When we arrive they call my name shortly after we find a seat that doesn’t have something sticky and wet on it. I am called into a cubicle where an overworked and sweatty, although nice, woman questions me about my insurance or lack thereof. I mumble that I have applied for Charity Care and that it’s in the works. Two years ago I was a contributing member of society with 2 jobs and insurance and was never looked down the nose at by pencil pushers.
We get up to locate seats again and have to squat in the corner of the room and wait for someone to get called so we can steal their warm seats. I pass the time by people watching and notice that other people are watching me. This disease has taken it’s toll on my looks. My skin is gray, splotchy, and I have deep set lines where there were none before. My hair is falling out. At first from the disease, then from the meds, then from the months of methotrexate injections. It is now limp and light and blow away hair. The kind of hair in my old life I would have noticed on someone and thought ‘ I can’t believe she went out of the house looking like that’.
There is an old woman who is very large in a wheelchair planted a few feet from us. Her son (?) pushed her there and then got as far away from her as possible. He looked so angry and I wondered if he was her sole caretaker. If so he needed a vacation, I could only hope he didn’t treat her badly at home. Two young girls sat to the left of us giggling and I figured they were there for a pregnancy test. They did not look sick. Every one else was in their 70’s and above. One man was talking loudly about all of his previous surgeries and his money issues, no one was listening but he had a captive audience so he just kept on talking.
A woman opened the door to the lab and called my name, loudly. We got up and when I smiled to say hello she cut me off and told me to sit in chair number 3. I usually just keep on being pleasant no matter what, it’s in my nature but I decided~ screw it. I’m tired of being nice to all the cogs in the wheels of the healthcare industry that could care less about me and more about when their smoke break is coming up.
I sat in the chair and my husband held me coat. I didn’t say a word. No small talk, this woman was getting no niceness from me. I didn’t even want to be here in the first place. Then she read the labs that I was to get drawn. Her demeanor changed and she smiled and explained to me that one of the tests she was very familiar with because she had it when she had problems with her kidneys. She then limped over and got the largest pee container I’ve ever seen and told me I had to catch 24 hours worth of pee. I almost started giggling, thinking of trying to catch this runaway pee. She took 8 vials of blood and talked to me about the snow and how everyone in this state is an idiot when it comes to driving in inclement weather. She kept smiling at me and now I was wondering what changed this cranky old woman into my best friend. What did she know about those tests that made her feel the need to be nice to me?