Why Subway is Better Than American Healthcare

Courtesy Google images

In the women’s health industry, pregnancy-based issues are considered especially great opportunities for subjective misery.

In Fayetteville, the particularly irate woman who is subject to these miseries comprises an individual squad known as Emily.

This is her story.

So yesterday we finally made the trip to the OB-GYN to see what exactly is going on. Do I even need to say that I hate going to the doctor? And my hatred has only been exacerbated since returning from Korea, where there is essentially NO WAITING once you check in, where everything is thorough and professional, and where nearly all routine procedures are affordable even if you opt not to file them on your insurance. Yeah, so I was hurting for Korea yesterday.

Some background: I am what you would call “pee shy.” It’s always been hard for me to go in public, although during college I at least partially conquered my neurosis. Unfortunately, this does not extend to going on command at the doctor’s office. I figured that I might have to give a sample at the office, so I waterlogged myself before we left home just to give myself that extra edge. As expected, I was promptly given a cup upon arrival and instructed to fill it partially. My heart sank. Here we go again.

I entered the bathroom and made my attempt. For 10 minutes. Fifteen minutes. The lab tech stuck her head in.

“Mrs. A, is everything alright?”

“Um, yeah, I, err, mistakenly went before leaving home.”

“Oh ok. Just relax.”

I’m trying to relax. Now could you please just leave so I can focus on the dripping faucet you may have already noticed I turned on full-blast?!

My current situation was not optimal, so I left the bathroom and drank several gallons of water from the fountain in the hallway.

Then I resumed my pee stand-off.

Five minutes elapsed and I started  freaking out a little bit. What if this just straight-up doesn’t work? OK, don’t panic. Just go see if the lab can do a blood test or something instead. But they may think you’re wacko. Well, I am, so they’d be correct. Eff it. 

“Excuse me, hi, um, I’m having a little trouble going. Is there any way you could do a blood test to determine my pregnancy?” (which I am already completely sure exists and would love to show you my several hundred home preggo tests to prove it).

“No ma’am. This is protocol. We must have a specimen before any other tests are run.”

“Really? Because I took like six tests at home from different brands at different times and they all came out positive.”

“No ma’am. We have to know for sure.”

“So no blood test?”

“No. Drink some water and relax.”

I opted to go back to the waiting room and, well, wait.

My husband was a little confused and I explained the situation. I then waited about 10 minutes and then drank some more water before giving it another try. By then I really had to go, but as those of you who have pee shyness know, that doesn’t matter at all.

I resumed the position. Ten minutes pass. Another lady comes in to pee in her cup and she has no problem at all. I start to freak out. What if I can’t get any medical care at all throughout this pregnancy because I can’t pee in a damn cup? What kind of mother would I be if my child’s health is put in jeopardy because I’m neurotic?

I started to cry a little. I buried my head in my hands and started weeping. Quite a sorry sight. Although it would add a whole new dimension of creepy unpleasantness to the whole situation to think of someone actually watching this in real time.

But soft! What is this? Apparently the crying relaxed me because right then I started to go! SO happy! Elation!

I delivered my cup and returned to the waiting room. And waited. And waited. And waited. For an hour and a half.

Finally we were called to the smaller examination room where we could wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. For another hour and a half. I realize that it took me kind of a while to pee, but this kind of waiting cannot be chalked up to that. A nurse came in and apologized for the wait and said, esoterically, “She is running behind schedule. She is very thorough. She will be with you soon.”

Is she Yoda or something?

She finally arrived, a young energetic woman whose name and accent indicated that she was from Africa. She was sharply dressed and very warm and kind. But she introduced herself as a nurse, not a doctor. I made an appointment with a doctor. I was confused. I still am confused. Is this normal? She also went on for like ten minutes about how to assuage morning sickness even after I told her it hasn’t been too bad for me and I don’t see it as a problem or an impediment.

As promised, she performed all the exams thoroughly and told me I could come back on Tuesday for an ultrasound. But when I went to the front desk to confirm my upcoming appointment, the personnel said that the ultrasound tech doesn’t come on Tuesday, Thursday, or Fridays, the only days my husband can accompany me to the doctor to see the baby. So I had to make it for Monday.

We returned to the car and I started wailing immediately. B was freaked out, to say the least. I had been suspiciously calm and not too emotional up to that point in the pregnancy, so at that moment I guess I decided to cash in all my chips and get crazy hormonal and cry like the baby we’ll have next year. It was most definitely an un-fun moment for all parties involved. I think the thing that triggered it was that he won’t be able to be there the first time I see the baby, and I could see that he was quite disappointed too.

It was really late and we had planned on going grocery shopping for the week after the appointment, but since  the appointment took forever and a day, we opted to just stop in to Subway and pick up some sandwiches for dinner. I was still bawling and screaming like a banshee when we got there, but I was also beyond starving and had been for quite some time, so I told  B to go in without me and then bring them back to the car. I had recovered by the time he returned, so I noticed when he snickered when got back.

“What’s so funny?”

“The guy in Subway apologized for the two-minute wait.”


  1. What a traumatic experience, as a former pee-shy girl, I can totally relate to that problem.

    The efficiency of South Korean healthcare sounds pretty awesome! Why can’t doctors elsewhere figure that out? I would venture to guess that the Japanese have doctor visits down pat too.

    1. Brit, South Korean healthcare IS awesome! I have, however, heard stories from other Westerners who gave birth there that the birthing experience wasn’t exactly a fantastic experience, as the labor and delivery wards are all open and the personnel think it’s amusing when the moms shriek in pain. I guess it’s hard to find perfect healthcare everywhere.

      BTW I love your blog and have really been enjoying following your pregnancy in India. Best of luck to you!

  2. This reminds me so much of me and Michael ~~

  3. […] First, morning sickness, joy of all joys. Check. Next, gaining weight. Gotta love that fatty middle stage. Got it. Another, going to the doctor for the first time. Covered. […]

  4. […] much no one was following my blog when I wrote a post early in the pregnancy detailing my inability to go in a cup, but if you want a laugh you should check it […]

  5. I used to be pee-shy, too. Like, it didn’t matter how much pressure was built up in ye ole bladder, the dam just wasn’t going to break.

    I once had a doctor tell me that something was likely wrong with Baby #2, and I would require an ultrasound every month for the remainder of my pregnancy. And then he forgot to relay that information to any of his office staff. It took another couple of months to get it sorted out.

    1. Ugh, it can be such a comedy of errors. I am so glad that it’s over with…for now, at least.

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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