23 October 2007

The New American Triage System is Sponsored by Sports Drinks

You may recall from this post that I enjoy the heightened beaureaucracy that has come with ASU President Michael Crow's efforts to create the "New American University", that is, reimagining higher education along the lines of business and pimping out the student body to any major corporation that presents itself at his door with a moderately-sized bucket of cash. But that's another post entirely.

I was struck with a mystery virus recently (it wasn't the flu, because I gleefully accept any vaccine any medical-type person offers me, and so took the allergy nurse up on her offer to flu-shot me the week they received it) and decided to consult the University physicians, not so much because I thought they'd be able to do anything to help me, but because I became dizzy on the way to my car to go to campus (note: campus is only four blocks away, so the mere fact that I needed my car to get there was a bad sign) and so figured that a note excusing my absence from class later that afternoon would be pretty useful.

As it turned out, the entire campus must have had the same thing, because there were semi-conscious coeds slumped all over the sign-in lobby when I arrived, causing me to wonder briefly if I'd accidentally walked in on closing time at a Mill Avenue bar. But that was nothing compared to the waiting room for urgent care, which strongly resembled the Atlanta train depot in Gone With the Wind, with etiolated students slumped in every available chair and spilling out into the lab waiting area across the hall. As it turned out, my self-diagnosis of a virus was right, I got some prescription strength Sudafed (whee!) and a note excusing me from class, and sloped off, only to return for muscle relaxant and painkiller (WHEE!) two days later when all my couch-lying caused a back spasm. Awesome.

But at the time, I proceeded to wait for two hours to be seen, during which I passed the time by frantically e-mailing my professor to alert her to the situation, reading informational pamphlets ("there's little to be accomplished by going to the doctor if you have a cold or the flu": a. no kidding; b. except for a note saying I can go home and lie in bed instead of saying smart things about French History) and sipping a free bottle of Powerade, a basket of which some be-scrubsed and white-tennis-shoed angel had brought through the waiting area, presumably to keep us all from expiring on the spot. Did you know Powerade contains coconut oil? I didn't. Also: the official Powerade web site is an inspiring example of how to maximize content while minimizing information provided. Come to think of it, why does an energy drink have such an involved web site? Is there a Powerade community out there of which I, as an avid non-consumer of sports and soft drinks, am completely unaware? Weird.