Thursday, May 8, 2014

Tales from Triage

Christopher and I spent a couple of hours at Urgent Care last night, making sure that the sinus/cold thing that is hanging out in the house wasn't anything more than that. (Happily, it's not. I mean... it's nasty, but at least it's just nasty and not worse.) We checked the wait times before we left home, so we knew it was going to be at least an hour, but that didn't really prepare us for the waiting room. Or the almost 2-hour wait.

You see, the waiting room at Urgent Care is used for triage - you take a number, get checked in, and then if you're not urgently urgent, you take a seat and wait your turn. I've only ever seen one person get sent to the front of the line, and I'm pretty sure he had an almost-severed finger.

So, last night, while Christopher was being forced to wear a facemask to keep his coughs in check, I was reading a book and watching the triaged crowd around the room.

The most obviously intriguing person was the guy who was probably in his 20s and seemed to be there with his mom. He had one foot up on the bench seat next to him and one of his toes was wrapped in tissue. (The other foot was in a Croc clog, but I can't fault him for that given the circumstances.) We heard from the doctor, later, that there may have been an issue with a speaker and "fireworks," which resulted in that toe's visit to Urgent Care.

There were a couple of small kids who were kind of hilarious - probably about 1 and 2 years old - very chatty and wanting to walk around and look at everything. I cannot imagine what it must be like to keep two little kids occupied in a hospital waiting room.

I have to admit that I was a little freaked out by the older woman who was brought in on a borrowed wheelchair because of a fall in her home. She had a scrape on her forehead, but the major issue was her knee - which she pointed out to the nurse was an artificial knee - which she had obviously done some serious damage to, because it was swelling and all sorts of purple. Oddly, though, the thing that most bugged me about her was her husband (I assume), who kept basically wanting to just leave her to deal with everything on her own.

But my favorite person in the room - from the point of having someone to watch - was the woman who stood up, walked over to a guy simply holding his cellphone in his hand, and told him that she wanted him to stop filming her. He looked up and said "I'm not doing that... This phone doesn't even have a camera..." (From where I was sitting, I'm pretty sure it didn't. It looked like it had less tech than my flip phone.) But that wasn't good enough for her. She proceeded to report him to the nurses on duty, who - I'm guessing due to some kind of duty - found someone else to come check out what was going on by walking stealthily by and stealing glances at the guy and his phone. The paranoid woman walked over and sat down on the other side of the room, with people between them, but kept looking at the guy. Then she paced. Then she sat down on his side of the room, again (which I really don't understand), before storming off to sit in the waiting room that is closer to the exam rooms. At which point the guy just kind of shrugged and kept on about his own business while kind of watching American Idol.

Eventually, Christopher got seen by a doctor. And by the time we walked out the Urgent Care doors were closed and there were just a few people left in the room. Obviously, we couldn't ask what happened to any of our co-waiters. I have to admit, though, that I kind of want to know what happened to each of the other people.

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