The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Visit To Doctor’s Office is a Necessary Pain in the Side

4 min read

I can imagine that going to the doctor is not on most people’s list of favorite things to do. However, when flu season rolls around and you develop that nagging cough and hear the words “bless you” more times in class than you do in church, it’s probably time to see a specialist.

Putting off a trip to the doc is one of my few talents, but it has landed me in bed with a bowl of chicken noodle soup on quite a few occasions.

What I hate the most about going to the doctor is the idea of being around other sick people. Whether a conscious decision or not, people in the waiting room sit as far away from each other as possible.

Even without knowing the reason for another person’s visit, just the thought of the germs you could catch by being in close proximity to a sick stranger is enough to make you and every other person in the room feel a little uneasy.

As a child, the waiting room in my pediatrician’s office had a “sick” side and a “well” side. To make matters worse, the sick side had a sign depicting an ill-looking dog with blood shot eyes and a thermometer in its mouth. Of course, the sign on the well side had a cute little kitten with a smug smile, as if to say, “You don’t belong here.” It might as well have read, “Outcasts” or “The Others.”

The sign only drew more attention to the sickly kids and reinforced the stares from every parent in the room.

I guess I can’t blame them entirely because who really wants their healthy child coming in for a check-up to get even remotely close to the boy infected with chicken pox on the opposite side. Even still, something tells me that this is some form of child segregation, but maybe I’m wrong.

While waiting to be seen by the doctor, not only are you evaluating everyone in the room for runny noses and croupy coughs, you’re forced to hear the babies screaming in the back (most likely due to the booster shot they just received). Eventually, the screaming and the crying are drowned out by the abusive language of ticked off mothers whose insurance won’t pay for their kid’s visit.

It’s a toss-up between sick people and crying babies as to which is worse, but when I’m exposed to both at once, it only adds to my hatred of the doctor’s office. Luckily, during my most recent visit to the “doc in the box,” my only encounter with a child was a 2-year-old girl watching Barney on her mom’s Blackberry phone.

I found myself not only “people watching,” as I tend to do on a regular basis, but evaluating the entire doctor’s office itself. There was literally a plasma screen television in every room, and every issue of “People” you could possibly want to read.

I have to give the doc some credit though. The process is much speedier than I remember it being years ago. Nowadays, online scheduling makes appointment times more efficient and with advances in equipment, nurses are able to complete blood work in a matter of minutes instead of sending samples off to a lab.

Despite the advances in technology, I find it funny how even at 22 years of age, the nurses still treat me like I’m 12. No, I don’t need my mother to chaperone me into the backroom and no, I don’t need a lollipop after you prick my finger. If I wanted candy I would treat myself to a McFlurry after my appointment.

This is all very ironic considering only months ago I had aspirations of going to medical school and becoming a doctor myself. While I understand the need for doctors and their importance, it doesn’t change the fact that I will do anything and everything to avoid going to see them.

It isn’t even the doctor that I dislike. It’s just the idea of going and the hassles of dragging myself there that really turn me off. In the end though, I tend to suck it up, make the trip, get the drugs and hope for a quick getaway.

I hate to say it, but ‘tis the season to cover your mouth when you cough, carry a few extra tissues in your backpack and utilize that travel size bottle of hand sanitizer mom put in your Christmas stocking last year.

It is a good thing it’s still too early for mistletoe, but come December, germaphobes beware.

Want to keep the doctor away? You might think you’re safe if you received the H1N1 flu vaccine last year, but think again. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 2010-11 vaccine is an updated version that protects against the three viruses that research indicates will cause the greatest illness including the H1N1, influenza A and influenza B viruses. The Student Health Center on campus is still offering flu shots available to students for $10.