“Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died”
Erma Bombeck, 1927-1996
After a disturbed night of coughing, tossing and turning I give in. As I have been urged to, I call the doctor’s office to make an appointment.
I turn up at the appointed time, 11.45 am and am told to take a seat. I am in a house in the village converted to a health centre. It is an old house, well old by our standards, with polished wood floors, a central passage and doors leading off both sides.
I take a seat and for the next 45 minutes, I sit idly thumbing through an out of date magazine and looking at the others waiting. There is an older couple, he with a walking cane and she obviously taking care of him. They seem to know the only other person in the room, a woman probably mid-thirties. She doesn’t seem to be waiting to see a doctor and indeed, when the man’s name is called she tells the couple she will wait until they come out.
Meantime, staff come and go; people come and go. The receptionist leaves for lunch and her place is taken by a nurse. She is the one who removed the stitches after I tried to cut off my thumb. That’s another story for another time.
A staff member (because she was wearing a name tag) appears in the waiting room and walks over to the young woman and they enter into a discussion as to who should pick up the girls from school and take them to practice. It’s agreed that the staff member will pick them up and they will all meet later after practice.
A couple of young girls arrive and only one stays. It is spring here but not warm although they don’t notice that they are barely dressed for the weather. The one who stays is called into the doctor’s consulting room and still I wait.
A mother and her young child come out of a consulting room; have a brief conversation with the nurse/receptionist and after saying they will be back tomorrow, leave.
A child is crying in one of the consulting rooms, a young man comes out with his arm bandaged and the elderly couple appear. They meet up with the young woman who has waited for them, and all leave together.
If I had been feeling better I would have played my usual waiting game. When waiting in airports, grocery checkout lines or waiting for friends, I make up stories about the people I am watching. People-watching is one of my favourite games. But this is an opportunity missed today.
And at last it is my turn. A charming young man appears. Well he certainly doesn’t look old enough to be a doctor and leads me through to his consulting room. Because I have been sitting in his waiting room for 45 minutes loudly coughing and choking, he doesn’t have to ask why I am there. He proceeds to tell me that it is the flu. How can that be I ask when I had the flu injection at the beginning of the winter. This is a strain that they knew nothing about, It is rife and resistant to the shot I had earlier. Great.
He is only just getting over this flu himself. He tells me the cough will last for about 3 weeks. How long have I had it – one week? OK, then I should expect it to be around for another two.
We talk about the operas that I saw last week. A double billing by the NZ Opera Company and billed Cav &Pag (Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci). A truly magnificent show during which I managed not to cough too often and too loudly. And then he told me about WOW (the World of Wearable Arts show) that he had seen last week. Only then, does he decide to take my temperature, listen to my lungs etc etc.
He writes me a prescription for a steroid, an antibiotic and some linctus to ease the throat and help the cough. Then I am out of there. 45 minutes waiting and 15 minutes consultation.
But I know why the wait was so long. He is really a charming young man and he likes to talk with his patients and get to know them. His comment to me was that looking at my file he saw that I didn’t go to the doctor often. And over the past three years had been twice with broken bones. Can’t fool that nice guy.
Then off to the pharmacy where I had another 20 minutes wait. I just couldn’t wait to get back home. I was exhausted after my morning doing nothing.
I started with Erma Bombeck and will finish this post with a quote that bears no relation to the theme of this post. Put it down to a hard day achieving nothing.
“Give a girl the correct footwear and she can conquer the world”
- Prioritizing (laurawormald.wordpress.com)