I, like you, want to believe I am free from prejudice, accepting of people of all different colours and backgrounds and proclivities, but that’s not necessarily the case. In my work as a psychologist, I saw people of all kinds and laboured to ensure my biases did not interfere with my work. I did, however, once refuse a parent seeking therapy to turn her child from gay to straight. Reparative therapies don’t work, folks. When she asked for another referral, I politely told her I knew of no one who could help her child, but I’d be glad to help her with her homophobia.
This professional example notwithstanding, I have one prejudice cannot seem to shake: I am brimming with judgement each time I go for blood work. I was thinking about this hierarchy yesterday when I smugly booked the bloodwork for my next Cancer Centre checkup in late February.
I always place myself at the top of this patient hierarchy. I am a regular, I know the drill, I even have standing orders on file for my regularly completed lab requisitions. I’m certainly several rungs above those folks who furtively deliver their bodily products to the lab in brown paper bags. Sure, I’ve done those tests, but I hand over my poo with confidence and pride.
A variety of ill folks occupy the lower ranks, most often sickies who do not make lab appointments, thereby subjecting themselves to a very long wait when they arrive. There are those that are there for what look like colds or the flu, subjecting the rest of us to their viruses when they’d heal faster were they home resting. And those that walk straight up to check in at reception as if, despite the standing-room-only waiting room, they will be served first.
But I’m working on my unfair judgements. If I can be kind to people of different colours and shapes and sizes, surely I can be kind to the lab drop ins. Many in this group may lack the understanding or capacity to make an appointment, whether because of language barrier, intellectual limitations, or access to the internet.
And then there are the lowly folk who drop in without an appointment because of supposed medical urgency. Even I have been part of this group on more than one occasion. Have you ever had the pleasure of a full-blown bladder infection? (I realize I may lose a few male readers here.) Bladder infections must be God’s punishment to Eve for seducing Adam.
Last time I had this type of infection years ago, I could not wait for a lab appointment; I sat for hours like the other low-rungs (whoa, that was harsh), getting up only to go to the washroom every five minutes or so. I would have done whatever my family doc told me to do to secure a round of antibiotics. I’ll try to keep this incident in mind the next time you try to cut the line at the lab. Maybe you are feeling as frantic as I have on these occasions.
My tolerance only goes so far, though. If you dare cough on me while I am waiting, I will judge you, all the moreso if I catch whatever you have. Bottom rung for you, my friend.