Here I was, sitting in the lobby of a typical American walk-in-clinic, a byproduct of our disastrous health system, waiting for a good hour or two, until I can be seen for this non-stopping cough.
It is not without irony that I am watching bits and pieces of “SICKO” while I wait. The movie came out on DVD this week and, since I missed a few minutes at the beginning when I went to see it on the theater and it was promoted as coming with 80-some extra minutes of new footage, I pre-ordered my copy last week.
After a $35 co-pay, a 2-hour wait and getting my name butchered when I got called (“Mandil Hernandez!!” or something like that, they said), I was finally ready to go in. It took a bit of explaining the person who received me and took my vitals that I was diabetic and, as a result of whatever it was that I had, I wasn’t been able to keep my sugars down. “So you are throwing everything up?,” she inquired. “No,” I said. “I am diabetic and I have not been able to keep my blood sugars under control, so I suspect I have an infection because I have a non-stopping cough and in the past couple of days, fever and body ache too.” Her next question made me realize it was a bit pointless to explain anything else: “Do you take any medicines for your diabetes?”
After this exchange, I was taken to the room where I waited a little longer, after which the doctor emerged through the door (finally!) to check me out. After asking me a couple of questions and listening to my lungs, he diagnosed me with an upper respiratory infection, for which he prescribed an antibiotic and a cough syrup. This interaction with the doctor took no more than 5 minutes… I was finally done.
So I headed to the nearest grocery store (Publix) that also has a pharmacy and discovered something interesting: The Little Clinic, a little pod conveniently situated next to the Publix Pharmacy. Reading about them on their web site I found they’ve been around for a little over 3 years and they seem to conveniently fill in a NEW niche that has emerged: the people who need to be seen for a small problem, but are too busy to wait, even in a Walk-In-Clinic. Go figure! There was NOBODY in line: nobody… I was going to burst in tears.
Anyway: now I know (I think). Unless everyone starts to go The Little Clinic from now on. That will make room for a new concept: The Microscopic Clinic.
In the meantime, I just got started with my antibiotic: I am too busy even to be sick!