There I was last Thursday, sitting at my desk, minding my business when I received a text reminding me of an appointment scheduled for the next week.
While I haven’t enjoyed the isolation model we have all been living under, Telehealth has been a gift for people who work long hours where a trip to clinic consumes what amounts to half a day.
I sighed knowing this marked the end of my responsible, socially distanced appointments and I was going to have to go in.
I’ve noticed (and I’m sure I’m not the only one), that there are two types of people who have emerged during the pandemic.
There’s Person A:
Wow, 4 cases in a state with a population of 5-million! The chances of me catching coronavirus are extremely low – in fact I have more chance of winning on a scratcher. Then take into consideration my circumstances – there is an even smaller risk I will develop serious illness… and I already take a bunch of precautions… I’m confident in rejoining society and I should buy a scratcher.
… then there is Person B:
WHAT ARE YOU DOING GOING OUT TO DINNER WITH CORONAVIRUS AROUND?!?!?! CLEARLY YOU ARE TRYING TO KILL PEOPLE! YOU WANT TO KILL GRANDMA! THE VIRUS IS STILL OUT THERE! WHAT ABOUT THE “SECOND WAVE”. WHY AREN’T YOU WEARING A MASK! YOU ARE A DISGUSTING HUMAN BEING PUTTING OTHER PEOPLE AT RISK.
Take a good guess at which on I am. The funniest thing about this situation is that Person A usually ends up surrounded by group of Person B’s… while I am confident in my research and my own personal protective measures – having someone scream at you that you’re out to kill the elderly still has an effect.
Anyway – the text about my appointment did signal that I needed to get off my butt and do a whole bunch of pathology that I had thrown in the back of my draw… damn, there goes my Saturday.
I got up early to prepare for the tests, checked the websites for unexpected closures and got busy.
I pulled up at our local pathology and it was dark. The lights were out. All that was there was a scummy piece of paper tapped to the door saying “closed Saturdays until further notice”. I checked the web page again. Nope, open Saturdays 8am – 12pm. Normally this stuff doesn’t get to me… normally, I just shrug and get on with it. I must admit, on this occasion I dipped my head and stifled a grimace. You see… even without my freelance business running – I’m still working weeks no less than 60 hours long… it’s impossible for me to “just skip out and go to a pathology” when my nearest is 25 minutes and I get 30 for lunch…. Having these services open on a Saturday is essential for full time employees. Closing them without notice is a huge disservice to people like me. To say I was disappointed in that moment is a huge understatement. It seems like everything has been geared towards people who don’t work… the increase to welfare and the stimulus payments. You know what I got from the pandemic? Anxiety that is driving everyone around me insane and 20 + hours on my normal work week for a reduced pay rate…
I swallowed, exhaled, got back into the car and started driving to Robina Hospital for my second stop.
I must admit, the extra communication to the “at risk category” which I do fall into has been great. I knew that only the front entrance was open and was able to skip additional unnecessary frustration by heading straight to the right place.
When I entered, there was a table right at the front, a metre back from the door with a girl in a hazmat suit and a volunteer I knew well who wasn’t even wearing a mask. Person A & Person B. Hazmat suit immediately started screaming at me: “ARE YOU HEAR FOR THE FEVER CLINIC?!? YOU SHOULDN’T BE COMING THROUGH THE FRONT DOORS, YOU HAVE TO GO AND HAVE A CORONAVIRUS TEST THEN ISOLATE YOURSELF UNTIL WE TEXT YOU THE RESULT.” Wow. I turned my whole body toward the other Person A there, and said politely “I’m here for pathology”. He smiled and nodded and motioned toward the hand sanitiser station. Hazmat started again “BUT YOU SHOULD BE TESTED FOR CORONAVIRUS TO KEEP THE COMMUNITY SAFE”. I just moved off without engaging with her – that’s not why I was there. There is no definitive evidence that either Person A or Person B is ‘right’, in fact there may very well be no “right” in this situation – it’s far too soon to tell. All any of us can do is act on the credible information we have been presented with. What I refuse to do is feed into what we have affectionally called “panic porn”. Drama holds zero interest to me. Constant drama is exhausting and I have found over the years I do not have the stamina to deal with people who feed on a constant stream of it.
The trip to pathology was fast, I didn’t see another person aside from the pathologist who was thankfully another Person A.
As I exited the hospital the same way I came in as I passed by the check-in table, a man was walking in asking if someone can look at his banged up leg. Hazmat was out of her chair an already in his face “YOU NEED TO GO TO EMERGENCY THROUGH THE OTHER DOOR – THEN YOU NEED TO HAVE A CORONAVIRUS TEST BEFORE YOU CAN BE SEEN. YOU THEN NEED TO REMAIN IN ISOLATION UNTIL YOU GET YOUR RESULTS TEXTED TO YOU”. I laughed as I heard the guy reply “but… I just banged my leg”. As entertaining as the exchange was, I had a lot more to to do and didn’t stick round . Did he have his leg seen to? Is a banged leg a new symptom of Coronavirus, we’ll never know.
I moved on to my second try at blood work in Mudgeeraba. I got a park at the door, exited the car and went to step up on the footpath between the stores. A woman that had emerged in a huff from a surgery bustled past me and pushed me back down into the carpark and power walked into the QML. I’m going to admit that I was a little stunned – but it wasn’t the first odd thing to happen to me that day so strolled slowly to QML, walked in and sat next to the pushy-power walker. A pathologist emerged and motioned to me – I pointed to the power walker who was already out of her chair and waving her referral in the pathologists face. She moved quickly into room 2. Another pathologist emerged from room 1 and I went straight in. Another Person A – I exhaled and tuned out while the process happened around me.
And just like that… it was 11am.
I did breath a huge sigh of relief when my boss told me to take the day for my appointment – because after some of the projects recently and having a very adamant Person B in our work place I’m exhausted.
Hah, maybe I should have had that Coronavirus test after all?