My son and I are sitting in the waiting area of the local medical lab. We are sitting as close to each other as possible and not touching the armrests. We should be wearing cough masks over our faces.
Not because we might cough.
Because the other patients in this crowded room might.
Most of these folks are here to get blood drawn. There is always a line for that.
We are here for the radiology department, a place where appointments are made in order to have patients seen in a timely fashion.
We were told “15 minutes”.
These are medical minutes, which vary significantly from all other minutes.
Let me explain.
Vacation minutes have approximately 30 seconds in them.
Work minutes have 90.
Texan minutes run around 2 to 1 with football minutes at least 3 to 1. If a football game has 10 minutes left in the game, you can estimate sitting there with a leg cramp for about another 45.
This is to accommodate all the TV commercials and to encourage live fans to buy another beer.
Apparently, New York minutes are the fastest known, possibly holding a mere 10 seconds. You don’t want to blink in New York.
Dental minutes vary depending on your services. An hour cleaning will last about an hour, but a root canal has the potential to carry you into next week.
Medical minutes vary even more, but always in an expanding direction.
Sitting in a waiting room is about 2 to 1. “The doctor will be in in just a moment” means “He’s taking a call from his wife, he’ll get here when she stops talking”.
“The nurse will be right in with your shots” translates, “When she finds the right hypodermic, the bandages, the smiley face stickers, and waits an additional 10 minutes for you to work up a powerful fear sweat or a sufficiently crying child”.
Having you actual blood drawn can last for days. Never watch. Breathe deep.
Think vacation minute thoughts.
Our particular medical minutes this day lasted only “15 minutes” at a time but went on for an hour.
When directly confronted with this wrinkle in time, the receptionist stated that “once a patient has been checked in, he may not leave the building” but instead of just saying so up front, they wanted each and every patient to feel that their medical care was just around the corner.
We just couldn’t get there from here.