I go to Quest Labs every year for my annual blood work for my endo. I’m very lucky, Quest is only two blocks from where I live. Still, I almost missed my 8:20 am appointment this morning. Not that I overslept, rather I awoke at 6 am, but I completely forgot about the appointment.
Then, while pushing down the thingamajig on my French press at 8:12 this morning, the appointment popped into my head. Dressed in five minutes, I practically ran the two blocks.
But what greeted me at Quest was not a person, you know one of those animate objects that sits behind a desk, but a check-in machine. A most irascible one at that.
It wanted reams of information and needed to take photos of my ID and primary and secondary insurance cards, front and back. By time I got to the last of 10 screens, it told me I was more than 10 minutes late for my appointment. And I was by two minutes, but I wasn’t when I first started entering my name, letter by letter, box by box, on this beastly interference-runner between me and the technicians.
Not only did it tell me I was over the time limit to check in, but now I had to pick another appointment day and time. Well, I didn’t think this was fair, since I did start the process within the ten minute limit, so I walked inside and told the two lab technicians what had happened. One said to wait and she’d come and help me.
And she did. Within five minutes she was running me through the machine again (because they must) and took me back to take my blood. I’ve written about industrialized health care, how we have removed the care. But how visible it was to me this morning that this machine reduced me to screen inputs, while it took a human to apply reason, consideration and warmth to fairly easily make the situation work, and soothe me in the process.
In fact, while with Antoinette, the lab technician, and her filling god knows how many tubes with my blood, we talked about how fast time goes, how little she looks like a grandmother, how my coffee was still waiting for me on my kitchen counter, how grateful I was for her defying the beastly machine and how happy she was to do it. We both enjoyed 10 minutes of the joy of interconnectedness, the elation of helping another and the comfort of knowing you are in someone’s care.
I really do not understand why and how we are erasing care, the most healthful ingredient, from healthcare. Why and how we do not think this saving of money, and perhaps greater efficiency, is not biting us on the other end with the outrageous costs of obesity, diabetes, mental health, health insurance, suicide and death.
Once home, I watched this video which is a wonderful overview, in 10 minutes, of the broader picture. The world, and all its creatures were not meant to live without care.