written by Ron:
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Stop typing and listen to me!
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
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
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
infected copy of Sunset Magazine from 2009, featuring ten glorious
vacations in the upper Oregon area, You leave your creaky chair
say “hello” to the nurse- lady. Nurse-lady always says “And how are we
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
“Please follow me,” she says. She opens the door to
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
you alone in what will become the “small waiting room.”
“Shortly” must mean something different to doctors and
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.”
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
time goes by. You stand and check out the chart on the
wall, showing the diagram of the urinary system. You learn how the
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
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
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
now,” he says, “Looks like we have a case of the flu, don’t we?”
I’m thinking, what’s with the “we” stuff?
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
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
man who was sitting beside me in the large waiting room. The man with
Ain’t modern medicine grand.