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Sunday, March 18, 2007

The doctor will see you now. He will?

By Dick Hirsch
I had a memorable experience at the doctor’s office recently. It wasn’t exactly a bad experience, but it surely qualifies as unique.
First I should admit that I left home in such haste that I forgot to take any reading material. I quit reading the magazines you find in doctors’ waiting rooms years ago because all the publications were outdated, tattered and concerned with a variety of subjects so esoteric that they appealed to a very limited audience. So I learned to take my own reading material whenever waiting would be involved.
But this time I forgot and when I realized my mistake I looked through some of the doctor’s magazines, found the usual hapless collection, nothing remotely current, and cursed my forgetfulness. I finally started doing a crossword puzzle from an old newspaper I found scrunched at the bottom of a pile of vintage copies of the Reader’s Digest and Exploring Your Inner Self. As I was pondering the meaning of a seven letter word for “encamp,” I was interrupted by a young woman named Allison who had a stethoscope around her neck.
“Come with me, please,” Allison said, and I offered no resistance.
I had never been to this doctor before; I believe I am feeling fine, and my first question was “Why am I here?” I was referred by my primary practitioner, who had concluded there was nothing wrong with me but was apparently seeking confirmation of that opinion.
Allison led me through several corridors to our destination, an examining room, where she asked me all the usual questions I had answered in writing on the questionnaire; birth date, marital status, employment, exercise habits, etc. She weighed me. I hate being weighed with my shoes on. She took my temperature, my blood pressure, asked me about any allergies, and told me the doctor would join me soon. She left.
In my excitement about leaving the waiting room, I had forgotten to take the crossword puzzle, so I was sitting alone and forlorn in one of those sterile appearing examining rooms. I waited. Long. I couldn’t pace back and forth because the room was too small and I feared stubbing my toe on the far wall. Just as a feeling of desperation was about to grab me, there came a polite knock on the door. I answered. “Come in,” I said.
I expected the doctor. But no, in walked Maria, a personable women with a friendly smile, a stethoscope, a pocket full of tongue depressors and an ID badge that identified her as a Physician’s Assistant.
“The doctor will be right along,” she said. “Are you feeling okay?” she asked. I must have been presenting symptoms of impatience, but I was too polite to tell her.
She opened a manila folder which I suspected contained some information about me, and then asked me all the usual questions I had answered in writing on the questionnaire; birth date, marital status, employment, exercise habits, etc. She weighed me. I hate being weighed with my shoes on. She took my temperature, my blood pressure, asked me about any allergies, and told me the doctor would join me very soon. She left. I have never enjoyed being shunted from one examining room to the next and being left alone to consider all the serious maladies that have been uncovered in those rooms.
I wish I could report exactly how long it was before there was another knock on the door. It was probably no more than 10 minutes, it just seemed longer. The door opened and in came Maria again, still smiling and carrying my folder, only this time she was not alone. Following her was a man in a white lab coat who introduced himself as THE DOCTOR. Maria sat at a small desk in the corner and the doctor stood as we chatted. She retained possession of the chart.
We exchanged pleasantries, and I waited expectantly for him to ask me to remove my shirt, my pants or both. He asked me how I felt. I said fine. He seemed to approve. He said my test results looked normal and asked me how I felt about red meat. I told him I felt okay about red meat, but rarely ate any. We chatted about eating habits, his and mine. Then he clapped me on the back, said I was “on the right track,” and left. I never did remove clothing, he never examined me. Having no exam in an examining room qualifies as unforgettable on the medical chart I keep.

(end)

1 Comments:

At 7:01 AM, Blogger Kathleen C. Howell said...

You misspelled "...a personable young women".

 

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