fool's errand

Today, I ran a fool's errand. I had a iffy feeling about it anyway, so I brought the whole family with me. My beloved, kick-assedly talented DH Monstro drove. I sat in the seat where he has to put the van in “P” and then push the button to open my door. I ran all over the Cleveland Clinic campus and experienced conversations with green hoodies, redjackets, and a hospital cop.

MFM (My Favorite Mother) isn't feeling well and I think she has a UTI, but she couldn't give a sample on Friday at the doctor, so she brought the kit home with her (and a hat!) and we did the catch yesterday. That afternoon, I drove to the Cleveland-Clinic-affiliated ancillary surgical center in my city. But it was Saturday, and it was closed.

[The Cleveland Clinic is the #4 in the nation according to the banners hung in all the streets, which are many because it spans 15+ blocks with 3-4 up and down.]

The security guard Saturday said my best bet was Main Campus, so I found the number for Laboratory Client Services and called. “Oh yeah, bring it here,” the guy said. “It has a bar code, right?” Yes, it does. [Later, in-person, he disavowed all involvement.] He gave me directions that ultimately included an ambulances-only, no-throughway “street.” Monstro and the kids and MFM let me off and I found the red counter after asking just before it came into view.

“And I have a Master's degree!” I told my directional enabler.

The lady behind the red counter looked at it and shook her head. “There's no papers. You have to go to J Building, to Phlebotomy.” Further interrogation got her to tell me the building was also called “The Miller Building.”

I got back to the van, bag in hand, and told them, “I've never worked so hard to hand off a jar of pee.”

We drove up and down. The “Miller Building” is the Miller Pavillion, a double-digit-story, curved glass edifice you expected to see Tom Cruise climbing. Hard to miss. Monstro let me out again and I asked some helper-youths in green hoodies where to go. They pointed me toward the red coats and I marched down a one-person-wide hallway there for that sole purpose.

The red coats tittered at my request. The worker got right on the phone while the trainee ruffled through slip-coated booklet pages. I mumbled something about Stump the Band and the trainee said, “Oh no, she just has to talk to the person who knows whether it's A-10, J4, blah blah.” Clearly, she was worthless so I stepped up to blatantly eavesdrop on the phone conversation in progress.

The red-jacket lady, late-40s, coiffed, waved her nails in the air as she consulted with her higher-up, Oz. “OK, so she should go direct to the lab,” she said. I interrupted,”if he's going to say the lab on 93rd and Carnegie, I've been there and they wouldn't take it.”

A few more worthless minutes and she hung up, but not before saying, “OK, thanks, I'll let her know,” which is never ever going to preface news like, “you just won the lottery!” or “that STD scare was a false alarm.”

“You know, it's the weekend, and we just have a very light staff,” she started.

“Are you saying that there isn't anyone in this building who can test my mother's urine for a UTI?”

She shrugged. “We're just really lightly staffed on the weekend.”

OK. Clearly, when I first saw them and said, “third time's a charm!”, I jinxed it.

I strode down the hallway for everyone and turned the corner past the hospital cop, who had the stance of Morgan Freeman in last night's Casa de Movie “Gone Baby Gone.”

“This whole place,” I told him while not breaking stride, “and nobody can help me find out why my mom is sick.”

“How, what, what do you mean?”

“I go to the lab, they say come here. I talk to the redcoats and they say go back, or just wait until Monday.” During part of this I was facing him, walking backward, not breaking stride (my new boots are great for that, very solid-footed and just high enough). I waved my hand, walked through the double doors, and came back to the van, bag in hand.

“Nobody there can take it,” I said. “Time for lunch!” When we got to Melt, I made sure Monstro locked the minivan.

“I wouldn't want anyone to mess with what's in the backseat,” I said, helping MFM and her walker over the uneven pavement.

“What, you mean the jar of pee?” she answered, cracking up and we laughed.

I'm going to take it back to my neighborhood's surgery center tomorrow morning. Does pee go bad?


“You should have thrown the piss at them,” Monstro said while I was writing this before leaving for Rite Aid to buy beer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *