Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Day of Waiting . . . and Waiting . . . and Waiting at the Lab

Actually, it was only two hours, but it seemed like all day.
Once a year I’m sent to the lab for routine blood work. This year was no different from last year. Every year it’s the same:

I always manage to go on the day when only one phlebotomist is available, which means a two hour wait. And the only available seat for waiting is always next to the guy who (a) is a heavy smoker who stinks like the bottom of a filthy butt can, and (b) wears a tank top and spends way too much time stretching his arms over and behind his head.

I try to lean over the other way, but there’s a water cooler there and another man keeps drinking from it (I can only assume he must be trying to manufacture a urine sample). While he’s drinking cup after cup of water, he’s hovering over me and I can’t help wondering if he’s trying to read my Nookcolor over my shoulder, or pathetically hoping for a cheap glimpse of cleavage.

More people are called to the back than come out. This could be because the phlebotomist seems to only summon people who aren’t there. Like Ben Stein calling out in vain for Bueller, the phlebotomist will repeat a name several times, and even try different pronunciations of the name, but no one in that crowded waiting room so much as budges, though there might be one or two yawns. Finally she’ll give up and call out the next name on the list. Everyone still remains slumped in their chairs.

Where are these people? Why can’t she call out the names of people who are actually there? Like my name? I’ll spring up for anything that sounds even remotely like “Lingefelt” just to get away from Waterboy and Smelly Guy.

There can only be two reasons for this annoying phenomenon: Either the phlebotomist has today’s roster mixed up with the one from last Wednesday, or those people really are there, but they’ve long since lapsed into boredom-induced comas.

Sometimes it’s tempting to claim to be one of those people who never respond when their name is called, just to get in and out and on with my life. But who’s to say they didn’t sign in for something a lot more intrusive than blood work—which might even explain why they’re no longer there. They lost all nerve and fled after signing in.

I was the only person there who brought something to read. There were no magazines or newspapers lying about, and more than one person grumbled about how there should have been a TV.

Indeed, there was a lot of loud grumbling, mostly from little old ladies, about the long wait and how it was interfering with more important places to go and infinitely more interesting people to see. You’d think after eighty or ninety years on this mortal coil, it might have dawned on them that anytime they go to a lab or doctor’s office, they’re bloody well going to be waiting awhile and should plan accordingly.

I didn’t like the long wait, either, but reading helped pass the time and kept me from getting sucked into that gripefest.

I save my griping for this blog.