A colleague of mine once mentioned visiting a "doc in a box" while in New York. I decided to go see one for myself. Around these parts about the only storefront more prevalent than Starbucks seems to be Duane Reade drug stores. They are everywhere and when visiting Manhattan you quickly learn to rely on them. They all have ATMs, and pretty much everything else a hotel dweller could possibly need. They also seem to be chock full of crazy people and you know how I enjoy the crazies. A friend once saw a crazy ranting and raving in a Duane Reade. When the crazy lady finally spiralled within earshot my friend put on her best psycho face and whispered "If you don't shut up I'm going to kill you." That really set crazy lady off. My (hilarious!) friend just shrugged and shook her head as the security guard escorted the crazy from the store screaming "She said she's going to kill me! She said she's going to kill me!!!" As if that isn't endorsement enough for Duane Reade (I'm sure they'd be proud) I've just discovered some Duane Reades have "docs in a box". I met one today.
Because I'm so distrustful of my (and all) insurance I called to make sure my little out-of-state visit was covered. I called and described my symptoms to the insurance dude (sore throat, irritated ears and sinus pressure) and was told I would need to leave the Duane Reade and immediately go to an emergency room. "What?! That will cost you SO MUCH MORE than this place will charge." I was promptly put on hold. When the insurance dude returned from hold I quickly told him the Duane Reade was considered an urgent care facility (as the Duane Reade dude had calmly assured me). Hold guy then said that the Duane Reade would be ok but that they would have to bill it as an "Emergency". WTF? It was NOT what I would call an emergency (no blood, broken bones, stopped heart or otherwise collapsing body). Duane Reade guy said they would bill it as "urgent care". Semantics!! All I know is that I didn't feel well and I wanted to get a handle on it before my return flight. Isn't that what my spendy insurance is for? I paid my $50 co-pay (rip off!) but only $4 for my prescription of penicillin. All in all, not bad. The girl in the pharmacy noticed where I worked (it was all over the forms and insurance cards) and asked me about what I did and why on earth I had left California to come to New York in the rain. I told her I was here on business. I then over heard her talking to a co-worker and say "$4. Not bad. I guess (fortune-500-company) wants to keep their employees feeling good." I kept an artificial smile on my face... if only they knew what my poor boss has been through.
I was finished with the days meetings so I returned to a rather chilly hotel room. I thought it might just be me but I now think it's seriously cold in here. That's where the blankets came in. It seems the heat is centralized and they can't do anything to make it warmer in my room. Housekeeping and maintenance instead dropped off two blankets and a space heater. Then, of course, I kept thinking "Isn't the only thing in the world more flammable than a Christmas tree a space heater?". I then felt a chill and stopped caring. I needed some warmth. I'm feeling warmer but I admit the blanket situation is grossing me out. I've seen too many Dateline and 20/20s to not be. On the other hand, I figure I've got a fist full of penicillin so I should be able to handle a questionable blanket, right? Don't answer that.
When I checked in last night I skipped the big dinner out with everyone and stayed in for some matzo ball soup. It was amazing and the only thing in the world that I wanted. Who knew a little lemongrass could be such a delightfully unexpected twist on a classic soup? I'll be having more tonight. I had the soup with a salad last night. Guess how much it set me back... Go ahead, guess. Are you ready?
I know! Soup and salad, people! I guess it's good I didn't have a hankering for a steak. Sheesh! I'm now settled in for the night. I've got TCM on tv and a New York Times. The million dollar soup will come later. I hope the good old fashioned penicillin kicks this thing before I get back on that plane. *fingers crossed*