Matt, You May Have Just Saved Someone’s Life

by Kory McDow

There are times in one’s life when they are close to going over the edge. Today was one of those days. This week has been one of those weeks.

My wife has been sick with what we now know is strep throat. As some­one who had strep throat once a month for the entirety of my 8th grade year (I so wish I was kid­ding), I know what it is like to have unbear­able pain in your throat. And fever. And chills. And headaches. And body aches. And thoughts of mak­ing a deal with the devil just so you can take a damn drink of water with­out want­ing to punch a tiger.

Yes, it’s that bad.

But we didn’t always know that it was strep that was caus­ing my sweetie to be unable to do much of any­thing all week. Today we found out. How did we find out? By going to the doc­tor. Here’s how it went down…

Getting Treated

I left this morn­ing with an agree­ment with my wife that if she wasn’t feel­ing bet­ter by the time I returned from tak­ing the lit­tle one to school and then run­ning errands, she would make an appoint­ment to see the doc­tor to find out what was going on. One hour into me being away, I received a text mes­sage that she had made an appoint­ment for this afternoon.

Damn. That means that our exer­cis­ing the “rest and over-the-counter drugs” method wasn’t working.

We went to the doctor’s office and I checked her in while my wife sat down and waited. I joined her after receiv­ing paper­work we needed to give to the Medical Assistant. I messed around on my phone. I read a Buddhist mag­a­zine. I looked around the lobby and cre­ated sto­ries of why the other 10 peo­ple were in that wait­ing room at that moment. I con­tin­ued to wait. And wait. And wait.

We started to won­der what was tak­ing so long when we noticed that peo­ple after us were being called before us. Sure we were three min­utes late, but that shouldn’t be enough to make us wait a long time, right? I went back up to the desk and asked the woman work­ing if she had an esti­mate on how much longer it would take. She said that she would call back and find out what was going on. I sat back down and updated my wife.

After wait­ing for 45 min­utes in total, the recep­tion­ist came over to us and apol­o­gized for her error. Apparently, she was sup­posed to move us to “arrived” so the MAs would know that we were here. She never did that and so we were wait­ing for absolutely no reason.

Thank you for the apol­ogy and for tak­ing own­er­ship, but that does absolutely noth­ing for my wife who is in pain and in an uncom­fort­able lounge chair that does noth­ing pos­i­tive for anyone.

But Matt, you didn’t know this.

Getting Drugs

With a strep throat diag­no­sis in our head and a con­fir­ma­tion our pre­scrip­tion for drugs would be at the nearby phar­macy, we were on our way. Our daughter’s school is near the phar­macy so I fig­ured I’d grab the med­ica­tion, then get our daugh­ter while my wife would wait in the car.

Upon arrival at the phar­macy, I was told that it would take 10–15 min­utes to fill the pre­scrip­tion. That’s fine. I’ll go and get my daugh­ter and be right back. After return­ing with my smart lit­tle angel in tow, I waited at the counter while they were check­ing on the prescription.

I was then told it would be another 10–15 min­utes. (Now I’m a peace­ful man. Heck, I had a Buddhist mag­a­zine in hand (yes, I stole it) and I even read a few of the pages. My inner peace was strong.)

“Wait. WHAT?!”

You told me it would be 10–15 min­utes 20–25 min­utes ago.” I was then informed that only other phar­ma­cist left, that s/he didn’t fill the pre­scrip­tion before doing so, and that the counter guy didn’t know that. I told him that I would take my daugh­ter to the car where my wife, the mother of my child, who is in pain, who needs these drugs to recover and feel bet­ter would be waiting.

I then did so and returned to the counter to let the counter guy know that I was back. He then pro­ceeded to give me a pager while I waited in the lobby…for 20 min­utes.

For those of you keep­ing track at home, this has been approx­i­mately 45 min­utes that I’ve been wait­ing for this pre­scrip­tion to be filled. A pre­scrip­tion that should’ve been ready by the time we got to the phar­macy in the first place.

But Matt, you didn’t know this.

Getting Duped

As I got into the car with the pre­scrip­tion in hand, we drive off. About 5 min­utes into the 20 minute drive home, my wife notices that only 1 of the 2 pre­scrip­tions are in the bag.

“Wait. WHAT?!”

It’s too late to turn around now. My wife has been wait­ing, in pain, in an uncom­fort­able car while she gets the pre­scrip­tions she needs to start on the road to recov­ery. My daugh­ter has been wait­ing, in hunger, in an uncom­fort­able car while Daddy gets the pre­scrip­tions Mommy needs to start on the road to recov­ery. I’ve been wait­ing, in anger, in an uncom­fort­able lobby while the lone phar­ma­cist gets the pre­scrip­tions every­one needs because the only other phara­macist left with­out fill­ing my wife’s damn prescription.

I con­tinue home as I call the phar­macy to let them know my frus­tra­tion. Oh, and we’re low on gas.

But Matt, you didn’t know this.

Getting Food

Because it was already after din­ner­time and I now had to return to the phar­macy, we stopped at a burger joint to grab a burger for me and lit­tle one (my wife had left­overs she was going to eat). After telling my story to the woman who took my order (Thank you Ms! You were awe­some for smil­ing, lis­ten­ing, and relat­ing.), I also ordered a beer to drink while I waited.

Matt, you were talk­ing to an older gen­tle­man about your Seahawks hair­cut and I took a pic­ture. We started talk­ing Seahawks foot­ball and how you’re a big fan, Raiders foot­ball and how I’m a big fan, and pey­ton man­ning and how his team will fall short in the play­offs…AGAIN.

Just the fact that we were hav­ing a jovial con­ver­sa­tion about foot­ball and sports and smack talk­ing was awe­some. Your smile and enthu­si­as­tic con­ver­sa­tion com­pletely lifted my spir­its. I left the burger joint happy for hav­ing stopped by, enthu­si­as­tic to come back, and thrilled with my new state of being.

But Matt, you didn’t know this.

Getting Gas

After drop­ping off my girls, return­ing to the phar­macy to get the sec­ond pre­scrip­tion, and head­ing home once more, I stopped at an over­priced gas sta­tion to get a few dol­lars until I made it to my gas sta­tion of choice. I pulled up to the empty pumps and waited. Here in Oregon, it’s ille­gal to pump your own gas, so I waited. And waited. And waited.

After I couldn’t wait any more, and some­one else pulled up, I went inside to find out where the gas atten­dant was. I walked in to find him in a quite jovial con­ver­sa­tion with some­one else unseen in the back of the market.

“Wait. WHAT?!”

I wasn’t rude, but in a very deep and stern voice, I let it be known that no one was out there at the pumps and I had been wait­ing quite a while. The atten­dant jumped and then rushed out after me apolo­get­i­cally and pumped my gas. I left with­out so much as a thank you (very unlike me) and headed home just in time to get our daugh­ter ready for bed.

Getting Reprieve

After my wife was set­tled back in bed and our daugh­ter was set­tled in bed, I went down­stairs and ate some of the burger my natur­opath would cer­tainly dis­ap­prove of. Aside from the burger being deli­cious, I thought back, Matt, of how friendly you were to a com­plete stranger. By just being you, you broke into my Michael Douglas moment and kept me from Falling Down.

And Matt, you had no idea.