Friday, January 09, 2015

sometimes triage is a cesspool

The triage lobby is a weird place.  Its like a  dysfunctional little community out there.  Sometimes it takes on a life of its own.

There can be children running in circles around the lobby.  Drama queens loudly telling their tales of woe so everybody knows the details.  It can be a scary place with scary looking people.  Maniacal laughing, weeping,  Angry exchanges. Wailing children.  Stinky people.  People vomitting.  Thats Penny the prostitue sitting next to Clara from the suburbs who is sitting next to the homeless guy who hasn't had a bath in a few months. Sometimes you have no choice who you sit next to. People chow down on entire meals out there. People fall asleep. People pace.  Its a cesspool of the human condition.  You never know what your gonna get.

Different days have different atmospheres.  Some days its quiet.  You could hear a pin drop.  Other times its a dull roar of different conversations.  People talk to people they don't know.  Tell their stories.  Some days it feels like they are conspiring against us.  I see them looking at us. They are fomenting revolution, coming for us, I just know it....har.  Some days people are angry.  The wait has been long. They hate us.

When the wait has been long, one them finally has had enough, they approach the desk and ask: "How much longer will it be?  Where am I in the line?"  They tell us they are feeling faint, etc. They have to get to work.  Grandma is in a lot of pain.  They ask that age old triage question: "Why are other people going ahead of me?".  They are never  satisfied with our answers.  Its not what they want to hear. They may get mad, cuss a little bite, roll their eyes.  Sometimes they leave, deciding they aren't an emergency after all.  Most sit back down.  Here's the thing we know: Now they have done it.  They have given permission to all the other people in the lobby to make a pilgrimage to the triage window.  Now they are all mad together. Sending disgusting looks our way.  It gets to a fever pitch, about to explode.  Then the triage door opens, I say: "Fancy Parker, you're the next contestant...".  The tension is broken.   For now....

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