Waiting room protocol in Geneva

It struck me today, just how close I was to death the day I went to hospital…

I was in the waiting room of my doctor on my own when a woman came in. We bonjoured each other and she went to sit down, instead falling face forward towards the coffee table in front of her. A slight move to the right and she landed on me and slide to the ground. She attempted to get up and collapsed onto the floor again. Somewhat alarmed I went to get help and the nurse came with me, helping the lady to her seat. ‘Are you okay?’ she obviously asked, to which the woman replied ‘Bon, bon’. I felt like saying, ‘Excuse me, you are so not bon, you are tres tres unbon’. But there was a protocol here. There was a queue, this lady was not at the top of it, she would wait her turn, the mere fact that I have nothing much wrong with me and didn’t want to sit so close to a woman who probably had the bubonic plague counted not one whit.

So, a few weeks ago I was in hospital, I’d been admitted but sat in a waiting room to be seen by a doctor. Eventually things got really bad inside me and I managed to get to the desk nearby and say I’m sorry, but I think I need to see a doctor now. The nurse said she was sorry, but the girl who spoke English had gone away. Then she did a reassessment and I think she figured she didn’t need any language in common to see that I was in terrible trouble. She bustled me off to a room, soon half a dozen doctors came in and started asking me odd questions like how much I weighed and there it was. An emergency in progress.

In retrospect I now realise that the fact that I’d jumped the queue in a country that places such great weight on them means that my situation was as bad as bad could be.

I’m alive. Things could be so much worse.


3 thoughts on “Waiting room protocol in Geneva

  1. That’s Swiss democracy for you! Funny, I noticed at the airport last night that there was none of that pushing old people and small children to the front of the queue when boarding. They have to line up like everyone else.


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