In my less-than-good moments, I am somewhat of a jerk. (I was going to put something else, but want to keep this rated PG). Take, for example, last Friday. I was scheduled to get an MRI on my left shoulder, which got injured in a minor auto accident. Since I generally follow a rule of “On time is late,” I arrived a few minutes early.
Which is funny, because I have had appointments at medical facilities before. The most consistent thing is how off-schedule they tend to run. For them, it seems, the “On Time is Late” rule is actually, “On Time is–not us.” Whatever. A minor inconvenience and a first-world problem.
My check-in time was 2 pm, and the procedure was scheduled for 230. Fine. In medical terms that means my check in is at 2 pm, and my procedure sometime after 3. However, Friday was meant to be a special day.
As the day got on, I started not feeling terribly well. Nothing big, just sort of icky. Went to the MRI anyway. As I sat waiting, every once in a while the lights would flicker, followed by a huge clanking. Since I have had an MRI before, I guessed the noise and lights were the machine probing someone else. However, interspersed with the loud noise and the flickering lights was a sound light a huge cat coughing up a fur ball.
In the next room, I could hear voices asking someone if he felt OK. Apparently he did. This went on for several minutes. The hacking, the questions, the answer. A mini game of Groundhog’s Day. With a lot of phlegm.
At about 245 (early-late!), I got called to the second waiting room. Because it makes us feel better to be moved from one spot to the other to do the exact same thing–wait. Whatever. Minor progress, I guess.
The nice young woman who took me back explained that I would be changing into a gown. I asked her how long this part of the waiting was, because the first part was such a blast, and she said, “I have no idea, honestly. We’re really far behind.” She then said I could wait while she found out how long it would be. I told her I would not be putting on the gown at this particular time, which gave her some pause. “Yeah. That’s smart. I wouldn’t either.” She paused again, because the man was coughing. Again. “He just got over pneumonia.”
She left. I stayed.
Happy, happy, joy, joy!
The good news is that I was now into close proximity to this gentleman. Some of the personnel kept asking him, “Are you sure you’re OK? You sure? Really?” Because, as you know, you have to be still in the MRI thingy or it doesn’t work. Coughing does not still make.
I heard a crunching, chewing noise around the coughing. The gentlemen said, “No (hack), this cough drop they gave me is really good. Really good. Did the trick.” Yep, sure did, as evidenced by your only coughing five times in a row instead of ten.
The woman who had been attending to me came back into my little closet. Yes, I stayed in the closet where the gowns were, because there wasn’t anybody in there working whatever he was working out of his throat. And there was a bench-drawer thing. Deal with it. Anyway, she looked at me with now-tired eyes and said, “Well. It’s gonna be a while. There are a few people ahead of you (a few! yay!). And, well, we can’t find the doctor.”
Huh. That’s a new one.
“Would you like to reschedule?” No, no, thank you. I would rather sit and wait by someone who is “just” over pneumonia (whose gown is not closed in the back, but nice boxer shorts), when I am really starting to not feel well, and this is going to be probably another hour before I go in to a machine with very tight walls and, because I am a bit claustrophobic my brain tells me I am trapped in it. No, no. I think we are good here.
Then, it hits me what ungracious and un-called-for thoughts I have been having. I realize how much negative energy I know I projected. That these woman might have had a long day as well, and that even if my afternoon was inconvenienced, I don’t have to be an ass.
So, I take a breath, and say, “Sure. That would be great. Thank you for all your help.”
Here are some takeaways from that experience:
- I forgot what grace and mercy look like, and that I could have had and shown more
- I am a pain for all things medical (see first point above)
- If restaurants ran their operations like many medical facilities, they would close
- I am a pain
- I could have prayed for that man’s healing, for the people working there, and for my own patience