Jun 23

Adventures in Healthcare: Northern Ohio Edition

I woke up Friday morning, the first day of my four day vacation, with a sore throat.  Uh-oh, I thought to myself.  This won’t be good.  A shower didn’t help, neither did the 7+hour road trip I’d taken the day before from Chicago to Ohio with my brother and sister-in-law’s boisterous but loveable dog, Walter, to whom I am very allergic.  I did everything I could – purchased the Zyrtec plus congestion meds that I was put on the national meth registry for buying, sat in the front seat, etc.  By Friday afternoon, the sore throat had migrated down into my chest and I hacked like a life-long smoker with a breathing problem.  By the time we’d arrived at my family’s lake house Friday night, I knew I was in trouble.  (For those who are regular readers of my blog, this is the same place where I had my eyebrow threading adventures last summer.)

Classy Wendy's

I may have slept two hours total.  I got up at 4 a.m. and started researching nearby urgent care facilities and Googling the symptoms of bronchitis.  Then I waited for people to wake up.  My mom drove me to the nearest urgent care facility that was covered by my insurance.  It was 15 miles away and past a bunch of farms.  We pulled into the (completely empty) parking lot.  Strike one.  Apparently, “urgent care” is only available between the hours of noon and 7 p.m. We had another hour to kill, so we drove to Wendy’s for a fountain drink.  And not just any Wendy’s.  The Zagat-rated Wendy’s.  Nothing but the finest, I say.

At quarter ‘til noon, we are back in the parking lot.  This time, we’re accompanied by a rough-looking streetwalker who may have been high, a chain-smoking, hard-living woman with knee pain, and a family of four on vacation with an unidentified ailment.  We line up and I start to think this was a very bad idea.

At noon, the doctor (singular) arrives and opens the doors, puts on some country music, and asks if I have insurance.  Then I’m given a clipboard with forms to fill out and assigned to room 1.  The building was clearly not intended to be a health center.  There were gym floors and a high rafter ceiling that reminds me of M*A*S*H, but with Lady Antebellum playing.  A nurse in Care Bears scrubs (no joke) came in and takes a brief medical history.  Strike two.


The gym/armory/health center was divided by pegboard.  You know, the thing you hang tools from in a garage?  Yeah, those were the “walls” of each patient “room.”  There was a soda fountain-esque table and chairs for the nurse and the patient to chill at while vitals were taken.   One milkshake, two straws, please!

Is this a gurney in the death chamber?  Nope, it’s the exam table.

What’s a grill doing in the exam room?  Oh, wait, my bad – it’s a Kobalt tool table.  Which totally makes sense, given that I’m being treated for a sinus infection and bronchitis in a garage.  Wtf.

I got my prescriptions, along with a stern warning from my doctor to not give in to “nose addiction,” which is apparently a real thing that happens with the nasal spray he just prescribed.  Can you picture it?  My nose trying to get more “nose candy” – just one more hit, c’mon, you really, REALLY like to breathe through both nostrils.  You know you want to.  It feels so GOOOOOD.

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