When my niece, Renee, was just a baby, I used to leave work and go straight to my brother's place so that I could just hold her and play with her. She always filled my heart with so much joy and then, I would tell her my troubles. She couldn't talk, but she seemed to get me and I guess it was just what I needed. And even though she was just a little thing, I knew that if given the opportunity she would slay the world for me. I once told my mom that she had a strong spirit and while she wasn't the type to start confrontations, she wasn't going to back down from any either.
Today, I had an appointment at the public clinic. I have a growth on my left hand that prompted me to be continuously visiting the clinic since January. Today, I made up my mind that I was going to tell the doctor that I needed to have a referral to get it removed. On my previous visits, he had not seemed keen on removing it. His attitude was a little nonchalant and he didn't believe it was the cause of some of the pain I explained I was having.
I busied myself with a book in the waiting room, feeling a sense of relief and excitement when my name was called at last. The nurse took my weight and then asked me to have a seat in a back room so she could take my blood pressure. I sat in that room alone for more than five minutes, but I didn't get upset. When she arrived, she strapped the blood pressure machine around my arm and asked me to excuse her again. She was gone for what felt like a lifetime, but was probably somewhere between five to ten minutes. She came back to discover that the machine was reading an error. She did it again and realised that the machine was not working. She took me to another room and I waited another minute or two while she retrieved a small strap for my arm. Again, she start the machine and left the room. This time, I saw the reading and sat waiting patiently for her return. After a long wait, the machine timed out and began resetting. Then, my grandmother-in-law called. We talked for less than a minute. All the while, the nurse hasn't returned and I am there trying to be patient and remain calm. Another few minutes passed and my phone rang again. This time, it was my husband. During our exchange, the nurse returned. She asked if the machine hadn't worked and I told her it had and she angrily jabbed her finger on the start button and left again. I promise you it is the honest truth. I end my call and look over at the machine to realise that it is reading an error. Shifting in my seat, I decided to try to get her attention to tell her it hadn't gone through. This time, she returns, presses the start button again and then starts to berate me for being on my phone and for the machine not working and tells me that I wasn't sitting still and she was trying to take my pressure from in the other room, blah, blah, blah.
In all honesty, I didn't immediately realise that she was seriously quarrelling with me. I tried to explain, but she kept cutting me off by loudly insisting, "you were on your phone!" I wasn't trying to deny that fact. I was just trying to explain what happened with the machine and let her know I had seen the reading. I figured if the machine is freaking out, she'd want to know. She stormed out of the room and proceeded to tell her version of events to another nurse, who chuckled. That's the precise moment that my blood began to boil. A couple seconds later, she stormed back in the room to realise that the machine had recorded another error and she decided that was the end of that. Released at last, I waited patiently for the doctor to call my name, but this time, I decided that if I didn't get what I wanted, I would not be returning.
Funny enough, for me, it wasn't about waiting long or the repeated visit where nothing got resolved and all the things I could list off, but the way this nurse felt she needed to behave. I don't know if she was having a bad day, but it was unfair to me. Why not take her frustrations out on the people who come to the clinic on a day-to-day basis and cuss them? Whenever I go, I sit and wait quietly and I don't even join in the conversations that bash them. And the thing is, while I was there strapped to the blood pressure machine, the nurses in the other room were going on and on about this particular nurse who was not well, but had shown up for work. One told her that if she knew she was sick, she should have stayed home. Another one started a conversation about some half day seminar on Thursday and Friday and I heard another say she was going on Friday because she is off on Thursday. These are the sort of conversations that are had in the presence of patients.
To put an end to a beautiful day, when I finally saw the doctor, my test results were not back yet and she offered to write a letter to allow me to collect them from the hospital myself. She was a pleasant woman and I know she tried her best to help me, but that was the final straw. I politely told her not to bother and that I would not be returning. I explained my reasons to her and she was very apologetic, but to keep my sanity, I think it best that I not go there again.
After everything, I still had to arrange with my mother to get Shakir from her, so I decided to pick my niece up for her and meet her halfway to sorta exchange kids. On the way down, I started to tell Renee about what had happened, just like old times. Her response: "what she quarrelling with you for? She should be sitting down in the room to make sure you don't move!" She summed it up nicely in two sentences and like I said, she would slay the world for me if she could.
Allison is mother to two active boys who challenge her on a day to day basis with their escapades. In her other life, Allison juggles a regular day job as a marketing executive in a health food organization. At night, when everyone is asleep, she dreams of being a fulltime writer and super hero.