I had a problem. I say “had” because I don’t have it any more. I have no problems now. My life is just fine right now, except for the fact that Mother considers Saturday night to finish Monday’s homework “last minute.”
Last week, I had a real problem.
I almost dropped out of college.
Correction: I almost got kicked out of college.
O, the shame and degradation!
It wasn’t because I was bad. I didn’t scream at the teacher. I didn’t plagiarize my papers. I didn’t cyber-bully any of my classmates. I didn’t eat cookies in the lab area. I didn’t fail all my tests. I didn’t refuse to pay my tuition. I didn’t steal anything. I didn’t text in class.
The reason I almost got kicked out of school is because my shots were too old.
I’m currently studying to be a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), and later on, I’ll pursue a nursing degree. A big part of CNA class is going out to hospitals and nursing homes and trying out our skills on real live
victims patients. Hospitals and nursing homes don’t want just anyone barging into their facility and practicing with their people. They want to know you aren’t a criminal. They want to know you know how to do CPR. They want to know that you aren’t going to sneeze Black Death germs on their frail and vulnerable residents. As such, there are vaccinations you need to have had before you can go to clinical sites.
Being the responsible student I am, I made an appointment with the Director of Nursing’s assistant, so I could give her my records and prove to her and the care facilities that I wasn’t a flea-bitten, disease-ridden mass of decaying humanity. It was still a week before the vaccination deadline. I had plenty of time. I arrive to my appointment five minutes early, only to discover:
Sharon Browne is home sick today. If you have an appointment with Sharon Browne, please email her and schedule for another time. Sorry for the inconvenience.
What? What, Sharon Browne? We had a deal here. I don’t even have classes today. I came here especially to see you. What?
Being the sweet and tender soul that I am, I sent the following email:
Dear Miss Sharon,
I am so sorry to hear that you were sick today. I hope you feel better soon. I guess we’ll have to reschedule, but you take care. I just want to let you know that we appreciate everything you do.
The next Monday in class, I wasn’t the only disgruntled one.
“I understand that people get sick, but that was just plain rude! Couldn’t she have called or emailed to cancel? I checked my email right before I dropped my two kids off with a babysitter, who I hired just to get this done. I don’t have the time or money for these kinds of mistakes! I sent her a very professional email, letting her know how unacceptable her behavior was, and I cced the Director of Nursing. Later today I’m making a complaint to the dean.”
As annoyed as I’d been, by that time, I was starting to feel a little sorry for Miss Sharon Browne. My classmate continued,
“She sent me a nasty reply, saying that it was unfortunate and that she’d have to look at her schedule and get back to me later. She’d better let me know soon!”
At break, I checked my own email. There was one from Miss Sharon Browne:
“Can you come today at your lunch time? Let me know.”
Let me tell you, my friends; sometimes, it pays to be nice to people, even when you don’t feel like it. Miss Sharon gave me the oh-so coveted appointment that very day at the very earliest time. She gave no appointment at all to the lady who gave her a piece of her mind. It is possible that I come before her alphabetically; but I doubt it. I’m a W. She’d have to be an X, Y, or Z. No, I think it’s because I wrote a kind-hearted email. My father says I’m a schmoozer. I don’t like that word. I prefer to think it generous, friendly, Christian conduct.
I don’t know. Maybe I am a schmoozer.
Then: the crisis. I show up for my coveted meeting, only to be told that my file is incomplete! My MMR immunizations are supposed to be less than 10 years old. Mine are 10 years, 3 months old. 3 months too late. She asks if I would like another appointment on Friday. Friday. The deadline. Today is Monday. I have four days to get an MMR titer, request paper proof of my immunity, and get it to Miss Sharon. Otherwise, I’m out of the program. Horrors! Mortification! Shame heaped upon the family name!
“Sure,” said I, “I’ll take an appointment on Friday.”
“You gonna be able to get it?” she asked, raising one skeptical eyebrow.
I wish I could raise one skeptical eyebrow. My eyebrows are inextricably connected. Bonded for life. Where one goes, so follows the other. Ruth and Naomi. Gossie and Gertie. No one skeptical eyebrow for me.
“Yes.” I replied. “I can do that.”
And somehow, I did. The next morning, I woke up at 5:30; criminally early in my owlish mind, to rush Downtown and to the hospital to get blood drawn before school started. My mother, who has known my doctor for over two decades, made threatening phone calls to the lab. They replied that it would be ready Thursday, and that they would fax it to us. We waited on tenterhooks. I begged prayer from anyone and everyone. Fax arrived; I was saved. I arrived at Miss Sharon’s office ten minutes early, got approved, and, after a week of worry, could finally go back to my footloose, happy self; bringing joy and sunshine into the lives of friends and disgruntled school faculty alike.