At my age I see many doctors. Cardiologists, gastroenterologists, hematologists, pulmonogolists, ophthalmologists and zoologist (oops, I saw him at Jungle Larry’s).
Because my trouble was a pain in my shoulder, I went to see an orthopediologist (a word which I think I coined, but which is descriptive of the job).
Knowing the routine, I requested their required forms in advance which I received and completed, also in advance.
I have spent hours completing forms, duplicating records and signing waivers, sometimes even for those doctors I had recently seen. For these visits I have to carry more ID cards than a con man. It’s like I was trying to get in to see the president of the United States.
The big difference at the White House is that once you get past the gate, you get to see “The Man,” assuming you have an appointment (without which you probably wouldn’t get in unless you took the tour).
And that brings me to my point, which is the appointment, itself. It implies a sort of contract between the two parties involved that they will indeed meet at or about the prearranged time.
It does not suggest that one party satisfies that obligation by merely having a go-between available to ask the party who is prompt to wait while the other party finishes things he or she is doing.
Of course that brings me to the waiting room, of which I wrote not too long ago. These rooms usually are well appointed (that word is used to signify why they are there). There probably are comfortable chairs except they usually are filled with people whose appointments were before yours, a very bad sign.
If you are fortunate, you’ll find a ledge to perch on and if it really is your lucky day, the next patient invited in will be close enough to that perch to enable you to rush over to it — sort of reminds me of playing musical chairs. If you are really lucky, some of the patients may be on crutches, in a cast, or wobbly at least.
And speaking of patients, that word, too, has more than one meaning. In addition to meaning one under a doctor’s care, it also means one who is calm and persevering and who shows self control while bearing pain without complaint. Fortunately, while pronounced the same, it is spelled differently. But no matter how it is spelled, p-a-t-i-e-n-t or p-a-t-i-e-n-c-e, I ain’t got none and the doctor apparently has too many.
Besides, if I could bear pain without complaint I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor for care in the first place.
But I digress. Back to the waiting room. Also, if you are lucky, there will be a TV set. Unfortunately, probably a previous patient patient has tuned it to a cartoon or a soap opera while you are more interested in watching Fox Business Network or ESPN.
Of course, the remote control is nowhere to be found and since the TV set will be hanging from some bracket on the wall, you would need a step ladder to reach it. Besides the TV bracket is so high that you’d strain your neck trying to watch it.
Come to think of it, that’s not all bad because you’ll end up with a “twofer” in either case. If you don’t break your neck falling off the ladder, the doctor will be able to examine your neck strain at the same time he is examining your shoulder sprain thus avoiding a second appointment and a repeat of the whole painful process.