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They Shoot Epileptics, Don't They?
Part 4: The Walking Dead and the Puking Future
Written by: Alex Sandell

Waiting rooms depress the hell out of me.  There are always three different sort of people in these rooms:  1. The elderly 2. The young 3. Me.  This time was no exception. 

One lady was bald and it turned out she had liver cancer, rather than a fascination with old-school Sinead O'Connor.  She also had a remarkably cheery disposition, which led me to wonder if she watched a lot of Oprah, or was just prescribed the right kind of drugs.  She was going in for kemo.

Then there was this little toddler (do they come in any other size?) using copies of Ladies Home Journal to perform extreme sports on the tiled floor.  It was amusing watching the kid slide across the room, but the enjoyment prematurely came to an end when she vomited all over the magazines that she was using as makeshift snowboards.  "She's been doing a lot of throwing-up lately," the mother said, embarrassed. 

The toddler then waddled up to me in that March of the Penguins sort of way toddlers waddle, and tried to hand me one of the puke-coated magazines.  "No thanks," I said, "I've already read it -- twice."  The toddler proceeded to push it in my face.  Everyone, including the mother, laughed over this. 

"Isn't she cute?" their chuckles seemed to ask, "She just gave that surly looking man the stomach flu!"  I would have said something, but the cancer patient was really getting a kick out of the whole thing, and I thought that, since she may die in the next 32 seconds, letting her have a farewell belly laugh was worth getting a bad tummy ache for a few days.

I'm sympathetic that way.

64 minutes later, the nurse finally called on me.  "We're backed up today," she told me, "the doctor just got back from vacationing in Denmark."  You have got to be kidding me.  I haven't been on a vacation in over a decade.  This guy is tripping across the world on a monthly basis.  I guess they need the rest, as they're not paid very well.

The nurse took my blood pressure and told me some fairly heartwarming stories about the multiple rings she had on her fingers.  One ring had three diamonds, representing all the children she had born on the same day.  Her wedding ring had 9 diamonds, representing the amount of children she and her husband had from past marriages.  Yet another had diamonds representing children she had lost through miscarriages. 

I wondered if she knew how many children lost their lives while harvesting the diamonds adoring her hands?  Still, her heart was in the right place.  At least it wasn't only 10 years old and buried in a shallow grave, after digging up stupid sparkly rocks for greedy Americans to use as status symbols.  A few thumb tacks stuck into a plastic ring you can drag out of a wishing well in Perkins, would be just as touching. 

After asking me what meds I was on and the reason for my visit (I thought that should have been obvious), she told me the doctor would "be right in."  In the medical world, "be right in" apparently means, "you'll sit here for another hour listening to the doctor flirting with interns, a few doors down."

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2006 Alex Sandell and The Juicy Cerebellum Inc. [All Rights Reserved].  Copy this without permission and I'll damn you to a waiting room for all of eternity.  One filled with patients exposed to bad dysentery.  Plus the bird flu.  And bad gas.  The kind that smells like rotten eggs.