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Ron Cruger
The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers
On growing older - not dying!
Our overwhelming news glut
What happened to our heroes?
Wise up, America
The Starbucks 7 on the Presidency
A special birthday: Heading for 100
Bye Bye Big Bank
The Infatuation
Republican, Democrat or what?
The image of America
Mitt versus Barack, who wins?
Stop typing and listen to me!
The do-nothing candidates
 You know the big waiting room. The one with the 1960 looking furniture in your HMO or your doctor’s office. The place where everyone waits and starts getting fidgety as the time for their appointment passes and then passes some more. The big waiting room where those old twelve legged bacteria and germ saturated magazines sit on the bamboo end tables just waiting to shed perilous toxic organisms on your hands.
          Somewhere in the big waiting room is a reception desk with sides that come up to your elbows. On the other side of the barricade there are usually two or three nurses or assistants sitting, talking to each other as they type away on their computer keyboards.
          Then a nurse or an assistant opens the main door to the doctors’ inner sanctum and quietly says your name, so low that you have to say, “Who, what’s the name?”
          You gather that it’s you she was calling so you put down the old, infected copy of Sunset Magazine from 2009, featuring ten glorious vacations in the upper Oregon area, You leave your creaky chair and you say “hello” to the nurse- lady. Nurse-lady always says “And how are we feeling today?”
          She leads you to the scale and notes your current weight. You hear her give a mild “cluck,” indicating those eighteen pounds you are overweight. Then the blood pressure cuff measures the condition of your heart and blood vessels. “You really should get those numbers down if you want to enjoy your grandchildren.” Nurse-lady is only trying to help.
          “Please follow me,” she says. She opens the door to examination room number 3 and says, “Please have a seat, the doctor will be with you shortly.” Then nurse-lady closes the door behind her as she leaves you alone in what will become the “small waiting room.”
          “Shortly” must mean something different to doctors and nurses than to ordinary people. “Shortly” to me mean right away, soon, a couple of minutes.
          Doctors translate “Shortly” to mean “When I’m done with this lady in examination room number 2, who has a bad case of boils on her hip, I’ll be with you.”
          The minutes pass slowly. You read the only magazine available in examination room number 3 – a copy of a dog-eared Time Magazine with Sarah Palin on the cover with the heading, “Will She Run?” You get an odd feeling that an army of bacteria is marching on your palm!
          More time goes by. You stand and check out the chart on the wall, showing the diagram of the urinary system. You learn how the system works. You have a sudden urge to urinate.
          Finally, twenty seven minutes later, you hear that faint knock on the door of examination room number 3.
          Your primary physician, a handsome man in his fifties, reaches out with his right hand and says, “Hi there, not feeling up to par today. Let’s see what we have.”
          I look at the doctor’s hands, hoping on hope that he vigorously scrubbed them after leaving the lady with the boils on her hip from examination room number 2.

          “Open up wide and say ‘ahhh.” We get through that. Temperature 99 degrees.
Pulse 78. Blood pressure 137 over 84.”
          “Looks like we have a case of the flu here. You haven’t had your shot yet, have you?”
          It’s then that my primary doctor sits down at the largest and most compelling instrument in examination room number 3 – the computer. The machine sits on a structure with wheels so it can be moved to any location in the small room.
          The doctor sits down and begins typing. He’s good at it.
          He doesn’t speak. I look at him, then I glance at the urinary tract chart again. I note the size of a healthy prostate gland. Mine feels like it’s the size of a mush melon. I’m still waiting for the doctor to look at me. His eyes are glued to the computer screen. Tap, tap, tap, he types. His eyes and mind are glued to the screen in front of him.
          I know that taking notes and entering his thoughts on the computer are all part of the new HMO plan. You know, good communication. Leave a paper trail, all that stuff.
           But I want to tell him where I ache. How my head hurts. How I want to throw up, but he keeps his eyes peeled on the screen, typing away.
          “Well, now,” he says, “Looks like we have a case of the flu, don’t we?”
          I’m thinking, what’s with the “we” stuff?
          “You drink lots of liquids, get some rest and you’ll be better in a week or so.”
          With that my good primary care physician pushes the computer structure on wheels over by the sanitary trash can, stands up, thrusts out his right hand to shake mine again and leaves examination room 3 saying, “Now you take care of yourself. Bye.”
          Obviously he’s on his way to examination room 4 to see the man who was sitting beside me in the large waiting room. The man with outsized carbuncles.
          Ain’t modern medicine grand.