OK… So I go to the doctor today and get in there about ten minutes early. You would think that they like this kind of thing, especially since they, seemingly, have more important things to do than to wait around for you to show up late. Add to that that I try and be courteous about things like that. I know that I would be a little upset if I work my schedule around for someone, then they do not show up, or if they show up late.
Anyway… I get there, and fill out the little form letting them know who I am, and who I am there to see. She takes the form, and hands me a sheet explaining their policy on late or canceled appointments without twenty-four hours notice. I ask her, politely, “Was I late?” she tells me no, and that I need to sign this form stating that I understand. I told her I would, then found the nearest circular file to allow a clear understanding of how I felt about that. Unfortunately when I turned to see what her response was, she was not there… she had not seen my desperate act of rebellion. I had to fight the urge to start chanting “AT-TIC-A AT-TIC-A” over and over (That reference is lost on anyone who has never seen Dog Day Afternoon.)
So… I sat. My 8:05 appointment, which, according to the previously mentioned paper, I was supposed to be “Prompt” for and no more than “Fifteen minutes” late for, passed with no call to see the doctor. I understand… they must have been very busy, I mean the lobby was empty, so all the exam rooms must have been filled with sick patients in need of care. It must have been something serious too… because all the doctors and a couple of the nurses were gathered and talking. Yeah… they seemed to be laughing a lot, but maybe there was a patient that had something really amusing. Maybe an ulcerated and infected scrotum that left him with elephantine, basketball sized testicles. Maybe a politician with a severe case of “Head up Ass” disease.
At promptly 8:35am, the door opened and the nurse looked around the empty room, almost as though a little confused. Then, as if I suddenly appeared from behind the magazine table, she looked at me, then at her clip board, and asked “Are you Mr. Wright” I looked around the room and replied… “Last time my wife woke up with me, she did not scream, so I suppose I am.”
Nurse Napalm was not amused.
I was led to exam 8. This is the eighth room in a row of ten. All were dark, so the people that must have been in those rooms, taking up all that time, must have all been suffering from a severe case of Photophobia. I entered the room where I was seated, and then Nurse Napalm proceeded to take my temp and blood pressure. She asked what I was in for today, and the only thing I could come up with was; “A double cheeseburger and large diet coke.” She looked at me, then at the chart and said I see you are here for a follow-up.
She was brilliant, truly a credit to her profession, and psychic to boot.
I agreed that that was what I was there for, then mentioned that since my being late for an appointment would have required me to pay a $25 fee, did that mean they owed ME $25 for them being late?
Again, not amused.
It was now 8:49. I was told that the doctor would be in shortly. So I proceeded to look through the collection of year old magazines and health brochures, learning why I do not smoke, why I should not place sharp metal objects in my bodily orifices, and saw some pretty interesting pictures of what happens when you are careless with a pruning knife, in a doctors magazine of some sort.
At 8:55 a nice man entered the room. Not my doctor. He was too busy to keep our appointment. I figured that it must have been one of the photophobic introverts in the other rooms that I had passed that had his attention. This was an assistant, I forget the title, but which is almost as good, except that they cannot do all of the things a doctor can, but they know the language and get the keys to the medicine cabinet. He told me I was fine, gave me another prescription that I probably will not take all of, and told me to come back in a month.
It was now 9:03.
I spent almost an hour for an eight minute appointment. And what do you want to bet that when the Insurance company gets that bill… it will be for the entire time I was there. Heck… I wish I could work on that kind of schedule.
Oh well… This just goes down as one of those things.
As I was leaving, I heard the receptionist/nurse/forms nazi ask me: “Sir… did you sign the form I gave you?”
“Yeah… I filed it for you.”
She smiled… but I do not think she got it. It will probably dawn on her tonight at dinner, just as she is getting that second helping of potatoes.