Yeah, so, I have spent a lot of time at Kaiser.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, I had three surgeries within a year. I also had doctor appointments practically once a week. The doctors were always wanting to feel my boobs or take my blood.
Of course, now I’m cancer free, but I’m knocked up, so I’m back to spending more time at the San Francisco Kaiser. I’m used to it there. I can drive there on auto-pilot. I know that when I pull into the garage, everyone is going to be driving super slow looking for a parking space, even though if they just drove down one more level there are plenty of spots. Some of the folks behind the reception desks know me. They smile, ask how I’m doing, if David isn’t with me, they ask about David. When I was going in for weekly checkups during all the cancer stuff, the receptionists would just wave me through without asking for the copay. I’m prepared for the waiting room, bringing my Entertainment Weekly magazines and a bottle of water, but honestly, I don’t usually have to wait long. I know that someone is going to talk to me in the elevator back to the parking garage. They will say something about how slow the elevator is or how crazy the garage is.
I’m prepared for anything when I go to Kaiser, except for what happened on Friday.
I went to Kaiser on Friday afternoon to get my blood drawn …again. The blood lab is always busy. I picked my number, I96, and sat down in a corner and assumed my usual routine of screwing around on my phone, reading Entertainment Weekly, etc. I know the drill.
I was listening to David’s podcast when I started to hear some commotion. People are yelling out numbers and jumping out of their seats.
“I have J10!” “I have I95!” People were freaking out.
I turned off the podcast: “Are we bidding on who’s next? I bid $5!”
A woman nearby asks if we are playing bingo, and I’m annoyed that I didn’t think of that joke first.
It turns out that shortly after I got my number someone cracked open the take-a-number dispenser in an attempt to get a number that would put them ahead in line. I’m not sure why they thought that would work. The numbers have letters in front of them, so J95 wasn’t going to get ahead of my I96.
No matter, the lab had now turned into total madness. People were leaping out of their seats and yelling letters and numbers. A Kaiser employee was there trying to calm people down and was making sure that everyone got a proper number, but folks weren’t havin’ it. They were convinced that they were going to get cheated somehow, and they were losing their minds.
The whole scene looked like this:
I started cracking up. It was completely ridiculous. The man across from me with a completely stereotypical effeminate accent loudly exclaimed, “OH MY GOD! It is turning into ‘Idiocracy’ in here!”
I sat in my corner and giggled for a few more minutes, while watching all these people lose their minds over something as simple as counting. Finally, the “Now Serving” sign above the reception area ticked to my number.
“I won! I won, everybody!” I said, which “Idiocracy” Man thought was funny, but everyone else was too busy trying to do math to hear me.
I had never been so pleased to walk into the lab and get my blood drawn.