Going to hospitals today is like you’re an astronaut landing on the moon.

“Sir, it’s going to be several more hours before the doctor can see you,” the weary nurse said. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic,” she added.

“Never-mind,” I told the nurse. “Thank you, but we’ve been here already over four hours.”

So, I limp out of the emergency ward to where my inexhaustibly patient wife Rita is waiting forever outside as no visitors are allowed in the emergency waiting room. 

And we went home where she put ice on my much-more swollen, aching foot and we both drank wine and ate pasta.

Soon as you enter emergency waiting rooms these days you have to remove your facemask and wear one of theirs plucked fresh out of a bag or box at the entrance.  The whole time I was there Rita had to wait for me standing right outside.  Every couple of hours I’d blow her a kiss through the window.

The day before I had stepped on something nasty on the beach where Rita and I take our daily walks along the water’s edge barefooted.  Whatever it was, it hurt  like crazy as if I had been stung by a bee or I had stepped on a lit cigarette. 

In acute pain I hobbled to one of the covered outdoor daybeds in front of Boca Raton Resort and Club.  A guard came over to see what happened to me, and then brought a pail of water so I could put my foot into it.   

The next day back at the hospital, the only results of the X-rays of my swollen left foot finally were summarized in an esoteric medical report full of terms and conditions that a layman like me could hardly fathom. 

The radiologist’s report said I had soft tissue edema, vascular calcifications, heterotopic calcifications adjacent to the first interphalangeal joint injecting over soft issues, but no acute osseus abnormality.

Even though I didn’t understand it, the relief word “no” is my favorite in such medical reports.  I always want to have NO this and NO that, thank you.

But after there waiting so long without seeing a doctor, I didn’t give a damn and I said “no” to anymore waiting. 

I had reached a point where I was sorry I had even gone to the hospital where my  injured swollen foot stepped into a strange mix of organized chaos and compassionate, but lengthy waiting to be seen by that rare species, a doctor!  

The elderly man in sitting across from me whose shirt I watched for hours bore the words “Made in 1941 . . . All Original Parts!”   I asked him if that’s how old he is and he answered weakly “yes.”

So, now I said good night and left all the poor overworked nurses and aides and Mr. 1941 and the rest of the sick and wounded waiting to be seen, including a boy in a bathing suit wearing a neck brace while his girlfriend stayed outside on the sidewalk in her bathing suit sitting in the rain. 

Rita had offered her an umbrella, which she declined although dripping wet, but she smiled and thanked her.

So, we took my X-ray report, collected our discharge paperwork and went home! 

Then next day, seeing my foot still red and swollen, Rita says let’s go right now to the nearest healthcare clinic and there’s one nearby on Federal Highway. 

There, like a miracle came St. Jude from Haiti.  Although not a full-fledged saint, Jude is a cheerful Advanced Nurse Practitioner at the local CVS Pharmacy’s Healthcare Clinic called MinuteClinic, where Rita anxiously drove me while my foot throbbed.

Jude pronounced my left foot infected and prescribed an antibiotic I was to take twice a day for the next 10 days with food to get rid of the redness, pain and swelling it was causing. 

I felt grateful to Haiti for sending St. Jude to my rescue and then cancelled all my doctors’ appointments for Monday as I felt in saintly good hands.  

There’s a Children’s Medical Research Hospital I support named after St. Jude, which I urge you to support too, since everyday it performs miracles. 

Besides an inveterate blogger, Tom Madden is an author of countless published articles and five books, including his latest, WORDSHINE MAN, available this summer on Amazon.   He is the founder and CEO of TransMedia Group, an award-winning public relations firm serving clients worldwide since 1981 and has conducted remarkably successful media campaigns and crisis management for America’s largest companies and organizations.