Subourbon Mom


Waiting Room Wonderland
August 18, 2021, 5:30 pm
Filed under: Misc. Humor | Tags: , , ,

I thought you should know that I have a new favorite place to people-watch: the walk-in clinic waiting room.

This is so much better than the airport. People aren’t happy or sad – they’re mostly embarrassed, which is WAY more fun to watch.

When I went in the other day to get my special assistant Prednisone, the waiting room was pretty full, mostly with older people.  While I was waiting to go back into the examination room, I got to listen to everyone who came in have to explain why they were there. I don’t know what HIPPA laws cover, but we could all hear everything.

One poor guy about my age shows up and when the intake nurse asks why he’s there, tries to whisper, “I have blood in my stool.” Apparently, she didn’t hear him because a few seconds later he whispered loudly, “I have blood in my stool!” I had to hide a smile. In my house we openly talk about pee and poop and periods and all kinds of bodily functions, because…we’re gross. This poor man was clearly not used to that at all.  All I wanted to say was “Dude, we all heard it…we all heard it. Just relax.”

An elderly woman came in with her husband and sat in the row of chairs behind me.  I couldn’t see her, but I could hear the anxiety in her voice as she asked her husband or companion a lot of questions. Right before I was called back, I heard her say, “What do you think is happening back there?  I see all these people coming in and no one coming out!” Her companion gently reminded her that there is a pandemic going on and that they are trying to limit contact with patients.

I asked myself, why bother? Based on our proximity in the waiting room, I already knew somebody probably has an ulcer and that the lady three seats over has a UTI.  

The next guy called up was an 80-year-old man, his hand wrapped in a bloody towel.  I turned all the way around, openly gawking.  This was going to be good.

“Why are you here, sir?” the nurse asked.

“Well, see, I was in my garage using the power drill and I slipped.  It went right through my finger. I just need somebody to look and see if there’s any metal in there.”

“Does it hurt?” she asked.

“Yeah, it hurts. It hurts a lot.”

“Sir, do you have a hole in your finger?”

“Yeah, but it’ll be all right. My wife said I had to come in and get somebody to check it.”

This, my friends, is what makes the Silent Generation almost as great as the Greatest Generation. I’m not being sarcastic – the man was working with power tools at 80, drilled a hole into his finger and was only at the doctor’s office, not the emergency room, because his wife made him go.

For a moment, I almost got up and left with my little face cut and my vanity, but vanity won. I stayed and, with great humility, shared space with the Clint Eastwood of my town.

Don’t underestimate the power of people watching. I never thought I’d walk out of the doctor’s office that day feeling humble and grateful for my health. Airports are good, too, because people are often at their extremes. You can’t help but feel better about yourself as you smugly sip your nasty Seattle’s Best Coffee and nibble on that $12 bag of Cheeze-Its. People can be fun – sometimes you just have to stop interacting and watch.


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