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27 Jul 2005
So this weird thing happened to me on Monday.
I needed some blood work done. There is this place not far from my house – a reputable looking place – that is not associated with a hospital, but does lab tests and was recommended by my doctor. I went there to have my cholesterol checked.
I walked in and noticed how small it was. There were just three chairs in the little waiting room, and a stack of six-month old magazines. At the window where you talk to the receptionist was an old, old couple looking confused and speaking to each other in an Eastern European language I couldn’t identify.
I stood in “line” behind them and looked through the receptionist’s window. Through it I saw a floor-to-clieling plastic curtain like contractors use to control dust when doing construction work. Taped to the curtain was a bright red sign that said, “WARNING - BIO-HAZARD!!!” It had that awesome logo with sharp talons poking a skull-like thing.
I pause. What should I do?
The receptionist came out. She was wearing a cardigan sweater over a dress and was using the lapel of the sweater to cover her mouth and filter her breathing. She looked like she was escaping from a fire.
“NO NO NO!” she told us, wagging her finger. “No blood today. Too dangerous for infection!!!”
Hmmm… I consider my options. I assumed the older couple is doing the same.
Then the door to the back area swings open and a man comes out. He’s almost yelling with excitement. “It’s OK! It’s OK! You may have your tests done. No problems! Everything is fine! Do you have your insurance card?!?”
I slowly backed out the door – literally pushed it open with the laptop bag I was carrying – and walked into the bright sunlight on the street. Through the glass door I could see the lopsided conversation in broken English and Estonian (maybe?) and I wondered, “Should I save them?”
Sadly, I did not. And even now I wonder if they made it out safely.
I’m off to a proper hospital…