Clinic

Clinic: (n) a hospital department where outpatients are given medical treatment

Old Marion Webster always tends to leave out a detail or two in presenting definitions.

Clinics are not only places where people go to get medical assistance, but often find themselves frequenting due to poverty.

I’ve been to a clinic. It wasn’t because I doing research for one of my essays. No–I was busted.

Broke. Without bucks. Dollarless.

I found the experience to be humiliating–not because I thought I was better than all the other clientele. It was humiliating by design.

All the furniture was old, scarred, some pieces broken. The magazines were dated at least four years earlier, and had articles which had already proven to be incorrect. The candy machine was empty except for peanuts and Cheese-it crackers. The Coke machine was out of order and the coffee maker had a crack in it, so they could only make one cup at a time.

The nurses were volunteers who attempted to be cheery, but still conveyed a sense of yearning to get over their stint quickly and return to their normal lives.

The people around me were sick–some very sick. It made them look and act dreary.

I sat there and thought to myself, how easy it would be for people of substance and finance to just donate new magazines.

How about that church down the road which recently bought new furniture for their parlor–giving that old plush couch and chairs to this clinic so people would feel just a bit more comfortable as they sat for hours, waiting for a three-minute visit?

Would it kill the vendors to make sure that the candy machine was adequately stocked, and price it just a bit more reasonably for those who have to search longer for quarters?

How about giving them a new coffee pot, or taking up a donation to make the Cokes reappear?

I wasn’t angry over the indifference–just perplexed by the ignorance.

Now that prosperity has crept my way, I have a little extra money every once in a while that might seem like a gold mine for a clinic.

Maybe just buying flowers for the attendants to wear every day. Or if you worry that the patients might be allergic, purchase more colorful scrubs.

For some reason or another, rich people do not feel it’s enough to insult the less fortunate with mere poverty. They want to make sure the experience leaves a bitter taste in their mouths.

 

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Anteroom

dictionary with letter A

Anteroom (n.): an antechamber, usually serving as a waiting room.

Of course, we never call it an anteroom.

But I’ve had my fair share of being in waiting rooms. I think most of us have. Three occasions pop into my mind immediately.

When I was seven years old, my parents found a dentist about ten miles from our town who stubbornly refused to join the modern world of pain-free tooth care, and insisted that all of the chemicals and medicines that were injected into young children to relieve the discomfort of repairing teeth were going to cause a generation of sterile adults.

Of course, he had no basis for the theory, but my parents thought he was a pioneer and a patriot so they decided to use him as our family dentist.

I have two startling memories of this experience.

Number one was sitting in the anteroom, waiting my turn, hearing the moans and groans of other children subjected to the Neanderthal treatment.

Additionally was enduring both the lecture and the pain of having my teeth drilled by a gentleman who was certainly soon to be declared a medical dinosaur.

The second waiting room experience that pops to mind was when I was a mere nineteen-year-old, waiting for the birth of my first son. Having no idea of the process, and being surrounded in the waiting room by veterans of the procedure, I remember fidgeting until I forced myself to need to pee, and therefore being out of the room when the doctor came in to tell me of the birth of my child.

The third and final memory is a rather unpleasant one of being in the Emergency Room of a hospital in Mobile, Alabama, waiting to hear the status of my son who had been hit and run by a car. Being raised in the Midwest, I was filled with optimism, believing that the medical field would be able to put my little Humpty Dumpty back together again.

That night, over and over again, I was given bad news, each time deepening in darkness. Matter of fact I was so inundated with dreary reports that I nearly ran from the room, screaming, to escape the mania.

So when I think about waiting rooms, I realize that they are a perpetual paradox. First you have “waiting”–not the best profile for any human being. And then, you have a room, which normally has four walls, increasing claustrophobia and fear.

I certainly hope there’s no waiting room in heaven.

Don’t you?

 

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