Just to give some background knowledge about why I was a permanent fixture there for awhile, I'm unfortunately very prone to UTIs (I think they call my particular phenomenon "Honeymoon Cystitis" or somesuch). It didn't pop up so much back in undergrad due to the fact that my sex life was nil for most of it, but upon entering graduate school I became involved in a serious relationship when all of a sudden it BECAME a pretty damn major issue. I should also note that I went to very different schools between undergrad and grad - the first school was a tiny liberal-arts school in Sarasota, and I settled on a gigundus university for grad school, located in considerably more northerly parts of FL.
The first time I had an issue with the UTI, I did what was protocol back in undergrad and marched to the infirmary, ready to rock. I knew the drill well by then - pee in a cup, look for blood and at the white blood cell count, and go from there. Unfortunately, the receptionist had other ideas - her first words to me, upon my explaining the problem to her, were, "Well, we're appointment only. I'll see what I can do."
Well, that was a bummer. So I sat down among the hordes of coughing, wheezing, and half-dead looking grad students, and wait. And then I continue to wait, with little problem at the beginning (I caught the UTI pretty early on). Finally, after 20 minutes or so, the receptionist informs me that she's found a spot for me, and to come back in three hours. So, I found myself on campus with no car and three hours to kill, AND a developing UTI. What really sucks is that she ignored me when I asked if there was a way to get my hands on pain meds - Uristat or something, but she informed me that I'd have to see a doctor for it - basically, no. So I do what anyone else would do in the same situation - I found a secluded nearby building and hid in the bathroom for the next three hours where no one would bug me.
Three hours pass, and the mild infection has grown considerably worse. I manage to get myself to leave the bathroom and walk back to the infirmary, where I sign in for my appointment and proceed to wait for 30 minutes for a nurse to see me, weigh me, and tell me to wait some more for the doctor. By this time, I'm already in an examination room, and I have to keep sprinting back to the waiting room every five minutes to use their bathroom. Another 45 minutes of pee-filled funtime later, and the doctor strolls in casually.
"You're in trouble?" he asks. Say it with me, now. You're in. You'rein. Urine.
I was not amused, either at the wait or his humor. So I tell him what I think is wrong, mention that I've gotten these before, and tell him what I've done in the past. He tells me to go and take a urine test. Fine, whatever. This entails leaving the examination room, going up to the fourth floor, trying to get enough pee into a cup for any useful examination, failing to do so despite being there for nearly 20 minutes, and being told that it'll take at least another hour for the results to come in and no, they can't give me Uristat either. At this point, I'm getting pissed - I have labwork to do (I was rotating in a Forest Genomics Lab at the time) and classwork to work on, and there's no way I could have gotten anything done with the constant urge to pee. And my day's already been about wasted by this BS.
I go back to the room and wait, then wait some more. Finally, after a few more trips to the bathroom and an hour later, the doctor come strolling in and informs me that I may have a Urinary Tract Infection. Well hell. You could have knocked me over with a feather with that one. Just to make sure I didn't have a kidney infection, though, he had to check - and so he thumps me a good two on the lower back, determines that I do not have a kidney infection, and starts writing me a prescription.
But what are you prescribing, I ask. Septra doesn't work on me. (The old NP at my undergrad tried it with me, found out it didn't work, and prescribed me Cipro. Cipro worked like a dream.)
Septra is less likely to have resistances against it, he tells me, as he's writing the prescription. I protest, he tells me he knows what he's doing, and by this time I'm pissed, have to pee, and I'd be willing to take cyanide to dull the pain, so I go with it. Oh, and he didn't prescribe me Uristat, either.
Of course, OF COURSE, though, Septra didn't work. After the three day treatment period, I STILL had a UTI. I waited a few more days after that and it got worse rather than better, so I found myself up at 5:30 am about a week later, unable to sleep or move or do much or anything that whine and pee. So I called the emergency hotline and talked to the Nurse on Duty (who happened to be with the women's clinic as well), described the situation, and immediately get written a prescription for the pain (extra-strength Uristat), Cipro, and an antibiotic to take after sex, as well as the earliest appointment time that morning I could get. Except that I had to wait until 8am to pick any of it up or see anyone.
So, I find myself once AGAIN sitting in the examination room waiting to get doctor's clearance (annoying, but I could kind of understand why) when the other doctor strolls in, this time sparing me his stupid joke. Instead, he's ANGRY, and he's holding the prescription slips in his hand.
"Why dud Nurse X prescribe you Cipro?" he demands. "I prescribed you Septra, it should have worked. The infection should be cleared up."
"Well, it isn't," I reply. "I can take a urine test to prove it, if you want." After arguing with me, then arguing with Nurse X and getting shot down, I finally get my prescriptions (extra-strength Uristat FTW) and lo - the infection clears up with Cipro. Who'da thought it?
I learned three things from this experience:
1) That driving with a UTI blows, and hard.
2) I'd rather drive the 35 miles out of town to see a doctor, pay a copay, and have the rest covered by school insurance than go for free at the student deathcare center.
3) Uristat doesn't work beyond a certain, very painful point.