Leper Colony

4 Mar

I am sick.  Not the oh, my nose is running and I feel blah sick, but the evil, ever-changing flu turned into bronchitis sick.  I sound like a frog going through adolescence, (which is considerably better than when I could hardly be heard), I feel like my throat has holes in it from coughing so much, I’ve had a ‘spit’ bottle as my best friend, and I feel like I haven’t slept in weeks. None of this is ideal (not that I ever enjoy sickness) timing considering I started a new job last week as a nanny and I have a huge amount of reading and assignments this semester.  The flu hit me late Thursday in full force and I thought, due to stubborness and bad insurance, that I could adminster OTC medicine and manage.  I was wrong.

Not only was I out of commission all weekend, but I was actually getting worse.  Follow the advice of your elders and wiser people, go to the doctor at the first signs of flu symptoms, don’t be stubborn!  I made an appointment, but couldn’t get in until this morning (Tuesday); must be flu season or something.  So I manage to drag myself out of bed after a night of cough-interrupted sleep and get to the doctor only two minutes late.  I check in and am  handed a mask (like the ones on ER), and told to sit in the sick section.  Yes, not only had I been given a visual sign of my sickness, but I was quarantined as well. 

Now, while I completely understand their precautions and the wiseness in this, I have to admit that I was slightly mortified.  I think I briefly checked my skin to see if I had indeed turned into a leper as images of outcasts flew through my head.  Okay, dramatic, yes, but I am sick.  So I put on my mask so I don’t infect the empty waiting room (It is 8:15 in the morning), and take my seat in the “I’m sick and I have cooties section.”  Maybe I would have felt better if I wasn’t the only leper; then again, maybe not. 

So after my exile and Michael Jackson face adornment, I was ushered back to my room to again wait.  The nurse tech then proceeds to ask, I mean interrogate me about my reason for visiting.  As I wasn’t feeling quite myself and not appreciating further being treated as a second-class citizen, I considered responding by saying, “I just came in for the nifty fashion accessory and do research on the effects of bias against sick persons.”  However, I know better and I calmly and sweetly croaked my symptoms as quickly as I could, grinned as she roughly took my blood pressure, and nodded when she left the room, apparently as eager to leave the room as I was to see her go.

Now, she could have been having a bad day or some other personal problem that was weighing on her.  We all have those days.  But this was how she acted the last time I was there.  My thoughts are that I have the incredible luck to see her on those bad days, she has those bad days often, she dislikes her job and sick people, or she is their secret weapon at keeping patients healthy because they don’t want to have such a sour reception and treatment when already feeling yucky.  Then again, maybe God is teaching me a lesson or using me to teach her a lesson or share His love.  My vote is the secret weapon theory, though God probably has some hand in it.

So I have now experienced what it feels like to be singled out because of something that is wrong with me, and that doesn’t feel so great.  Makes me appreciate my health and blessings all the more.   

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