In my younger years I didn’t need to see a doctor much; and when I did, the family doctor took care of what was ailing me. Growing older, health issues have become more frequent and complicated; and now when I go to my family doctor, or rather my Primary Health Care Provider, he listens to my complaints, gives me a simple once-over, shakes his head, clicks his tongue, and hands me the name of a specialist he wants me to see.
I have almost nothing against specialists. You got clogged plumbing, you don’t call in a roofer. The problem is there is always those #@#%*&* medical forms you have to fill out. Some ailments I don’t remember. Others I want to forget. Have no idea in what year I had them. I’m at a loss for their proper names, and the names of the procedures and prescriptions that ‘cured’ me. Doesn’t bother my wife though. She can speak ‘Doctor’.
My wife eventually put our medical history in her computer. Of course, no medical establishment accepts her printout. They need the history on their own Specific Forms. But she brings along with printout as a cheat sheet. She fills the forms and I read my book.
I had to go to a new specialist the other day. This time, we received his Specific Form in the mail so it could be filled out prior to the appointment. I didn’t feel so bad when I went to the desk to check in and gave the filled out forms to the receptionist; but it was short-lived. She handed me a clipboard complete with a pen that had feathers glued to it, and of course, a form to read and fill out. Grrrr!
I spotted my wife sitting next to a empty chair between the door and a hallway. ‘More #@#%*&* forms to fill out,’ I said, plopping down in the chair. ‘And I looked down that hallway for a Men’s Room. Didn’t see one. I suppose they figure if they keep the #@#%*&* thing hidden, they won’t have to clean it as much.’
I printed my name complete with middle initial as requested. ‘Don’t know how long I can hold it though. Hope there’ll be a toilet by the exam room. What’s the #@#%*&* date?’
‘The date,’ I heard a strange high-pitched voice say, ‘is the sixteenth.’
I turned my head and did a double-take. The hair and the getup kind of looked like my wife’s; but the face was that of a complete stranger. A stranger with a frightened look as she pulled back from me.
I tried to apologize, telling her I thought it was my wife I was sitting next to . ‘I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have used that kind of….’
‘I think your wife is over there,’ she said in a much more normal voice, pointing across the waiting room, and she kind of flicked her wrist to shoo me away.
It was a long walk what with the woman staring at the back of my head and my wife staring into my face. I took a good look this time and made certain it was my wife I was sitting down next to. I quickly went to work on the form.
‘Who’s that woman?’ my wife asked.
‘Don’t know,’ I said, working on the forms. ‘It’s the sixteenth, right?’
‘Yes! So you don’t know that woman?’
‘Total stranger,’ I replied, quickly putting my initials next to all the check marks.
‘Total stranger? And you just went and sat down next to her. Did you think you remembered her from someplace?
‘Well, she looked like someone I thought I knew,’ I said, as I signed my full name, complete with my middle initial, ‘But I was wrong.’ I stood and brought the completed form to the desk, glancing to the empty chair where the woman had sat. ‘But I got a hunch we’ll both remember our first meeting,’ I mumbled and added, ‘#@#%*&* medical forms!’
The Old Hand
Published Bulletin Board, St Paul Dispatch