I placed my keys, iPhone, iPad, Moleskine, G2 pen, and spare change into a plastic pan and the hospital security guard waved me through door that was framed with a metal detector.
As a side note, you probably haven’t chosen the correct hospital when you have to go through a metal detector just to enter the ER, but my health insurance company forced me to change hospitals which forced me to change insurance companies, but my new coverage didn’t kick in until today, so yesterday I was stuck with a hospital that resembles a prison more than a healing facility. I had a raging sinus infection that just wouldn’t wait.
“Step on through, sir.”
Beep. Beep. Beep.
“Do you have anything else in your pockets, sir?”
“Cough drops.” I showed him a handful of cherry flavored Halls.
He waved a wand in front of me, and then in back.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
“Please lift your coat, sir.”
I sensed I was one beep away from a full cavity search. What in the world could be setting off this stupid metal detector? I don’t have on a belt. I have emptied my pockets. I don’t get it.
The security guard pointed toward my waist. “It’s that.”
Oh yes, I wear a Fitbit on my waistband everywhere I go to track the number of steps I take each day. I’m just not in the habit of walking through metal detectors, so that little booger almost got me into big trouble.
Once I got into an exam room, I explained my sinus problem to the nurse. She took my pulse, listened to me breathe through her stethoscope and checked my blood pressure. It was high. But yours would be too if you had been on the verge of a full cavity search just minutes prior.
A physician’s assistant came in, asked me a few questions, examined me, diagnosed my issue as a sinus infection and said he would write me a prescription for a ten day supply of Amoxicillin.
Before I left, he wanted me to watch a video about SinuCleanse. The browser on the computer kept crashing on him though, saying it was out of date (hardly a surprise). When he finally got the video going, it included a female actor who was wearing high-waisted jeans. I’m no fashionista, but I know that those puppies have been out of date forever. As the credits rolled five minutes later, the copyright notice said 1998.
The nurse returned with my prescription and she wanted to check my blood pressure again. This time it was even higher. She powered the machine down and restarted it. “The patient who was in here before you had really high blood pressure and I think those readings have something to do with your high readings.”
What in the world sort of ancient technology are we dealing with here? Good grief. How many patients (including me) in this ER have had faulty readings recorded in their charts due to such technology?
When the machine came back to life, she took my blood pressure again. This time it was 128/83.
“There we go,” she said. “You are free to go.”
It wasn’t exactly the way I intended to spend New Year’s Eve, but such is life, right? At least I got a good story or two out of it.
Lee Warren is a freelance writer and editor who has written twelve non-fiction books, one novella and hundreds of articles for various newspapers and magazines as well as edited more than 50 books that currently appear in print. He's a fan of NASCAR, baseball, tennis, books, movies and coffee shops.