Eternity at the Doctor’s Office

Waiting at the doctor’s office can be a pain in the you-know-where. It tests your patience. It ruins your day. It brings out the worst in you. Maybe that’s why my doctor’s office has this sign that says “We have the right to charge a $10 fee if patients become rude or disruptive.” I have been known to grow horns when angry, but losing ten bucks is reason enough not to lose my cool. That’s lunch money right there.

Today was going to prove particularly difficult. I was getting my annual lab draw. Fasting to boot. I had called too late so I got a late appointment. 10:40 a.m. That does not bode good for someone like me who is used to breakfast at 8 o’clock sharp. You know how some people don’t do mornings? Well, me, I don’t do hungggrrrry…

Although my appointment was much later, I went early in the hope of getting lucky. Might have to steal someone’s spot or just whack off the competition if I had to. Either way, it was still a long wait. I was prepared to grow roots in this chair. I amused myself by observing people around me. It made me acutely aware of the hierarchy in the waiting list. First on the list of course were those that showed up for their appointments on time. Bottom rung were the walk-ins. I don’t know where I stand with my too-early- for-my-appointment deal. One thing I know. I am not budging out of this chair until I get my blood drawn.

The place was like hell without Lucifer. Nobody in control. Total chaos. The only thing that kept the place together was The List. It was the one you signed in when you first got there. It was going to determine whether you were going to heaven (first ones to be called), hell (you’ll be there the whole day) or somewhere-in-between (you’ll be biting your nails wondering if you’re next.)

There was hardly any space inside the office either. People were practically sitting on each other’s lap and breathing each other’s oxygen and carbon dioxide. There were also a lot of people milling outside, suspicious of any newcomers. Was this newbie somebody who had an appointment that could dislodge them from their number 78 slot? I just ignored them earlier. I signed in and was lucky enough to find an empty chair. Never mind if I’m hemmed in between a lady with the Hummer of all walkers and some other person. I just took out my iPhone and went on WordPress to entertain myself.

Now there I was, peaceful as can be, writing this article when the lady next to me, a Pinay, butted in. “I like your glasses,” she said. Oh, now my readers will know I wear reading glasses. Thanks a lot. There goes any pretense I have of youth. I just smiled at her, hoping to shake her off. I really didn’t have any intention of giving her the time of day.

“I really like your glasses,” she repeated. I looked up from my iPhone. Now to ignore her at this point would be really rude so I made up my mind to be nice. Besides, in the time I’ve been there, I think I must have accidentally stepped on her toes at least four times, so I owe her.

“Yeah. I got this at Costco. Four pairs for $19.99” Great. Now my readers will know that not only am I old, I’m also cheap.

She just looked at me. “I really like your glasses,” she said again.

Now it was my turn to look around and face her. “You like my glasses? Do you mean to say you want my glasses?” She nodded eagerly. “You mean you like my glasses and you want me to give them to you?” This was just a little too weird for me and I wanted to make sure I understood her correctly. She nodded again. Weird. Now any normal person would have gotten up and found another seat. I didn’t. First of all, there were no other seats. Second, normal has never been my strongest point. I have an affinity for the unusual. I like to see where weird will take me. Besides, I have half a dozen of these cheap glasses lying around the house. One less won’t make a difference.

At this point, everyone in the office was looking at us very curiously. “Well,” I said, “you can have my glasses, but try them on first.” I took my glasses off, cleaned them and handed them off to her. She took them, put them on and tried to peer out, squinting her eyes this way and that. Finally, she took them off, handed them over to me and declared “They are too strong for me.” That settled it then. I’m off the hook. I turned my back towards her in a gesture of dismissal.

“I really like your glasses,” she sighed. This time I ignored her. Too bad, sister. You can’t have my glasses but hey, at least you got yourself a spot in my article. Congratulations.

She suddenly got up and walked over to the front desk. “Did anybody call my name?” The receptionist looked at her oddly. No, they haven’t called her name. In fact, they haven’t called anybody’s name in half an hour. It didn’t seem to matter to her. She insisted on giving her name, a very long one at that, and spelling it out letter by letter. The receptionist gave her the same answer and the same odd look. “Well, then, I’ll just come back tomorrow,” she said, cheerfully. A little too cheerfully. I was beginning to wonder if she was an escapee from a Psych ward somewhere. Cuckoo. Cuckoo.

I was relieved she was gone. The one who took her spot was a heavy-set black lady that had a little kid with her. He was very noisy and disruptive. The little brat was squirming around, kicking me on the side and throwing his potato chips all over the floor. Finally, the lady at the front desk said to his mother, “Ma’am, there is no eating allowed in here,” pointing to a sign on the wall. No food or drinks allowed inside. Yeah, that’s right, lady. You should know better than to bring food to a place where there are hungry mammals around. No bag of chips or pack of cookies are safe in this joint. In fact, I was so hungry at that time that I was tempted to make salad out of that trailing plant they had inside that front office. Those flowers in the vase were looking really yummy as well. Just add a dollop of ranch dressing and they’d be good to go. Never mind if they’re silk.

The lady with the kid got up (yes!), cussed everybody out (what a surprise), demanded to see the manager (Lucifer was unavailable) and asked for a patient satisfaction survey ( there was none). She angrily stormed out of the place. Peace at last.

Somebody else took her spot. Oh-oh. What now? This seemed to be the hot seat for the deranged. Luckily, they called me. Two and a half hours wait. I could have died and come back and nobody would have noticed.

I went in. I didn’t mind needles if I was the one sticking them into somebody. Now I do mind if I’m the pin cushion. I tried to do everything right by making as tight a fist as I could and pumping up to make my veins stick out. A quick dart and the needle went in. I felt its metal fang seek my blood line and suck the life out of me. This was payback for all the time I started IVs and gave shots, telling the patients “Oh, it’s just a little stick.” Little, my foot!

Well, the worst part was over. I just had to pee in a cup. Someone was there in the restroom before me so I had to wait. Of course, like a petulant child having a tantrum, my bladder acted up. It threatened to burst into a golden shower of embarrassment. I tried to scold it into behaving but it grew bigger and bigger. Thank God the door finally opened. My turn.

I held the door open for the lady before me, then went inside. Just as I was ready to close the door, she rushed back in and asked “Oh, did I flush the toilet?” I was too dumbfounded to answer. She flushed the toilet and proceeded to wash her hands in the sink while I watched her, still too shocked to speak. Only a Pinay, because that’s what she was, would think there was nothing wrong with two ladies, complete strangers I may add, sharing one bathroom at the same time. She wiped her hands and left, like nothing unusual had happened. Why, oh, why do I attract the weird?

I finally sat down on the toilet. My bladder released its load of golden liquid. When I was almost done, that’s when I remembered: I had to give them a urine sample. Too late. The last drop trickled away. I tried to coax my bladder into giving up just a few more ounces. It was being stubborn. It refused. I waited and waited. Even my kidneys would not cooperate. Not a drop. I was prepared to wait it out when I heard a man’s voice go “I’ve been waiting, too. She’s been in there for awhile.” That’s it. I got up. I could not risk people barging in on in me with my pants down.

I went outside and handed the empty cup to the lab lady. “What happened? Couldn’t pee?” she asked.

“Actually, I forgot that I needed to give a sample.” I felt so dumb.

“Don’t worry. It happens. Just come back with your sample later and drop it off.”

Well, I was glad to get out of there. It was almost 11 am. I went straight to my car and fished for the granola bar in my purse. Hmmm, Nature Valley in oats and honey never tasted so good.

My phone rang. It was my daughter. “Mom, let’s go to Chipotle Grill for lunch. My treat. ”

“Actually, I need to check out this Chinese buffet place to see if their food is any good. Might order there for your grandma’s party. Wanna come?”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” was the enthusiastic reply. That’s my Chessa. The thought of consuming extraordinary amounts of food never fazes her. She lives to eat, not eat to live. Just like her mother. Great minds think alike.

I picked her up and we drove off towards the place, laughing and chatting all the way. When we got there, we sampled everything. Dish after savory dish. After all, we do take our job very seriously. Everything we ate, we ate in the name of research. When we left the place, every dish had a rating. Yes, I know, I know. It is a dirty job, but hey, somebody’s gotta do it.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ildebrando Millares
    May 15, 2010 @ 22:08:47

    Imagine, the weirdness and cuckooness going on around you for a lab test and a sample of urine. I can’t wait to read your story to come for your “annual exam”…hahah

    Reply

  2. Harold Cabahug
    May 16, 2010 @ 07:58:08

    Very funny indeed. Nice recount of a day’s adventure. Again, a regular day, turned into something only you could sum up in a roller coaster ride of emotions.. I believe you really are a weirdo magnet. 🙂 Dibah “Birds of the same feather, flock together”? Haha. JK. You really are one of a kind, Emms. Maka addict ni imong website gyud. Next please….

    Reply

  3. emmblu
    May 16, 2010 @ 10:23:11

    Tata and Harold, my two dear friends… Yes, I am a weirdo magnet. That’s why we are such good friends, my dears…

    Reply

  4. Harold Cabahug
    May 17, 2010 @ 05:46:57

    Haha. Ang mga weirdo nag tapok. Ikaw Emms, weirdo author/performer/actress/director/choregrapher/artist. Kami ni Tatix, weirdo period. Hahaha.

    Reply

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