"Because my baby she have feeber."
"Yes, 101.2. How long has she had a fever?"
"Oh, since maybe one hower."
"Ma'am, just curious, but how much is your co-pay for ER visits? This has no effect on getting seen, I was just wondering."
"Is ten dollars."
"Okay, so here's the thing. If you want to be seen, we'll get you in, but we're swamped during flu season, and the wait even for the fast track peds clinic right now is about 4 hours. You understand that you could walk over to that drugstore across the street, buy yourself a bottle of children's acetaminophen liquid with the same $10 bill, get $4 in change back, and save 4 hours of waiting time that you'll never get back, right?"
"Oh jess, but for $10 I get to see El Doctor."
And then I realized I'd been thoroughly destroyed and outmaneuvered by Stephen Hawking-level logic by someone that, judging by her sign in sheet, is illiterate in at least two languages. Where else could someone whose uninsured husband may sell oranges at the freeway exit get to see world-class board certified emergency pediatricans for the bargain price of just 10 bucks?!?
Certainly not in Zacatecas, Calcutta, or Timbuktu. Just here, home of Broken Substandard Healthcare So Beyond Help That Only The Government Can Fix It.
And then I just snapped. Grabbed the vitals machine, and clubbed my own head into a fine pink stew until Security pulled it from my twitching fingers.
And then my alarm went off, and it was time to suit up and get to work.