So there I was, head pounding, stomach growling with hunger and rushing into the hospital to get my blood tests done. I waited in the long shuffling line to get registered, I rubbed countless pumps of hand sanitizer on my dry and winter chapped hands. I gingerly sat down in the waiting room and tried not to touch any surfaces as I took my number and focussed on the television blaring away in the corner.
We have all been there. Fasting for blood tests, tapping our toes as the wait stretches on and our plans for the day start getting squeezed. And soon you get fidgety and the constant loop on the news channel gets old and you raise your eyes to the other souls you are rubbing shoulders with.
A young pregnant woman was waiting with her partner. She was trying to read a book while he fidgeted and paced the floor. Out to the bathroom and back. Over to the coffee shop and back. They whispered away and she tried to read her book and ignore him.
An old, agitated woman came in and snatched a number off the rack and started sighing as loudly as possible. Everyone averted their eyes and hoped she didn’t choose the seat next to them. She moved out into the hall with her paper bag and paced.
The nurse came in and called a handful of us into the lab room and we went. Crowded into the room with wet boots, wool coats and mittens on the floor. We passed over our numbers and tried to stay out of the nurses way as they flitted and flew through the patients. We gave them a wide berth and got our arms ready for the jabs. People came and went depositing their bodily fluids in small jars into plastic bins. Gray pallor and rosy cheeks. Young and old, tired and strong, patient and crazy, there we are, together.
A young nurse was trying to get some order to the overflowing room. “With the snowstorm yesterday everyone decided to come in today. We are so behind,” she said. “Number 14.” I am up.
And its over in the blink of an eye for me. Not for everyone else. Some will be wheeled back to their rooms in the hospital. Some will go and meet their doctors for whatever news is coming. Some will struggle through the snow with their walkers and canes back home. I rush along the salted sidewalk, confident in my strength as I take the stairs up to my car. The sun is making the snow sparkle, a quick glimmer of blue sky and I am grateful.