Waiting room floor show

The problem with today's health care system is not the cost of getting reimbursed for the bill, but the hell of sitting and waiting and being Jerry Springerized


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And the number one reason to stay out of the hospital is … ?

OK, staying healthy should be the top reason, of course. But, since I’m nowhere near needing surgery or critical care, my number one reason to stay away is bad waiting room entertainment. Oh, you haven’t heard? Four hours of waiting for your loved one to come out of surgery can be a lot like waiting for the next bus or train at the station.

A few weeks back while Barbara was in surgery, I sat with dozens of people who I’ll assume were there for the same reason. To get some laughs.

Where do I start?

A rather clean-cut and tattooed 20-something young man sat with whom I’m guessing might have been his grandmother, having – what sounded from 10 feet away to be – an intelligent, thoughtful conversation. That’s where intelligent and thoughtful went off the rails. This knucklehead had a small Poland Springs bottle that served as his expectorating (versus spitting – we are near clinical professionals) receptacle. Uh huh. Chewing tobacco. I guess a smoke-free campus doesn’t include other disgusting tobacco products.

What’s next? A hookah? Bong? A Muzak version of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”?

The non-stop yucks continued as we were subjected to some daytime talk show where the panel featured three 20-something women flaunting their reasons why they date much older men with beaucoup dollars. Like we need that explained to us. With each escalating outrageous statement came snickers and rib pokes from a room filled with entertainment-starved people. Whatever happened to having CNN or New England Cable News for waiting room patrons?

See? That’s what’s wrong with today’s health care system. It’s not the cost or the red tape of getting reimbursed for the bill. It’s the hell of sitting and waiting and being Jerry Springerized.

And all this in the first hour. In my mind, I played out what hours two, three and four might hold in store. (Cue harps.) By the time Lady Baba was ready to see me in recovery, I’d be in surgery myself, from an angry Mr. Chew, after asking him to take his brown bottle of yuck to the dugout at Fenway Park where it might be appreciated. I bit my tongue when I realized that fate would subject others who I love to experience the same entertainment.

Once I had my fill of social train wreck disorder (STWD), I finally opened my book, “Yes, It’s Hot in Here” by AJ Mass. It’s an insider’s tell-all memoir about being a sports mascot. Mr. Mass wore the New York Mets “Mr. Mets” costume for four years. His stories are funny and in some cases sad because the pay is awful and the inside of those outfits are stinky and about 120 degrees in August.

It also made me wonder why hospitals don’t have mascots for promotions. Imagine a seven-foot Billy the Bladder or Louie the Lung marching in your town’s Fourth of July parade. I’d pony up a 10 dollar co-pay to see that!

Mike Morin can be reached at heymikey@yahoo.com.

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