Today was my first visit as a patient at an Air Force Medical Treatment Facility (MTF). Let me just start by saying, the clinic on base is way different from the one I'm used to back home. Gone are the cheery waiting rooms with fish tanks and birds for ambiance. Gone are the nurses in bright scrubs and doctors in starched white jackets. Gone are all the little touches that help ease any nervousness you may have felt about your doctor visit.
Instead I check in for my appointment with my military ID. I write my husband's social security number on every form I'm given. I'm led down narrow corridors that just don't seem to be lit as brightly as I'm used to. I'm examined by someone wearing ABUs.
That last one is what made the experience seem so surreal to me. I'm used to white coats and stethoscopes. Not ABUs. My husband wears that uniform. It's just...weird.
The doctor was great though. Super in fact. Her bedside manner was definitely not lacking. I just wasn't sure exactly what to call her. Doctor? Captain? Whoever said "ignorance is bliss" was dead wrong. I find it annoying.
Of course my first experience at a MTF wasn't going to unfold without some incident. Oh no. That's just not my style. I have to make it a memorable experience for all the wrong reasons.
I had to startle half the nurse staff by almost passing out in the hallway.
They found me sitting on the floor with my head between my knees trying not to lose consciousness and vomit all over my flip flops. And this was after almost passing out during my exam. At least I recognized the symptoms and sat my happy butt down. It would have been awfully embarrassing to be found sprawled out on the hallway floor.
I think I was the sensation of the morning. I'm sure most people don't pass out after a routine procedure such as I had. Sure it had been a little painful but not unduly so. I don't think they knew quite what to make of me.
All in all, it was a morning for the memory vault. At least I got my first appointment at the clinic out of the way. Now I know how the appointment line works, how the check in procedure goes, what the doctors look like.
Everything in the military world is so different from the civilian world that it definitely takes getting used to.