I like to keep my posts light and airy.
Poking fun at myself. Laughing about my teenage sense of style. Eating raw cookie dough and shaving my parents’ yard and so forth.
But Monday, July 6th, I experienced an emotional roller coaster. Not felt since the sinus surgery of 2014 when I thought the hospital curtains were on fire.
I’m meeting with a surgeon later this week, and I needed a slew blood tests. After some deep breaths, off I went to the Dynacare medical lab. I was confident the lab would take precautions to keep their patients safe and sound.
After all, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and COVID-19 changes daily.
Masked, I meandered towards an also masked socially distanced line outside Dynacare. A medical worker – dressed in full PPE – called people one at a time into the vestibule. I answered the five vague questions on a board, then I burst into the waiting room – and straight to the hand sanitizer.
A manual pump? With the tip of my pinky, I pushed out a small dollop and scanned the room for a seat. The last chair was at the back room next to the vestibule and rear window. Perfect view of my wait time and the line of people walking into Dynacare.
The line seemed to be getting longer and longer – and maskless and more maskless. While the front desk medical staff resembled hospital extras in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble – the line looked like they were auditioning to be extras on a random set. My anxiety flared like a Roman candle on Canada Day. Especially when I heard “the cough.”
A cough was one of “Are you experiencing any of the following” questions on the board. Oh, yeah. I gave them the Manitoba Glare. Am I proud? Debatable.
If you’re not familiar with the Manitoba Glare, by definition: a slow, neck turn – to the left or right – accompanied with “the look.” This act is most often utilized while driving.
The cougher said, “Sorry,” then laughed. Yes, laughed. Because not masking up and walking into a waiting room is hilarious.
Then I heard, “sniff, sniff, sniff,” coming from my right. Another unmasked person as the medical worker allowed more people entry without masks.
That’s when I noticed the sign.
At Dynacare, in the vestibule, there’s a sign stating everyone must wear a mask or face covering. Yet, maskless after maskless people were entering Dynacare’s waiting room.
I tried to sneak a photo, but I couldn’t risk being tossed out if caught. And I didn’t want to touch my phone because I already felt gross, dirty, and disgusting.
But after another sniff from an unmasked person, and I went to the medical desk. She looked a tad scared – even though she could only see my eyes. Which I’m certain were turning crimson.
Me: “You have a sign that says everyone must wear a mask or face covering. But there’s people without masks being allowed in.”
Her: “Oh, we tell them to bring a mask next time.”
Me: “You don’t provide them with a mask?”
Her: “No. That’s not our policy.”
I stared at her for a moment. Mulling that over, “That’s not our policy.”
Me: “Interesting,” I said, and I returned to my seat.
Why, seriously, why wouldn’t they provide masks? There were elderly people in that waiting room. What about people with compromised immune systems? Or people – like me – whose anxiety was sky-high. And I’m relaxed on a stormy day.
And I appreciate healthcare workers. I do, but the better answer to my question would’ve been, “Oh, we ran out. I didn’t realize they were being let in. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.”
Nope. “That’s not our policy.”
It’s complete ignorance to enter a medical facility without a mask. I don’t care whether you’re presenting symptoms or not. The pandemic hasn’t disappeared. And despite what Trump says, this will not be over by the end of August.
By wearing a mask, you’re protecting other people. I’m doing my part to protect you. All I ask is that you do the same.
Especially when you’re entering a place where it’s not their policy to enforce their own policy.