These days, at the free clinic, I wear black scrubs. It’s really strange, when I got paid to work, I wore only whites. There is no hidden message of protest I’m trying to send, I guess I just don’t want to deal with all the stains that white uniforms collect. Now that I wear black scrubs, guess what? I have two white dogs.
Oh well. I still think they are super cool and different.
About the clinic, it is open twice per week and will soon be open three days a week. We can see 80 patients a night, usually. Sometimes we just don’t have enough volunteer doctors on hand. As someone at the clinic told me, “People come to this town to make money.”
It was quite a surprise to me that a free clinic even existed in this town. A friend of mine who volunteers there told me about it, otherwise I would not have known. It is not something that is advertised, but spread by word of mouth.
You might have seen film clips on the news of free clinics popping up in random cities to serve the uninsured in America. I saw one on tv that was set up in the Astrodome in Houston (I think that’s where it was), others at county fairs, some in livestock pens. Our place is in a strip mall right across the parking lot from the Democratic party headquarters for the county.
I don’t know who got there first.
Last time I volunteered, I worked as a screening nurse with my own little office. The patient comes in, I look over their medical history, check their lab work and vital signs, then ask a million questions. Some need to see the doctor, some need more labs, some just need medication refills. Some need to go straight to the hospital, they are way to sick for us. That pretty much sums up screening nurse.
Actually it doesn’t. Some of these people are not sick enough for the ER to treat them, but they are too sick for us and I don’t have the heart to tell them how sick I think they really are because there isn’t anything anybody will do about it.
And they look at me like I can really fix them, the trust they have in me, the hope they have, I can feel it, and I want to push it away but I feel terrible because that is all they have.
“Mercy” copyright Cinemagypsy