Posted by: Mary Crocco | April 17, 2011

Are you kidding?

The parking lot reminded me of a hospital after visiting hours. I ignored the unkempt landscape and relished the ease of parking. Inside, an information desk appeared unattended.  I searched for a display to indicate the occupant’s room numbers. Listed alphabetically, on the wall, I found Benjamin Sachs, MD. Room 305.

I walked to the elevator and pressed the up arrow. It took five seconds before the door slid open. I shared the ride with housekeeping. The woman secured the mop and bucket against the wall using her right foot.

“Hi, “I said.

She ignored my afternoon greeting.

My left knee twitched as memories of applying lemon oil to wood floors popped into my head.

The waiting room smelled like my grandmother’s coat closet.  That smell of moth balls is ingrained in my memory. There was one other patient waiting, a woman about thirty-something who was reading Time Magazine. She glanced in my direction and smiled. I smiled back and signed the patient log on the front desk. I sat next to the end table, home to three magazines, July 2003 National Geographic, June 2003 Woman’s World, and August 2003 Architecture Digest.  I chose Architecture Digest and flicked through the pages looking for something purple.

“Hello, Ms.Crocco, how are you today?” said a woman behind the front desk.

“Fine, thank you.”

“My name is Karen.”

In a friendly but tired voice she asked, “Isn’t this weather gorgeous?”

“It sure is!”

The doctor will be with you shortly. While you wait, would you fill out these forms please?  And may I have your insurance and I.D. card?”

I handed Karen my cards and reached for a pen on the desk. I walked back to my seat with the clipboard. I couldn’t believe how many new diseases were listed. I was relieved to omit the boxes. I returned the information to Karen as she handed back my cards.

Karen called for Hazel, and the woman reading Time stood up and followed Karen.

I waited ten minutes before Karen called my name. I followed her into the examining room. It looked bare displaying one painting of a Thomas Moore landscape.

Karen prepared me for my exam and I sat on the paper covered table. My dislike for Thomas Moore was reinforced while I waited ten minutes for the doctor.

The door opened, without a knock, and a doctor shook my hand. He didn’t introduce himself but I assumed he was Dr. Sachs. He glanced at the forms I filled out. Lacking any doctor rapport, he proceeded with my exam. “Everything seems fine, Ms. Crocco.”

The doctor leaned against his desk and picked up the clipboard.  “On your forms you checked the box for hot flashes. I can prescribe you an oral contraceptive to help with that. Have you ever taken birth control pills?”

“Yes, I have.”

“Did you have any side effects?”

“No, none at all.”

“Good, I will prescribe a low dose pill. Pick up the lab order for blood work from Karen and make an appointment for next week. I will write your prescription then.” Dr. Sachs turned towards the door and left.

I was dumbfounded.  He didn’t even introduce himself. Is this how he treated all his new patients? Well, next year I will go to a younger doctor, and a woman doctor.

“Would you like to come the same day and time next week, Ms. Crocco?”  Karen turned the pages in her appointment book.

Where’s the computer?  “Yes, that will be perfect, thank you.”

“That will be twenty dollars for your co-pay please.”

I handed her my Visa card.

“Oh, we only take cash,” she apologized.

Are you kidding? Luckily I keep emergency cash.

Karen completed the transaction the old fashioned way; a handwritten receipt and a verbal reminder my appointment was next Thursday at 3:45 p.m.

Guess I have to remember that.

I left the building and saw my truck, all alone in the parking lot. I couldn’t get the key in the ignition fast enough.

I can’t wait to call mom about this.  She likes to hear doctor/nurse stuff. And I enjoy hearing her reminisce about her nursing days.

I arrived home and started to make dinner before I called. I filled a pot of water for pasta and set it on the burner, turned it on high and dialed the phone.

“Hello…Hi mom.”

“How was the new doctor?” asked mom.

“Old fashioned, no personality, no computer, only takes cash. Kinda weird, don’t you think?”

“Well, look at my doctor, I go to his house instead of an office,” joked mom.

“Thank God I only see a doctor once a year. I go back for my perscription and blood results next week.  I think I’ll transfer to a woman gynecologist.”

“Are you still feeling tired?”

“I have been going to bed earlier. I read an article last week, maybe I just need iron.”

“Well, that’s good. The doctor took blood; it will tell you if you are iron deficient.”

“I was going to the House of Blues tonight, a new band is playing, but I am too tired to go.”

 I wonder if working out at the gym, along with my kick boxing classes and boot camp workouts are too much? They never were before.  Is that why my knee hurts?

“Why don’t you go to bed early and take it easy until Thursday?”

“Okay, good night, mom.  We’ll talk soon.” I glanced at the clock.  Only 8:00 p.m.?

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