I was walking to work, the other day, for the first time in months. I had finally managed to get early enough not to have to run behind a cab at 7.55 am, but to soak up the sun instead during 20 precious minutes, the last ones before the awakening of the city's cars.
So here I was, a few meters away from the hospital's entrance, when I noticed some feces on the ground. I knew it wasn't some neighborhood dog who left that on his own morning walk. I knew it was one of the humans who lived on the surroundings. The ones who were too weak to defend themselves on the street, and resorted to sleep near the emergency's entrance, where there was always 2 or 3 guys (security, male nurses, police officers) who could hear a cry for help. The one who slept under the manicured trees in blankets darkened by dirt. The old men, and the women.
It reminded me of the last time I freaked out while working. I was on night call, and that young beautiful woman stormed into the examination room while I was already busy with a patient. She came to the desk, bluntly put the card she'd been given at the ER entrance on the table, and panickedly told me that she had stomach pain. I told her I was already seeing a patient and that she must wait for her turn (while mentally cursing the absent nurse who was supposed to kinda organize it all..), upon which she looked surprised and went out, only to come back in as soon as I finished writing my prescription.
She was dressed in a jellaba, hair untied, and my first impression of her was that of strangeness. I supposed she was just worried of her symptoms, but as she looked surprised again when I told her to get on the bed to examine her, and generally looked lost, I began to sense there was more to it. She had 2 rings on the same finger, and I figured out she must be married, to which she answered yes. She was reluctant to undress, and when I got to examine her, I found a round mass on the pelvis. She had absolutely no stomach pain. I asked her when she last had her period, and she said : "Four months". I told her if she thought she might be pregnant, and the absent look in her eyes just struck me as she had never linked the absence of her period with a possible pregnancy. I didn't really understand either why no one was with her, as young spouses rarely go out to the ER in the middle of the night without at least one family member (causing major overcrowding in the waiting room, by the way), and mechanically wrote her a letter for the gyn-ob specialist on duty that night.
A few minutes later, with her gone, I was asking the nurse who had finally come back, and she said : "Oh, that woman ?She's been sleeping around the hospital for two years now".