Knowing it was a holiday weekend, I decided to go to the walk-in clinic today to check out my lingering cold/cough/exhaustion thing. I know there is a lot going around and I knew I'd have to wait a long time. I was too drained to drive, so my husband drove me, but ran errands while I waited.
There were five little children noisily playing in the waiting room. When the receptionist asked me my symptoms, she said you can add headache to it by the time you are out of here. The children all had to be under the age of 5 and at one point a mother did comment that they had been there over two hours.
The room was divided so that some people sat back to back. I chose a corner behind a book case away from the children. In my corner there was a poor young woman probably in her late teens early 20's. She had faced her chair to the wall, and tried to curl up in a ball to get as comfortable as possible. She buried her head in her arms coming out for an occasional cough or blowing of the nose. Poor girl was so miserable.
Diagonally across from me was this woman with long gray hair pulled back in a pony tail. She wore dark glasses and looked like a hippy.
One of the little boys broke our sanctuary by crawling under the chair. He came out with such a smile on his face that I couldn't help but smile back. The "hippy" said in a stern but not too loud voice, "Don't do that!". The boy was already halfway back around to do it again. The mother told him not to go under those chairs but just the ones she and the siblings were sitting in.
Unfortunately I made eye contact with the hippy. She told me all about the benefits of orange juice versus an actual orange, yet an apple has even more vitamin C, etc. etc. Then my phone rang. My husband was in the parking lot. I told him, "Don't come in here. There's too many germs." I was also saving him from this ear bending woman. He sat and read in the car.
The hippy heard and said, "No, don't let him in."
You know when I'm sick, I was thinking, I don't want to talk to anyone let alone strangers. Then she started in on the poor girl in the self made ball. "Do you have a vaporizer?"
"Huh? Me? I have a hot bowl of steam."
"You need a vaporizer or two and some lavender."
I realized this woman had a job potential. In large post offices there are these postal employees who will talk to the people in line and see if they need any forms to fill out while they are waiting or answer their questions and basically have them all set for when they get to the window clerk. This woman could do that. She could have them all prepped and ready for the doctor. She could even give her diagnosis. She clearly knew yesterday that she had a sinus infection but her doctor said no. Now, here she was at the clinic to prove her wrong.
The poor girl went back to her ball. I tried to look interested in the home magazines. I did not feel like reading, but less so talking. I tried not to think about the millions of germs that had touched the magazines. They should come laminated and be wiped down each time. I avoided eye contact.
In came a father, mother and older daughter. The hippy woman told them it would be awhile and that the healthy ones should get out of that germy place. They decided to take her advice, leaving the father sitting across from the hippy. She began to tell him about the benefits of oranges, apples and vaporizers. She said something about learning about healing powers and being able to send them across the world. The man engaged in her conversation and encouraged her healing powers. I wondered how she had not used these healing powers on herself, but it sounded like something new she was learning.
Mrs. Hippy went on to tell this man that even her daughter's dog was sick. She didn't stop there. It was the dog's own fault. He went into the garbage and ate some sanitary napkins. I was pretending to read a magazine and didn't dare look up at his expression. She went on and on.
At a couple of points the young girl ball and I exchanged eye contact, rolled our eyes and smiled.
When the man had to get up and fill out some paperwork, he did not return to his same seat, but decided to contend with the children, now down to only three.
For some reason (eyes in back of her head?), Mrs. Hippy had stood up at just the right moment and turned around and saw one boy kick the other little boy in the stomach. Now, I didn't hear any crying, but I did hear (as everyone else did), Mrs. Hippy, "HEY! You don't do that!" She woke us all up from our partial comas. "You don't kick people in the stomach!" The mother was young. She told her son that that was wrong and to apologize to his brother.
At this point Mrs. Hippy found it necessary to move to that side of the room--next to the man who had escaped. Although she had her sunglasses on she stared at the boy and kept staring. She had a frown on her face. I could not see the child. After a while, she felt it necessary to continue. "Do you know that if a grown up did that, that they would go to jail?" To which the other little boy said, "Yeah, for a long, long time."
A few minutes later she said, "I did not hear you say you were sorry to him." Again the poor young mother, did not say to the woman, "Mind your own business you old hippy." She told her son to apologize to the other.
Then Mrs. Hippy asked the other child's name. The mother replied. Mrs. Hippy called him by name and said, "Stop kicking your mother's pocketbook." Maybe this woman was actually a waiting room monitor, to keep everyone in line. The children were soon gone and finally the Hippy was called away. I don't want to know how she reprimanded the doctor if she did not agree with her diagnosis.
I turned to the young girl, "Well, that was entertaining."
She managed a smile and said, "It did help pass the time." I suppose it did. Maybe she was not a prep person, or waiting room monitor, but maybe she was entertainment.
I only have a virus. I don't want to be wishing for something serious but they can give you better medicine if you got something else. I did get cough medicine and she did tell me the type of medicine that I needed so this didn't turn into a sinus/ear infection. She said if not better in three days to come back.
I think the real reason why I was there today was just to experience this unusual woman who gave us a smile and for me, one last thing to write about in 2010.