My Day at the Doctor’s Office
I had an appointment with the retina specialist today to get my third injection of Eylea, a new drug that worked wonders for people suffering from advanced macular degeneration in the trials. The swelling in my retina had been reduced by fifteen percent after the first injection. So I was anxious to find out how much the swelling had gone down since receiving my second injection about a month ago.
His office has three waiting rooms. The first, just inside the door, is always full. I picked a seat in the then empty overflow waiting room and started reading the New Yorker magazine I’d brought with me from home. Unless you are a voracious reader, I don’t recommend a subscription to this weekly magazine. The articles are really good, but so long that I’m often two and three issues behind.
Before long a nice gentleman joined me. “Looks like you’ve got the place to yourself,” he said.
I smiled. “Well, I did.” Yeah, sometimes I’m a bit of a smart ass.
He laughed. “I think we’re on the same schedule. You’re here every time I come.” Frankly, I hadn’t noticed. Old white men all look the same to me. We chatted for a few minutes about our experience with the retina specialist. Then I returned to my magazine until the three to six cups of coffee I drank before leaving the house precipitated a rather urgent need to visit the facilities.
I was the first person to visit the restroom that morning. Everything was sparkly clean and fresh. I carefully raised the seat, did my business, put the seat down, washed my hands, and returned to the overflow waiting room. A rather large lady and her pre-teen daughter had taken up residence where I’d been sitting, so I relocated to the other side of the room.
Bertha Butt and her daughter brought a couple of bags of breakfast from Krystal’s into the waiting room with them. I say breakfast because it was 9:30 in the morning, but mostly it was french fries. They munched on fries and sent annoying ring tones to each other’s phones. Seriously.
The surly assistant called me back to get dilated, butchering my name. With a name like Rupured, that happens a lot, so I’m used to it. Even so, her attempt was unique and included several syllables of her own making. She did an equally fine job with my friend the old white man, and he has a fairly common and easy to pronounce name. I immediately assumed she wasn’t the brightest bulb in the marquee.
Nearly all the women who work in this office are very nice. Not this one. She did her job, but somehow managed to avoid looking at me and never really engaged me in any way. Bitch.
After she put the dilating drops in, because the average flea’s bladder is larger than mine, I returned to the restroom. The smell nearly knocked me back into the hallway. I took a deep breath and vowed not to breathe until I finished. I walked over to the potty to find that someone had pooped all over the seat, the bowl, and the floor around it. This time, I didn’t bother raising the seat and fought to keep my breakfast down as I quickly did my business.
My biggest fear was that whoever came in after me would think I was responsible for the mess. I started to say something to the receptionist, but didn’t. Since they only use the office for a few hours every Wednesday, I felt certain nobody there was equipped to deal with the situation. Besides, if I said something, she’d probably think I did it.
I took a seat in waiting room number three where we wait for our pupils to dilate–a dimly lit room directly across from the bathroom. My old man friend was already there and undergoing the third degree from another old man who happened to be from nearby Elberton, granite capital of the world. “Where you from?”
This is almost always the first question old-timers ask. My friend replied that he was from here in Athens. Then Mr. Elberton proceeded to ask if he knew seventeen different people, all with ordinary names like John Brown, Charlie Smith, and Fred Wilson. My friend varied his responses, sometimes saying he thought so, that he might, or that he wasn’t sure. In each case, Mr. Elberton provided a detailed biography of the person he’d asked about.
My old friend impressed me with his patience. The conversation would have made a lot more sense had he been the one asking the questions. Athens is one of Georgia’s major metropolitan areas whereas little Elberton is still a small town. I listened to them talk and watched people coming out of the bathroom. They’d close the door behind them and take in a big breath of relatively fresh air before looking up and down the hall and returning to their seat. Nobody said anything to the receptionist.
The doctor called me back himself which wouldn’t have been unusual were it not for the fact I hadn’t yet had my retina scan. He usually goes over the results of the scan with me. Instead, he looked in my eye, said it didn’t look much better, and walked me back to the scanner. Along the way he informed friendly bitch that I needed a scan and when she finished, to set me up for my injection–the third injection and the one that’s supposed to make the biggest difference.
Friendly somehow managed to avoid eye contact as she did the scan and prepped me for the injection. I asked her to perform the function on the scanner that numerically compares the current results with the previous scan. She didn’t know what I was talking about. As she swabbed the white of my eye with a betadine soaked Q-tip, she snapped at me to keep my eye open. I told her I was doing my best, and suggested we swap places so she could find out what a medicine-soaked Q-tip in the eye feels like. Bitch.
We waited maybe five minutes for the doctor. Before he gave me the injection, he looked over the scan and said it was neither better nor worse than the one before. Not the news I wanted to hear, but I guess that things hadn’t gotten any worse is good news. The best news was that I got out of there earlier than I ever have before. Good thing, because the smell from the mess in the bathroom was now apparent throughout the office.
I stopped at the receptionist’s desk and got my next appointment. I don’t have to go back for two months instead of the usual four weeks. Unfortunately, it was too early to hit the drive through for my usual spoil myself lunch from Captain D’s. So instead, I drove home to enjoy a salad and clean bathrooms here in…
My Glass House