Above the Fold: Supply Chain Logistics News (January 6, 2023)

Unless you’re being rushed in on a gurney, bleeding from a gunshot wound or knife stabbing, or you’re in active cardiac arrest, there is nothing urgent about a hospital emergency room.

I spent 7 hours in an ER this past Wednesday night into Thursday morning. I won’t go into the details, but I wasn’t there for me and everything worked out fine at the end, which came at 3:00 am for me, when I discharged myself through the sliding doors into the dark rainy morning.

As I sat in the ER all those hours, on a stiff chair circa 1993, I felt like I was at an airport terminal, waiting to board a long delayed flight with other stranded passengers, none of us knowing if or when we would take off.

Across from me sat a man, maybe in his late 60s, who kept taking his own temperature every 10 minutes, using a digital forehead thermometer he brought from home, which he had packed in a plastic grocery bag along with his own finger pulse oximeter. I overheard him tell someone that he came to the ER because his temperature had been 91F when he took it at home. 

Impossible, I thought to myself, but who am I to judge this man or question the accuracy of his thermometer? 

Nearby, a young couple bickered about something I couldn’t make out, their patience with each other slipping away with each sip of water they took from the water bottle they shared.

“An ambulance brought me here 5 hours ago because I was having trouble breathing; how much longer do I have to wait to see a doctor?!” complained an old man to the receptionist, a woman with long curly hair who kept typing away on her computer. The old man, who might have been a pole vaulter in his youth but is now the opposite of athletic, was dressed in a navy sweatsuit; on his feet, white socks but no shoes. I couldn’t hear what the receptionist said to him, but when he turned away and shuffled back to his seat, I could hear the fff fff fff of his socks on the carpet.

Over here, a woman is sleeping like a ragdoll tossed in a chair, her coat draped over head. Over there, a mother, father, and adult son are sitting together, yet they’re all alone, each of them on their phones, clicking and swiping the hours away.

Thermometer man takes his temperature again.

When 3:00 am rolls around, I am the only person left in the ER, except for the receptionist and a security guard who leaves her tiny office every hour, like a small bird in a cuckoo clock, to hit the vending machine down the hall. Everyone else has either been seen by a doctor and discharged or they got tired of waiting and just left.

I am tempted to take off my shoes and shuffle over to the receptionist, and yell at her, “Hey! Is this flight ever going to take off? I’ve been here for hours and I’m tired, hungry, and just want to go home!”

I imagine her typing typing typing, yelling back at me, “Hay is for horses!”

And then silence.

And then laughter, as we both break down

laughing at the absurdity of it all, the lack of urgency

because there is no emergency here, no bullet holes in our chests, no stab wounds in our backs, no gurneys rushing in, just our hearts beating, beating, beating

ourselves to death.


A memorable first week of 2023, for sure. Before I fall asleep, here’s the supply chain and logistics news that caught my attention this week:

Since I only got 4 hours of sleep on Thursday, my mind is still a bit foggy today, so I think it’s best for me to quit while I’m ahead and save my commentary for another day.

Have a happy weekend!

Song of the Week: “I Feel Loved” by Depeche Mode