Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The Doctor's Lobby
Doctors' lobbies are not my favorite places to visit. Actually, I would rather never see them at all. I don't have anything personal against doctors--someone has to handle all those difficult jobs--but I'm sure glad I didn't choose to be one. For a doctor, just meeting people on the street must be awkward, knowing all you know about them and wanting to call them Mr. Kidney Stone or Little Miss Chronic Mono. Also, nobody ever visits you unless they are sick, until they want something from you, like your autograph...under a prescription. It has to be depressing.
No wonder the doctor's lobby is a tension-ridden place. There are all those crabby people sitting around cradling their fevers; they're hoping for a little sympathy to atone for their having dragged themselves out of bed and onto the sensible, washable, straight-backed chairs that line the foyer. Patients, already in a rotten mood, are then confronted with the receptionist. Right there, in plain sight, is a sign that says one must sign in as soon as one arrives. So one drags oneself over to the window and contaminates the pen as he or she signs a wobbly name. Miss Cheerio smiles and says loudly, "So why did you need to see the doctor today?"
Talk about a loaded question. What if I don't exactly want the strangers in the lobby to know my business with the doctor? Do I confess my bunions, warts, indigestion, and frequent hallucinations? Or do I mumble something like: "Oh nothing really. Just wanted to wish the medico a happy birthday and see if he thinks I'm pregnant at fifty seven."
I've thought and thought about it. At the risk of upsetting a really good doctor's staff, I've decided to meet the challenge head on. If I ever have to walk into that place again, I'm going to reply to the insistent receptionist: "I have all the symptoms of the pneumonic variant of bubonic plague and I just wanted a professional to confirm it before I report myself to the CDC." Then I'll sneeze all over the sign-in sheet.