Now I had never before been to a public medical clinic. I think when you hear medical clinic, there's a certain stigmatism attached to it, a negative connatation. It was a totally new experience for me, but it was something humbling at the same time.
Walking into the clinic, it was very much different than the doctor's office. The doctor's office had the receptionist at a window, some potted plants, soft chairs, a tv, various magazines, and toys for the kids. The clinic was very different. Instead of a receptionist, there was...well I suppose a receptionist, but behind a glass window, like a ticketing counter. There was no waiting area persay, but rather a row of plastic chairs along the long hallway which was the clinic. Waiting over an hour for my name to be called, even though there were few people there, was a stark contrast to the few minutes it took at the doctor's office. While I was waiting, I skimmed a faded lead posioning poster in english and spanish, from the county of Los Angeles.
But regardless of all that, the nurse who gave me my injections was one of the nicest I've ever met. Know here's a person who has a mortal fear of needles, and needed to get 4 jabbed in me at once. She was very good at calming my fears, and she had a great sense of what she was doing. I'm sure she's had a lot of experience with a whole plethora of people. At no point did I feel that she was exacerbated or bored or angry - she seemed to genuinely love what she did. And I realize now that I don't even know her name. Being a public clinic, the service was free (tax dollars at work!), and I'm sure she doesn't get paid as much as the same person who probably does less work and gets paid more at an expensive medical office.
Getting to go to a medical clinic was not something I was looking forward to, but turned out to be a humbling experience. I guess I'm pretty much used to calling the doctor to get an appointment, and going over there, and paying, when I need medical service. But for those without insurance, they have to do what I did on a basis much more often. Waiting in line for hours on end, in a hallway with fading public health posters. And these are probably the people who most need that time to be at work to provide for their families. Yes, the staff at the clinic were some of the kindest I've met in the medical field, yet I get the feeling that this speaks toward the health care system as a whole. Maybe it's broken, maybe it's not. But the reality is that at the very least, it needs to be improved. Whether that is moving everyone over to an insurance mandate, or providing public health service, I don't know. But so many people criticizing reform are those who's exposure to health care was the same as mine - call up and make an appointment. I'd like to see them wait hours to get an injection that would take about 15 minutes in a doctor's office - and then have them do that every time they need medical care. And hopefully they'd realize something needs to be done too.
Note - feel free to leave comments, ask me questions, etc (a more formal version of a formspring.me? - I'll try to answer some in mailbags on entries!) I'm not sure how I'm going to format this eventually...so for today...
@virginia - thank you!! you are wonderful too =)
@kevin - "Obama" refers a contest several students and I worked on to get President Obama to be our commencement speaker at graduation. About 2 weeks worth of intense writing, brainstorming, and filming, in order to send our application to the White House. Unfortunately (and obviously), we didn't win, but it was definitely a worthwhile experience.
@esther - hahaha, yes I remember you licking all those envelopes! Thank you so much for all you did back then!!!
@priscilla - kicking chairs or kicking stands? haha. And don't feel like a stalker commenting...I really want comments. So I can this stuff! =]
@matigus - thanks man, I'm going to miss to you next year!