How is This Even Possible?

There’s going to be a point to all of this, but it’s going to take me a little time to get there, so hang in there with me.

It started a couple of days ago: a slight soreness in my left knee . . . nothing to be concerned about, I thought. But the pain got worse and was stating to feel tender by the time I boarded the northbound Silver Star, heading for Baltimore and the last two of the six Red Sox games I’ll see on this trip.

By the time the train arrived in Baltimore the next afternoon, the knee was a problem. I could still walk around, but anything approaching a normal stride was decidedly uncomfortable. I took a taxi to thechecked into the B&B I had booked which—Sure enough!—is located literally within a stone’s throw of Oriole Park.

After a bite to eat and a couple beers at a nearby pub, I retired to my room, responded to some emails, and turned in.

The next morning I was unable to bend my knee without some pain. I hobbled down stairs one step at a time and, with profuse apologies, asked the woman who runs this wonderful establishment if there is a medical facility close by . . . some place with walk-in facilities where I could go and have someone look at my knee.

It turns out there is a full-sized hospital just three blocks from here and it has an ER where folks can go and get treatment for just about anything . . . certainly for something as piddling as a sore knee.

My dear landlady drove me the few blocks and dropped me at the front door of this multi-floor facility. I was given a mask and some papers to fill out; I gave them my drivers license, my Medicare card and my insurance card; a nurse registered me, another one read off a long list of things that could go wrong and for which they were not responsible, and another took my “vitals”.

I was then directed to a waiting room, where eight or ten other people were waiting. One person was sound asleep under a blanket.

I sat down and after an hour or so in the warm sunlight and playing solitaire on my phone, I actually drifted off.

When I awoke I looked at my phone and realized that it had been a little more than three hours since I had been checked in.. A minute or so later, a nurse came by and I asked if my name had been called while I was dozing.

“No,” she said, “It’s Saturday and we’re kind of busy today so it’ll be a while before a doctor can see you.”

“How much longer?” I asked.

“Maybe six hours,” she said.

She saw the look on my face. “It could be a bit longer,” she said, “but we’ll take you as soon as we can.”

I sent a text to the lady who runs the B&B and she picked me up five minutes later.

An hour before last night’s game I double-dosed with ibuprofen and made it to Oriole Park and back to my B&B after the game
with no real problem.

This morning I’m getting ready for an overnight ride to New Orleans. The knee is still a bit sore, but I should be fine.

I just wish I could stop thinking about all those people in that ER waiting room . . . and wondering how that could even be possible in a country that has produced 585 billionaires?