A visit to the Doctor

“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I take a seat and for the next 45 minutes, I sit idly thumbing through an out of date magazine and looking at the others waiting.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”
Bette Midler

Red Shoes

If only I was still able to wear those heels!


22 responses to “A visit to the Doctor

  1. I’d say “give this girl her warm slippers and she will conquer this flu!”

    Health germs for a speedy recovery Judith. Take it easy and let your body heal up……good books, a warm and friendly dog, blogs to read from friends….and a charming Dr who attends WOW…..nice.


  2. Wishing you a speedy recovery… get well soon.


  3. Hope you get better soon and your cough goes away quicker than 2 more weeks!


  4. I have spent some time myself in medical waiting rooms. looking on the bright side, I always enjoy the chance to look at some old magazines. Pity the chairs are not more comfortable


  5. You were in the waiting room, my dear. Do you now understand that they are appropriately named? This morning I must take Mother to the ear doctor. Three are 6 doctors in this practice and there will be 60 people in the waiting room. I always have the crossword book and a sketch pad for cartoon ideas in the car and today they will be used so I don’t waste half the morning. Father will remain home so Rick can come over to upgrade my computer and we (he, my skills very primitive)will put up an 80 page cartoon book on kindle. Not a moment will be wasted.


    • I go so rarely to the doctor that I forgot how appropriate the name is. Thanks. I shall remember it in future.
      I go nowhere without a notebook and pencil but alas in my confused state I left them at home. Purse not quite big enough to hold them – perhaps need a satchell?
      I am looking forward to the cartoon book. I hope your friend makes it available as an e-book for those of us who haven’t succumbed to the hype about Kindle. Go to it.


  6. Hope you feel better soon. Coughing like that is exhausting and the flu is miserable, hope the steroid helps.


  7. This situation requires a US southern expression: “Bless your heart.” And it must be spoken with one’s very best drawl. 🙂 Here’s hoping for a rapid recovery.


  8. jacquelincangro

    The upshot to having waited so long to see the doctor is that at least you didn’t feel rushed during your appointment. The doctor took his time and cared about your well being. I’ve been on more than one appointment where I feel like I’m being rushed through a revolving door, and the doctor seems harried.
    Hope you start feeling better soon!


    • Yes it was my first visit to the surgery since I moved here and I am glad that I met such a caring young man. After my visit I didn’t feel so bad about the wait – it was worth it.


  9. Pingback: Similar lives | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

  10. I’m glad you went to see about your cough, and glad you have found a wonderful doctor. Yes, you will have to share that incident about your thumb. I hope the meds help you quickly, coughing is one of my least favorite pastimes, especially when it interrupts sleeping. I’m glad to see your sense of humor is still intact.


    • Thanks Patti. And yesterday I did the post on the thumb. The doctor at the emergency clinic did say that I had done a pretty good job of almost cutting it off.


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