I have a bee in my bonnet. And folks here in Backroads are quite fortunate that I didn't unleash that bee on them last night in one of the three local emergency rooms.
My mom had to go to the ER twice yesterday with a nosebleed. That's a no-no for septuagenarians on blood-thinners. She's fine now. But some of her patients-in-waiting need a good dose of medical etiquette. I've half a mind to notify Backroads Miz Manners.
It's cold and flu season, y'all. And it would stand to reason that a few ER waitees are infected with some kind of bug. Especially those who sit with a coat on backwards, bleary-eyed, looking like tap-tap-tapping on death's door would require entirely too much effort. So you would think that every time a new patient left the intake desk, the intake clerk would scrub up that electronic pen with some Germ-X or a baby wipe or, get this, some good old-fashioned hospital-grade C3H8O. That's rubbing alcohol for you non-science-teachers. Isopropyl to his family. But NO! Nary a thing was done to Mr. Electronic Pen between patients. Not that I could tell.
There was Mom, in her jeans and turtleneck, looking for all intents and purposes like the stand-in for Sissy Spacek during the prom scene in Carrie, dabbing at her drippy nostrils, no gloves. I put a stop to that forthwith. "Stop that! Here. Hold out your hand. You scrub with my purse Germ-X. Twice. Before you put your hand anywhere near your nose again." She is quite daughter-compliant.
Those workers didn't know if she harbored hepatitis or any other blood-borne disease. And the next person after her touched Mr. Electronic Pen in his soiled state. Not to mention the flu-sy who touched it before Mom. Criminy! Do we need Joseph Lister revolving in his grave?
But forewarned is forearmed. I always carry my trusty Germ-X. The public-health faux pas that put a wad in my panties last night was the total insouciance of the flu-sies in respect to airborne pathogen transmission. I observed three of them. One sat with his back against the wall, hoodie over his head, eyes closed, exhaling freely toward the center of the waiting room. I chose a seat diagonally opposite him, the greatest distance we could achieve.
Another one had been given a yellow gauze face-mask. He had it looped over his ears. It covered his mouth. But his gigantic honker was exposed. I could not tell if he was a mouth breather. I didn't see that fabric sucking in and out. And with the enormous proportions of his schnozzola, there was plenty of room for the virus to wend its way around any cloggage. We sat parallel to him, on the opposite end of the room.
The third flu-sy was totally ridiculous. He draped his gauze mask over his ears. And then under his chin. Nose and mouth were as bare as a newborn's butt. I suppose he was protecting us from saggy under-chin skin if he suddenly transformed into an old lady. Thank goodness, he left his parents waiting to hear his name called, and went out to sit in the car.
AND, the ER nurse practitioner (you didn't think we'd see a real doc, did you?), while washing her hands upon initial entry into the curtained inner sanctum to feel around on Mom's face, did not re-wash on subsequent re-entries after leaving to consult her attending.
The whole episode reminded me of the scene in the original John Wayne True Grit, where Gaspargo is going to remove a bullet from Labeouf's hand, and Mattie Ross (of near Dardanelle in Yell County) says, "Aren't you going to wash first? Don't you wash your hands before you eat?" And Gaspargo says, "I'm not going to eat his hand."
I wash my hands of this hospital.
Unfortunately, that's where I have to go tomorrow to have blood drawn in the lab.