Going to urgent care if you’re sick is a real crapshoot. You may get treated for whatever ails you, but the odds are just as likely that you’ll contract something worse in the waiting room.
Case in point: MASH in Clarence. Today we’re at MASH because J has pockets of blood and either pus or mucus in his throat. Gross, right? Not as gross as this waiting room.
When we first arrived, the sound of coughing, at various tempos, pitches, and cadences, made my heart start palpitating. There is a sign that directs anyone coughing to wear a mask. There are masks placed strategically throughout the waiting room. At last count, we had six coughers and only one mask-wearer.
We’d been waiting for about one minute when a child began announcing he was going to throw up. Instead of taking him to the bathroom, which is clearly labeled and adjacent to the waiting room, his mom (Loud Mom) began to make a scene. “He’s going to throw up. Why doesn’t age matter for how fast they’re seen?! We need to be taken out of order! He needs to go in now!” Why, so he can vomit on the only physician in this office? While Loud Mom carried on, the receptionist got the child a bucket. He carried it to a corner and promptly threw up. No one took him to the bathroom. He did not wash his hands. And no one told Loud Mom that age would have worked against her child in a weighted system (but I really wanted to).
We’d been waiting about forty minutes when I started paying attention to Angsty Teenager. Angsty Teenager goes to a local, private, all-boys high school. He looks perturbed at having to exist. His mother wants him to tell her the dates and times of all his exams so she can put it in her cell phone (are you kidding me?!). Angsty Teenager is visually annoyed by having to be here. He blows his nose a lot and constantly touches his face. His mother has to remind him to wash his hands after he uses the bathroom. (I’m now understanding the exam/cell phone thing). His eyes appear bloodshot. After he wipes his nose with his hand, clearly unconcerned by his own contribution to the contamination of this waiting room, his mom pumps hand sanitizer into his hands. He looks at her with contempt, and I want to punch him.
About ten minutes after I could no longer observe Angsty Teenager without wanting to punch him, I asked J how he was feeling. He pronounced himself much better and decided we’d overreacted this morning. I advised him that I would punch him in the nose (instead of Angry Teenager) if he continued to say anything like that. He tried to convince me that punching him would cause more problems. I reminded him that we already paid for this visit, so we might as well get the most out of our money (and they have an orthopedist on site who can reset a broken nose).
At present, we’ve been waiting for approximately one hour and fourteen minutes. I’m dangerously close to putting a mask on myself, though I doubt it would do any good at this point. I’m hangry. I’m positive that J needs an antibiotic because if he didn’t have a bacterial infection upon arrival, he’ll definitely have one by our departure. And I’m debating signing myself in to get an antibiotic, too.