In sickness & in… sickness

Waiting in overcrowded rooms full of people with all manner of coughs & sneezes, groans & wheezes has never been high on my list of favourite ways to spend an afternoon! Now no doubt many of you will agree with that notion, but I had never considered until today just how many bugs & virus's are shared around in a doctor's waiting room area! Before even taking my seat I had to make some judgements about people I didn't even know. More than likely I just wouldn't want to know some of them. But my dilemma was, what kind of illness or affliction did each of these infested souls have? How many might be contagious or just plain irritating! The obviously pregnant woman looked as if her 9 months had already gone by! The man who was dozing off at the corner seat had a suspicious pool of water at his feet and a 'wet trail' down his trouser leg! Three very loud young children battled to see who could create the loudest disturbance in the most irritating way. One tried dragging a chair on its side across the tiled corridor floor, another dragged his female sibling by the hair onto a chair that had one leg on his mothers foot!
Over by the door sat a wheezing & coughing old man who seemed to be reaching into the depths of his body to yank up each rasping splurge of phlegm & projectile spit. A teenaged girl who seemed to have a hairstyle of a million colours & pins stabbed into various parts of her head with chains & metallic symbols hanging from them. This multi-various complexity of humanity made me wonder if my medical situation, (which in itself isn't trivial) could be endangered by this visit for further medications to be prescribed?
I have no wish to denigrate my fellow man, nor do I want to downplay any illness or ailment suffered by these unfortunate souls. But I do fear that much of the bug borne illness in my local society could be finding its breeding ground there, amongst those at their most vulnerable. I may not be in the peak of good health myself but I wouldn't choose to make my situation any more precarious after such a call upon our brilliant NHS GP services.
Am I more ill after my visit? Are my newly dedicated pills for any newly resident virus in my (Adonis like???)body ?

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6 thoughts on “In sickness & in… sickness”

  1. One other thing; any medical facility should offer paper masks to patients with respiratory illness. If they are not readily available, ask for one at the desk, so you don't catch something from the gent whose pertussis sounds like percussion practice, and who won't wear one himself 🙂

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  2. Patrick, as one who works in the health care profession, I assure you that your concerns are valid. Medical facilities of all sorts are asked to treat illness that can quickly spread to other patients. You should be quick to ask and the facility should be quick to answer the question of: "What are your protocols for infection control, to include cleaning lobby chairs, floors, counters, etc.?". Additionally: What safeguards do have to ensure protocols are followed correctly?" (Is their both routine training and review, and are there accountability measures?).

    That said, hand washing 20 seconds or longer with soap and hot water is the #1 tool for infection prevention. Never feel badly about asking if a provider washed between patients. One last thing; after utilizing the public toilet, you did the right thing and hand washed…but did the gent ahead of you? If not, then the cad just put his germs on the door when he left. I strongly suggest you use a paper towel to open the door.

    Cheers and best wishes to you for good health!

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