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How I spent last weekend or….
The waiting room at Urgent Care
I was actually on my way to Best Buy to ask why the headset didn’t work, got there, noticed that my left foot was numb.
I knew my ankle was sprained, at least, and nobody seemed to think it to be a big deal. Especially given the bigger deal of the rip-roaring pain throughout my left leg that was caused by the ruptured disk that was squishing the nerve- But the ankle did look kind of dramatic. Although swelling had gone down over the past week (it was a week ago Saturday that I slipped on it), the bruising was spectacular. I personally have never seen anything like it. It has been blue-black from my ankle to the bottoms of my feet including my toes. So, given that the bruising was still awesome and the numbness was new, I thought it would be prudent to go to Urgent Care at Kaiser (in the Sunnyside complex).
The Urgent Care nurse who checked me in asked to see it, I showed it to her (sounds like a porn intro). She immediately had me go get X-rays and blood-work and I was shuffled through those places and put in the Urgent Care waiting room.
It would seem that the short phrases “waiting room” and “Urgent Care” were paired together for maximum contrast in the use and mis-use of the English language. You could probably do a whole – never mind, I digress…
I noticed that the group around me stayed pretty consistent. New people arrived here and there. A couple times someone’s name was called and they were taken back to what I decided was the “Exam Area” (I made up that phrase- I am easily entertained). I never saw anyone come back out of this Exam Area. After being in the waiting area for about 45 minutes a nice young lady came out of the hidden areas where people were sometimes taken (the ones who were never seen again, as far as I know) and she announced that there was currently about a 2 hour wait for getting in to see a doctor at “Urgent Care”.
She apologized, smiled and went back behind the closed doors.
I began to speculate about the true nature of this hidden dimension I had so innocently and glibly labeled as the Exam Area- maybe it was actually a place where the “disappeared” were being dissected and barbecued! (Had I eaten anything yet today? Were my thoughts being perverted by hunger?) I remember thinking there was some grease on the scrub-top worn by the announcer lady.
I closed my eyes to try and explore the smells around me- was there a faint odor of BBQ?
I was shaken from this macabre vision by something that at first seemed almost as unsettling. Sitting across from me and seeming to notice me only as I noticed him was Jess from the hospital- our volunteer coordinator. I hadn’t seen him arrive, it was as though he had materialized from thin air. He said that he had a cactus thorn embedded in his finger. There was no mark that I could see but he explained that it was buried deeply in the flesh of the finger, had no egress from it’s lodging and was causing him pain and distress. I have no reason to disbelieve him except that his story was so outlandish. What is he doing handling cacti?
Time passed. I kept myself entertained with a variety of “Twilight Zone”esque stories that could take place in the Urgent Care waiting room.
I eventually got to see the doctor. He very quickly ascertained that I would need to go back to X-ray because when I had come in they had not taken pictures of my ankle. They did have good shots of my toes but he was uninterested in those.
Hours later I was sent away with a big apparatus they referred to as a “boot”. The numbness was caused by the inflammation and blood from a slightly torn ligament and something else that he tried to draw a picture of. The nurse told him his drawing was poor and unrecognizable.