First of all let me say that I've had some great doctors in Brazil whom I appreciated and who really work hard to treat the patients with kindness and respect. They are few and far between, rarities in a land of public hospitals that often have no bandages or medicine. They are fine jewels in a place where even private, paid clinics where patients get no respect.
Thursday I went in to get a sonogram at a paid clinic where I have been seen before. This time was a little different. Each of the other visits where arranged by the doctor I had seen. My doctor called the chief of operations at the sonogram/mammogram clinic and said basically, Put this person in line. I'm sending them over right now and I want special treatment. This time I was on my own and oh woe was me!
I know how these things work in Brazil. I've stood in many a line and jumped places in a few - yes, when in Rome sometimes you have to know how to fight like a Greek wrestler to get your "rights." Yes, I've done some pushing and shoving and even kicked a few doors (literally and figuratively). So, I went by the clinic ahead of time, a week ahead of time and asked some basic questions about "scheduling" my sonogram. I was told that they work on a order of arrival basis and to insure that I would be seen shortly in the morning I should arrive before 7 am when the doors of the clinic open. No problem, I got there around 6:30 am and was #4 arrivee! Woo Hoo, or so I thought. When the doors actually opened it was every man and woman for themselves to grab a ticket with a number on it. In all the rush I ended up with number 21! I waited for an hour just to see a lady and say why I was there! Oh, but how conniving these little secretary ladies can be. When I asked how long I would be waiting I was told not to worry as there were only six others in line for what I needed so it would be that long. Yeah, right!
I waited for two more hours after that when I was finally called to go back behind the swinging doors to a changing and then to another waiting room. At least it was quieter! Just as your hope begins to rise and you think you are closer to the end, you sit and sit and sit. Seems other people with "emergencies" were being put in between those who had waited in line for a little number. People whose doctors had made that special phone call?
Five hours I waited before it was my turn. Complaining doesn't really help, except to make a person feel better, releasing some Yankee anger. But I did complain every so kindly and reminded myself that next time I need to get my doctor to make the appointment as an "emergency."
The things we are not taught in missionary candidate school.