I spent a couple hours at the local Urgent Care on Saturday morning. I didn’t make it there until well after 9:00 and the small waiting room was packed: a young couple with a baby, a toddler, and a little boy no older than 5, an elderly couple, a woman in her twenties holding a small waste basket under her chin, a man in his thirties, and an older man who looked to be around 50 or 60. As I waited my turn, a woman wearing sweats, flip flops, and an over-sized man’s coat came in the door, signed the register and sat in one of the only remaining seats in the waiting room. In my sinus infected stupor, I stared at a TV hung high on the wall. The lady on the weather channel was describing the devastating damage from the tornadoes that had screamed through Indiana the night before.
“Sheila,” the receptionist called. The woman in sweats went up to the front window.
“We can’t accept your insurance so if you want to see a doctor, it will cost sixty dollars.”
The woman sighed in defeat and turned and left the doctor’s office. Just then, the young woman with the wastebasket began throwing up.
A nurse opened the door that led to the examining rooms.
“Diana,” she called.
My diagnosis was a double ear infection and a sinus infection. The Urgent Care had an in-house pharmacy which saved me a trip to CVS. I walked out of the Urgent Care with my antibiotics feeling both relieved and guilty. On the way home I kept thinking about the woman in sweats. I wondered how sick she was. I wondered if she would return with $60.00 or if she ended up not going to a doctor at all.