I had this bug bite. It was gross. I will not go into details, but it worried me a little. Thinking I saw the characteristic bulls-eye rash of a tick bite, I emailed a good family friend who knows a lot about ticks and Lyme. She told me to get it looked at *now*. I trust her advice, so I dropped my todo list for the evening (drop off a shirt at my old work, pick up my greyhound tickets, preemptively pack) and spent from 7-10:30pm door to door getting it checked out.
I started my journey online, looking at CVS minute clinics. The only one open until 8pm was in Arlington, VA, so I took a cab. The cabbie and I had a great conversation about wireless access and the One-Laptop Per Child Project. The Minute Clinic had this neat, very accessible touch screen sign-in program. The nurse practitioner was professional, knowledgeable and precise. She referred me to Arlington Urgent Care for after hours care. Another, less chatty, cab-ride later, I walk into a dingy white hall. It looked (and worse, smelled) like those institutions in 1980s horrors movies. Cleaning agents, urine and scared, sweaty people. I have always been a fan of hospitals because I have always gone to good hospitals, with art and murals on the walls. Arlington Urgent Care is not like that.
The intake nurse was nice, and I filled out all of the forms. When I realized that I would be spending my Wednesday evening in hospitals, I ran across P street to buy a book at Second Story Books, my local used books store. The first title my eyes fell upon was Lyme: A Backgrounder or something to that effect. I chose a book of letters to the U.S. president on high education–it seemed more hopeful. At the CVS, before my second cab, I grabbed some snacks. So while I waited in the urgent care waiting room with a nervous teen-aged boy, two older, thugish blond men and a twitchy older woman, I snacked and read leading educators’ opinions on what we need to do to deal with higher education in the United States.
Eventually I went to an oddly large room, where a reserved but nice nurse got my stats. She left, and said the doctor would be in soon. After about 5 minutes, I got bored of my book and started practicing my new repertoire piece: “Losing my Mind”, by Stephen Sondheim. To make a long story short, the doctor was professional, kind, and prescribed me the exact kind of antibiotics my family friend had told me to get. One cab ride to a metro station later, and I was on my way home.
Total medical costs: $25 (though I haven’t filled the prescription yet)
Total transportation costs: $31
Total entertainment costs: $13
I know that some part of my good medical experience has to do with having great health-care coverage and the ability to take an evening off. But even the lowering halls of Arlington Urgent Care seemed brighter after I spoke with the doctor. Competent professionals can make any situation bearable, and I was beyond impressed at the professionalism of all of the nurses and doctors who I spoke with today. Go DC metro area for having such great care.
“Patience is the art of hoping.”–Luc de Clapier