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Doctor's Visit

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry

A friend of mine has a saying along the line of… “I’d rather be pecked to death by ducks than to…(fill in the blank). Well, when it comes to going to a doctor’s office the saying goes for me as well.

I don’t mind going if there is something wrong with me, but when it’s just a routine examination you can picture me as less than cooperative. First off, you have to get in line to get on their schedule, which in some case takes weeks and weeks. Then when you get there you have to go through the same old drill time after time and fill out more of the same old papers you’ve filled out each time you went to visit. Why you have to write your name, address, date of birth and phone number on each page… completely mystifies me. By the time you get to be over the age of fifty you can bet your file folder is about two inches thick with the same information over and over again.

I try to arrive early in the eternal hope that the doctor is running ahead of schedule and that I can get out sooner. In this case I have made the wrong choice. Today is not going to be one of those days. This is the post office and the grocery checkout lines on July 4th wrapped up in one. There are five people in the waiting room and they have all signed in with the name of my doctor and their appointment time is well before me.

This doctor wants a urine sample. You know the drill, do your thing in the little cup then stick in the little door which I guess is on the other side of the laboratory. My fears are further confirmed when I see five urine containers already in place. I can tell this is not going to be a good experience.

Everyone looks up as a nurse comes to the door and announces a name, the mood darkens among the rest of us still sitting as if we’re playing musical chairs and waiting in anticipation for the music to stop. No sense in trying to read any of the magazines since they are all over two years old. I don’t need to read about the upcoming election in 2008 since I am well aware of the results. Same thing with copies of old People magazines, since the celebrities have all changed partners several times over or have gotten fat or lost a lot of weight or gone to jail, again.

The door opens and a nurse calls my name, I feel a sense of relief and anticipate that things are starting to once again move forward. I am soon proved wrong.

The magazines in the examination room range from a five year old copy of Readers Digest (large print) to something called Prevention and another called Parenting. Somehow Dr. Spock isn’t relevant in my world any longer. At this point in time I have been in the doctor’s office over an hour past my scheduled appointment, not counting the time I arrived early. I count the number of floor tiles which takes up about two minutes then I switch to the ceiling tiles which eats up another whole minute or so. I sense myself becoming impatient. I try to play games on my cell phone but the battery dies while I am playing something called burst the bubble so that option goes out the window.

After sitting in the examination room for an hour I open the door and walk out into the hallway, you would have thought I was about to enter the Oval office or something, nurses come out from all directions wanting to know what I am doing. I tell them I am trying to find out what is going on and how much longer will I have to wait.

I am told by a nurse who looks like a former Nazi prison guard that the DOCTOR is busy and will get to me as quickly as he can. She places a lot of emphasis on the word DOCTOR. I suppose this is to intimidate me as if I didn’t know what his title happened to be. Hello lady I know it’s a DOCTOR’S office…I made an APPOINTMENT to be here.

In about fifteen minutes another nurse comes into the room and tells me that the doctor (not so loud this time…probably bad nurse ..good nurse technique) has been delayed and would I wish to reschedule for some other date. I say no, I’d rather get this over this afternoon or at least before the sun goes down as I hate driving in the dark.

My sarcastic remark sails over her head and she retreats and closes the door a little harder than normal. More time goes by and now I have been in the office a full two hours. The Nazi nurse returns and announces that the DOCTOR will be in to see me in a few minutes and that I am his LAST patient. I have no idea why the comment about being the last patient was made, since I assume that someone is the LAST patient everyday and today I just happen to be it. Or maybe they have a room full of people who missed being the last patient and are stuck in some form of medical limbo or purgatory awaiting redemption. By whom or how I have no clue.

The door opens slightly then closes then reopens again and there in a blazing aura of white glory is …..the DOCTOR. My fifteen minutes of fame are about to begin. As usual, nothing is wrong with me except my rear end hurts from sitting in a plastic chair for too long, but that will pass.

As I leave the office the lights start turning off behind me and I walk out in the waning sunshine determined never to repeat this process again.

But in my heart I know I’m lying …..it is what it is.

© Peary Perry
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

Letters From North America - September 30, 2009 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers

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