Sep 2, 2008

The Need for Urgent Care

So, my last post, the one where I promised to blog more, was in May.  This year, at least.

I've learned that its hard to keep a blog going when you are, let's say, a bit wordy.  I have several half written posts that never got posted because I was so verbose that I never got to the point I had in mind to begin with and I would have to stop because I had other work to do.

Other work.

I went to the doctor a few weeks ago as I had some kind of cold or flu or something like that going on. My wife went out of town to help her mom and dad with some things and I promised her I would see a doctor if I didn't get well in a couple of days.

I don't like going to doctors generally, but I especially don't like to go when I think I probably just have a cold.  Usually, you can't get an appointment with your regular doctor when you are sick all of a sudden, so you need to go to one of those clinics, often labeled "Urgent Care," where you get well acquainted with your wristwatch.  Be careful not to confuse "Urgent Care" with "Emergency Care," where the long wait is instead measured by a calendar.

The humiliation of going to Urgent Care with merely a cold begins upon arrival.  It starts with the smirk from the nurse receptionist, who considers you just one more in the line of hypochondriacs, and asks you for the reason for the visit.  This time, I responded with a lot of words to try to explain that while perhaps I am simply some kind of blockhead with a cold, there is the possibility that it may be a tumor or some kind of kidney disease, so I just want to do the smart thing and get it checked out.

After the long wait with the others in the post-nasal drip orchestra, extended by boredom due to the lack of up to date news magazines, they finally called my name.  I'm not sure why I have to weigh myself, but after that humiliation, they put me in the little room to wait again.  I always have a dilemma at that point as to whether or not to sit on that medical cushion top table thing with the butcher paper, or to just sit in the chair that is really there for your mom.  This time, I chose the chair.

As I waited for the doctor to come in, I read all the posters on the wall in the exam room.  Much to my shame, in this particular room, they all had a particular message for the patient.  I learned that there's nothing they can do about a cold, and once they determine that you have come to their office for nothing, they will educate you about why you won't be getting any antibiotics or pain killers and that everything you need is at the Rite-Aid right next to your house.  There is no urgency and there will be no care.  They will however make sure to thank you for bringing your germs into the waiting room and ask you for your full copay.

I also noticed this chart called Duration of Cold Symptoms:

I sat there on day 4.  Great.  I hope they don't have a pointer as they point that out to me on the chart.

Finally, the doctor, who is younger than I am, came in and instructed me to get out of the mom chair and up onto the butcher paper.   She took out her instruments and quickly looked in my ears, up my nose and down my throat. She quickly stood back and looked at me, but with a different smirk than the receptionist.

"So, what do you do for a living?" She said rather sternly.

"I'm a pastor" I said with a painful, scratchy throat.

She then took her pointer finger and pointed at my chest and said "You have a profession with no boundaries.  You need to go home and go to bed.  You have a sinus and an ear infection in both ears."

Initially, this was wonderful news!  I would not be the target of medical poster art; I am actually sick!

But what she said to me was truly profound and well, true. In 2007, I never took most of my vacation days.  I was already behind in 2008 and it had been a stressful year.  Its very hard for me to take real time off.  Thanks to my smart phone and wireless Internet, I'm never that far away from my responsibilities. And she was right.  I was sick because I wasn't doing what is right. Instead of treating my body like a temple, I could barely even say I was treating it like a relatively well managed presbyterian youth center.  A spiritual conviction came to me from a doctor who sees too many sick pastors.

I meant this blog to only be a couple of paragraphs, a re-entry into the blogosphere. All this wordiness is to say that this summer, I took some time off.  I had great times with my wife, my parents, and a nephew. I decided to not get around to blogging.

Thanks to the time off however, I'm more focused, with more clear priorities than before, and more ready to be productive. I started this blog as a new year's resolution to be a great ministry tool and personal outlet, along with a resolution to take regular  Sabbaths.  God used that doctor to give me the spiritual "urgent care" I needed to get back on track.

So, I've been back to sabbaths and now, back to blogging.  Looking forward to some much shorter and more regular posts.

And Lost begins in less than 5 months. Just thought I'd mention that...

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