You might be cool, but are you “kicked out of a colonoscopy clinic” cool? There are probably some sort of laws about sharing someone’s medical procedures with the public, but having reached a “certain age” it seems like our peers are all taking preventative measures. Skin screenings, mammograms, and yes, colonoscopies. If you remember leg warmers and mullet hairstyles, it is probably time to schedule yourself some procedures. Our warranties may not be up, but the check engine lights are definitely coming on.
Mr. Wonderful was taking his turn in the “welcome to midlife” adventures. I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty — because ew. Suffice to say that we arrived at the appointed time and proceeded to wait an hour and a half past his scheduled appointment time. I was fine. Cool, calm and collected. I was just a driver, so I had eaten breakfast and was happily sipping my coffee.
It was a quiet bunch as time ticked on. I was actually enjoying a morning television show on the waiting room television. Around me, people filled out paperwork, knitted or read quietly. It was not by any stretch of the imagination a rabble-rousing crowd. I guess no one is in a real big hurry to get to their colonoscopy? Nonetheless, I was surrounded by people who hadn’t eaten in 24 hours, and many of them were fighting for access to the waiting room’s only restroom.
Suddenly, with no warning, a staff member was waving her hands at us like she was herding cats.”If you are here for a procedure SIT OVER THERE. If you’re a driver you need to LEAVE AND GO TO YOUR CAR!”
I’m not kidding when I say we were suddenly all up and at it, moving en masse toward the doors. I waved to Mr. Wonderful in the melee. “See you on the other side honey!” As we swept toward the doors the sweetest lady looked at me, utterly confused, “what did we do? I was just reading!”
So there I was in the parking lot with my posse of fellow banished drivers. It was a mild autumn day so we stood outside our cars chatting. Super sweet ladies. I wouldn’t mind joining their gang. We were a very intimidating group of knitters, readers and a person who was now sure she would never know the answer to the Morning Show “Trivia Teaser.”
It was all just a funny scenario to me personally. I get some of my best material out of just this sort of thing. Until the situation took a turn.
One of the ladies expressed that she was terribly nervous because running hours behind schedule was an obvious issue for her diabetic spouse. Moreover, when they separated her from him they took away her ability to monitor how he was holding up. I assured her that those inside were medical professionals and certainly on top of things. She remained nervously unconvinced. We then suggested she run back in and explain the situation to the staff. Her reply, “I’m scared to go back in there. What if they get mad again?”
It hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. THIS is why kindness matters. Why it’s not necessarily what you say but really is how you say it that matters. When people — patients or their advocates in particular — are frightened to address very real concerns, the system is broken. Our parking lot pep squad hyped her up and sent her back in to speak up. I assured her that they probably wouldn’t be so brisk again, but also promised if she wasn’t back out in an hour, we would definitely send a search party.
I blame social distancing for forcing us out. That I understand. I didn’t mind being kicked out of a colonoscopy clinic. Personally, it was hilarious. Mr. Wonderful is perfectly capable of waiting his turn solo. Moreover, I love to hang out in my car. It’s like my happy place. Don’t threaten me with a good time.
What I do not understand was the way they went about it. I wrote recently about kindness and received many wonderful messages and responses. I do think that it is not too much to ask our medical providers and their staff to err on the side of kindness too.
I made a quick call to the manager, yes I did. Not to say “heads will roll!” Rather, to suggest, nicely, that they might want to rethink their delivery. They took my suggestions VERY well. I was relieved.
Everyone came out safe and sound. Our children think it’s hilarious that mama got kicked out of a colonoscopy clinic. Frankly, this is the most exciting thing to happen since I got kicked out of a college bar eons ago.
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