Wednesday, February 27, 2008

promises, promises

While my last post promised another forthcoming one, I failed. I've been on-and-off sick for the past few weeks, with my ailments ranging from the flu to migraines to severe anemia. I have spent more time in urgent care clinics than I care to think about, including two hours today.

When I originally went to the doctor the week before last, I first went to the urgent care clinic associated with University Medical Center. According to the website, it was somehow affiliated with the emergency department, which sounded weird, but as the primary reason for going was needing blood work done (and I could not get in to see my regular endocrinologist for two months), I somewhat naively assumed that they would be quicker at processing blood work, as they were attached to a hospital.

So, I get there, and it turns out that rather than the urgent care department being associated with the emergency department, the two are in fact one and the same. I filled out ER admission forms, and began to wait. And wait. After two hours (and I had not even been triaged at this point) I began to speak to the people sitting around me. Turns out that many had been waiting to be seen since the previous night. Several very ill-looking children were also waiting. The staff, one frustrated mother informed me, were doing the best they could by checking vital signs every two hours. I decided that waiting any longer here would probably not be helpful, that not only was it entirely possible that it would be twelve or more hours until I was seen, but that there were people there with much more severe problems than I.

So I decided to go to a regular urgent care facility. I drove to one, and after finding a parking space (no small feat--the lot was full and I parked in the lot belonging to another business a block away), as I was about to enter the building, a clearly disgruntled woman came out the door and told me, "Don't go in unless you want to wait six hours." I did not want to wait six hours, especially on top of the two I'd already wasted.

I called a friend (hi Travis!) who looked up another urgent care facility online for me. Once I arrived, I signed in and waiting 3 and a half more hours before I was seen. During my waiting time, several people who had been there before I got there got frustrated and left before being seen. But I waited it out. When I was finally called back, I was told that they could not even draw blood there, that I just needed to go to a lab the next morning and have blood drawn. In short, I had wasted a day.

This was before the flu and before the migraines. Maybe more on those (and the actual cause of my original visit) later. Incidentally, I am convinced that I may have picked up the flu from all those hours waiting in ERs and Urgent Cares. Gah.

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