called ahead, to see if the phone nurse thought I might actually have pink eye, and we concluded I should be seen. Phone Nurse asked which Center I wanted to go to, since I’m halfway between two. She said there were 9 patients waiting at “A” and 9 at “B”. I said “So, I should bring something to keep me busy while I wait?” What I didn’t ask was: how many doctors are in the Center today. It turns out “A” had only one; “B” had three. Guess where I ended up? Yup, that’s right, at “A”.

I decided to wait a bit at home, hedging on the thought that if I stayed home I’d not have to wait as long in some uncomfortable chair, with a bunch of flu-bug sickies trying to whisper loudly over the chattering, clanging, crying, whining, bored children sitting three chairs away. I was way off on that one. The med center was still packed when I got there. After I had finally been seen, and discharged and at the counter to pay my co-pay, I asked the nice young man sitting in his quiet cubicle just how long I’d actually been there. He checked. It was exactly 3 1/2 hours.

Driving away to a pharmacy that kept late Sunday hours I thought to myself, “I wonder if I should have just called my eye doctor to call in a script for pink eye instead”. I called Monday morning to find out; sure enough they could’ve done that. O, I did get 12 rows on the blanket I’ve been crocheting done.

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2 thoughts on “How to spend a gorgeous Palm Sunday…

  1. 1) first time with pinkeye? I can always tell it’s arrived by the fact that my eye is cemented shut with gucky stuff in the morning.

    2) I always think the people in the med center waiting room are all sitting around trying to look sufficiently ill. but maybe that’s just my own baggage.

    3) I heard that they are going to make one of these pinkeye meds OTC.

    4) can they really fire you for being contagiously diseased? or is it the cumulative factor? (saturday AND sunday?!) But seriously–don’t you have a union?!

  2. In Response:
    1) Yes, first time as far as I know. I don’t ever remember having it before; the yungun’s have though. My eye was not sufficiently gunked shut; just itching like a yeast infection meets athlete’s foot on steroids.
    2) I try not to notice the other people in the waiting room; eye contact is just freaky there. Makes you look like some sort of stalker/weirdo
    3) OTC would have been nice. The Rx receipt said it would have cost over $63.00 for generic. Glad to have co-pays on that one.
    4) No, they couldn’t fire me for being contagious, but they could require I show documentation to prove my illness; and yes, the overall calendar year 2008 has not been good to me. Yes, there is the union (ggrrrr) and they have loosened their reigns on how tightly they control the rules for firing people. So, being a member doesn’t guarantee absolution and immunity.

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