Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Doctor's Office

It started mid-week with a little pre-nasal drip. I thought I had overdosed on Dove's dark chocolate while attempting to boost my anti-oxidant levels. Food allergies, who knew? I have some very powerful prescription anti-histamine tablets for just that purpose, so I took one. The end result was a full day either in bed or on the couch without as much as a rational thought. I knew once the medication wore off I would feel better. However, as I approached the twenty four hour mark I still had no desire to rise from my bed. My joints ached and I developed a persistent dry cough. We were expecting guests for the weekend and I wasn't making any progress. I have my doctor's cell phone number but I never call it.

I am not a good patient. I hate sitting in waiting rooms trying not to cough. While I still had strength I drug myself to the phone and dialed the secret number. I was fully expecting that Doc would not want to see me either, but would call in a prescription for me to pick up. Not. He said, "Knowing you, you are probably telling me about half the story. Get in here now." I pulled on the nearest available clothes and drove myself to his office.

Upon arrival, I contacted the receptionist who gave me a clipboard with a half ream of paper attached. Since my doc had changed his office location it would be necessary for me to update my medical file and request my records from the old clinic. I dutifully set about my task while trying desperately to stifle my cough until I was put in the little room to await my exam. I always worry that in an already weakened condition I will be more susceptible to the plethora of germs roaming the waiting area.

Soon a nurse came to the reception area door and called my name. She led me down the hall and put me in a small exam room. She was dressed in scrubs and she carried a clip board. No reason to think she might not be a nurse right? She asked me why I was there to see the doctor. I told her my wife wanted a break. She then asked me if I had taken any medication before coming to the office. I told her I had taken two extra strength Excedrin tablets about an hour before driving over. I knew I might be in trouble when she asked what Excedrin was and after several unsuccessful tries to write it on the clipboard, she finally asked me how to spell it. She took my blood pressure and temperature and recorded the results. She informed me my temperature was slightly elevated. I told her I figured as much since I couldn't recall being run over by a truck. I was not overly confident, but I thought maybe a real nurse would appear after I saw the doctor. My doctor came in and did that fist to fist greeting so popular these days and did all the things doctors can do in the two minutes allotted for your exam. At the end he said I probably had some strain of the flu. He ordered a three minute Nebulizer treatment and an antibiotic shot and told me he would call in a couple of prescriptions.

Guess who walks in with the Nebulizer? You guessed it, first day nurse Betty. She was talking to herself as she worked trying hard to remember the steps in setting up for this complicated procedure. "I'm washing my hands now. I'm undoing the sterile cover from the tubing and mouth piece. etc." She fumbled with the machine trying to set it on a rounded portion not designed to serve as the base. I moved in and showed her the four little rubber feet designed to act as the base. This machine had one switch and one nozzle for the attachment of the tubing. You guessed it. She couldn't locate the nozzle. I knew she must have trained at an on-line nursing school. After I assembled the apparatus, I turned it on and gave myself the treatment. Now all that was left to do was the anti-biotic shot and I would be on my way home. I was hoping for a more mature nurse to appear. In walks mumbling Betty with a filled syringe and asks me if I would prefer the shot in my arm or in my hip. I opted for the hip. Larger target right? While she once again talked herself through washing her hands and putting on her gloves I took the initiative and made ready to expose my buttocks. I loosened my trousers and pulled down the top of my briefs on the right side and tucked my shirt up for easy access. She asked if I was ready and I told her yes. I suddenly felt her pinch up the skin on the left side and start talking her way through the procedure. "It's going in now. I'm pushing the thingy and making it go in. Oh good it's going in." I don't really know how long it took, but I've never had a shot that took as long to complete. When she was done she sighed and said, "Oh good, you're not bleeding." I redressed and using my good right leg to propel myself, I drug my pain numbed left lower limb back to the reception area. After making sure that the prescriptions had been called in to the proper pharmacy I left.

Perhaps in a year or two when I go back she will have mastered the technique.

One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain't nothin' can beat teamwork.
Edward Abbey