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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the Columnists.com, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern
Humorists.com
  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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E.R...
 


E.R.

Have you been to the emergency room of a large metro hospital lately? I hope not! Those places are a zoo. I had occasion to visit the walk-in area of one the other day, fortunately not as a patient.

The first thing I noticed was a security guard and metal detector. Were they afraid terrorists would attack the hospital, or what? The detector buzzed as I went through, probably from the cell phone in my purse. The security guard merely yawned. Guess I didnít fit the profile.

"Where do I go to get someoneís stuff back?" I asked.

"Get in line," she told me. I figured Iíd best not push it or they might decide it was worthwhile to interrogate me after all.

As I said, I was not there on an emergency. My daughter came through the ER as a patient earlier, and they had locked up her wallet. I just wanted to get her stuff back. But there I was in line with all the sick folks who were trying to out complain each other since the most critical patients are seen first.

The stressed out receptionist was talking to the man at the front of the line and filling out forms. He put his head down on the counter and told her he was having chest pain and felt nauseated. I tried to remember how to give CPR and drew a breath of relief when she finally finished his forms.

"Whoís next?"

Before I could open my mouth a little guy with a stocking cap jumped in front of me and said, "I am!"

"What is your problem?" asked the receptionist, with sweat beads popping out on her forehead and a wisp of hair falling over her eye.

"Psychiatric," said the new customer, "Didnít my doctor call you?"

Boy, was I ever glad I hadnít argued about whose turn it was next. Maybe it was my imagination, but he seemed to get processed much faster than the guy with the heart attack had.

Finally, I made it to the front. "Err, I just want my daughterís stuff that you locked up. See, I have the form that the nurse filled out and my daughter signed it." I waved it under her nose.

"Lorinda!" Come out here, she yelled toward the back.

Meanwhile an injured delivery man in line behind me was dripping blood on the floor and holding a towel on his hand. "Do you have insurance?" the clerk quizzed, as the poor guy struggled to find his Blue Cross card. Fortunately, it was his left hand that was injured, so he could sign the forms without too much trouble. Forms are very important to an emergency room it seems, almost more important than blood or pain.

Lorinda eventually showed before I fainted and looked at my form. "This stuff has gone to the cashierís office," she said, as a wheel chair whizzed by and through the automatically opening blue doors, narrowly missing my toes.

I left with the metal detector still buzzing in my ears, and headed out to search for the cashierís office. I finally found it only to be told that I had the wrong form. My form was only for the ER. "The patient needs to come in and sign our form," said the cashier.

"But, she canít come! Sheís critical. Thatís why Iím here." Whatís the matter with these people anyhow?

"Bring her on a stretcher to the back hall and Iíll come out there," the clerical Einstein generously offered. Rules are rules, he insisted, and he could lose his job if he digressed from them, regardless of permissions or conditions.

What a ludicrous policy! 

Believe it or not, I finally ended up meeting him out back with a paramedic pushing my daughter on a stretcher. The deal went down okay, and I got her wallet back at last.

I must be dreaming this, I thought. Surely it is an episode of MASH returning to give me nightmares. Afraid notÖ It is for real Ö just an ordinary day of business as usual at the hospital.


Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss

 
 



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