Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Trip to the Doctor

I got up at 7 am and drank a cup of juice, which made me feel sick. After an extra-thorough shower ("Extra-thorough?" "Don't ask.") I got in the car in hopes to make it across town in the next hour.

I arrived early. So early that I was the only one there. Eventually the secretary arrived. I filled out the paperwork, guessing where convenient, and skimmed the magazines.

At 9:45, the time of my appointment, some other fellow showed up, talked briefly to the desk, and was shown back to the doctor.

About nine days later I was shown back, was measured and weighed. I put on a robe. And sat on the tissue-papered padded bench-table. And waited.

My doctor showed up. I told her my appointment was for an ultrasound to determine the baby's sex, but by now I'm looking for a delivery.

She simply puts on her gloves and looks at my paperwork. Her response to the forms is to say "blah blah blah" to no one in the room. We began the physical. I was surprised how fast it was.

Later this upcoming Spring I was allowed to put my clothes back on and go take an eye exam in the hallway. Even though I couldn't read the 'E' on the top line the nurse patiently ran me through the chart. Then I got to go downstairs to get lab work done.

It's interesting that there's no word for riding an elevator. Since the office was on the top floor the wait for the elevator was inspiringly lengthy. I took out a pen and began transcribing Moby Dick from memory.

When I got down to the lab it was near closing. I was put on the restaurant-style waiting list and was told it would be about twenty minutes, is that okay? Only if the special of the evening is prime rib. She gave me a confused Cocker Spaniel look.

My name was eventually called and I went to booth number 4.

"Welcome to CCR Medical. Thank you for choosing CCR. We are now going to begin your registration process. What is your name and date of birth?"

Once I'd been officially registered I had the privilege of waiting for lab work. When my name was called I went back with a young tech who recited that the curtain was for my privacy. There were probably twenty booths in a row, with bright stripey curtains for privacy. It reminded me of a war zone brothel.

We chatted pleasantly as she rubbed up my arm, not helping me ease my metaphor. I looked away as she stuck it in me. She then told me to go to the bathroom, plastic cup in hand.

After this I got to wait for radiology. I'd never had x-rays taken before, so this was going to be a treat. I didn't do anything right. I faced the camera, stood the wrong distance, and probably shouldn't have asked for her number. Anyway, when I was walking out I told her that I needed the radiologist's signature on my forms. What forms? The ones upstairs in the doctor's office.

It took a few hours to elevator up and back, but I succeeded. I had assumed the woman who had taken my x-rays was the radiologist, but this was not so. I also felt slightly jealous when she took other patients into the backroom while I waited for the real radiologist to sign my papers. The real radiologist was in an adjacent building, across the street.

I didn't have TB (whew!) and my abdomen was classified as "grossly unremarkable". That hurt a bit, and I dwelt on it as I skipped the elevator and climbed 74 flights of stairs to return the paperwork to my doctor. The secretary was stunned I had achieved so much in such a short space of time.

Once I got out of the building I noticed I finally could make a phone call. If I ever start a cell phone company, and am trying to break into a new market, I would prioritize hospitals and doctor's offices. You know, for emergencies. Just a thought.

But I made it out alive. Now I just have to wait for a few days until I get to go back there and pick up my lab and paper work. I'm sure everything will go fine.

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