I had noticed when I woke up that morning before Kissin' Cuzzins that a minor skin irritation I'd ignored since the final weeks of tour had catapulted into a full-on rash of some variety. And since this rash now hurt, altering my walk and how I put on my underwear, I decided it was time to take full advantage of my health insurance and see a doctor. I had only used my insurance for beak cleanings before, so I was eager to see how good (or bad) my coverage was, and get a glimpse of the American health care system in the heart of Florida.
I visited my nearest urgent care clinic with the fitting name, Doctor Today. With a name like that, I figured the trip would be a success. When I checked in with the receptionist, she asked if I had an appointment. I didn't know you could make appointments at urgent care clinics - if one needs urgent care, doesn't he just go? But as I sat in the bland but spacious waiting area, I saw the wall's advertisements - I could basically get anything done there, from starting a weight loss regime to having a baby. And everyone was so happy on their posters: exercise looked like a blast, having that baby seemed joyous and painless, and who knew an HIV test could make one just giddy? It seemed like I was in for a real treat when I was admitted.
|That's a hell of a garden.
When I first sat down, only an elderly couple sat waiting. But as time passed, more Lakeland locals trickled in. A super elderly couple shuffled in, careening around the waiting area with sunglasses on, disoriented, brushing against my legs even though the room had at least 15 feet of empty width. Then came the typical overweight, scantily clad, chain smoking, uber-loud and abrasive middle-aged woman. She was outraged about a copay and waiting and we all heard about it... Okay, maybe the old people didn't hear. Finally, an exasperated out-of-breath woman lumbered in from the heat. She asked the receptionist something about her family being accepted there, and when she got a "yes," she opened the door, whistled and hollered at her husband and son to come in from where they were standing, at least 50 feet away. The two young men pushed in, looking about the same age at first glance. At second glance, they looked the same age. At third glance, they looked the same age. This confusing bush of a family tree in front of me didn't make sense. Dad must have matured early and fathered this boy at age 10. Mom continued to tell the receptionist about just arriving from out of state with no car, no money, no jobs and her son was having pain again in his mouth after a childhood fall years prior. After filling out the first part of paperwork, workers at the clinic called for Natalie in the waiting room. Each time, mom and son were outraged that anyone would call Natalio that girl name. Natalio rambled on about how nobody reads full words anymore and mom angrily filled out more paperwork. With no money, car, or job, I have no idea how these people arrived at Doctor Today since central Florida lacks public transit, let alone a free one. Thankfully, I was summoned as the family began bickering about Natalio's step mother. Looks like mom remarried a high school student, which may or may not be better than when I thought a 10 year old fathered a child.
|Natalie. ... Natalie.
I saw the doctor no more than five minutes. He only had one question of small talk: asking what I did. When I replied about Hens on Ice, he remained silent. He didn't even mutter an "oh." Neither of us smiled like the advertisements. But two hours after my arrival, I left triumphantly with a prescription that will hopefully cure my feathered rash. I hope Natalie gets better, too.