Have you ever been in the awkward situation of showing up to a place where you get the feeling that they didn’t know why you were coming or that you were even coming? You know what I mean – basically a situation where you know someone got their wires crossed and you hope that it just wasn’t you.

Say for example you show up for a party and everyone is in costume but you. Or worse, you show up in a costume and no one else is wearing one. Personally, I’ve shown up to an empty classroom, not realizing it was a holiday or shown up to the wrong class because it was the wrong day.

About a month ago, I called the folks who make the appointments for my regular doctor. I told them I knew it had been over a year since my last physical, so I would like to come in. After a discussion about my availability and the doctor’s availability, we settled on a date about a month away. I just thought I was taking care of my “preventive maintenance” like having my car’s oil changed and tires rotated.

When the date rolled around, I showed up and let the folks in the office know I was there. I was careful not to touch anything, because I am always scared that I will get sick when I go to the doctor’s office.

It was late in the day and only a couple of other folks were in the waiting room. The television was on, but it seemed like it was being piped in by the folks at the doctor’s office because it was the same program that replayed about every 45 seconds to a minute. The program noted that while you are waiting you should be making a list of the things you wanted to talk to your doctor about.

Hearing this message over and over again, it made me wonder if folks needed help on why they were at the doctor’s office. In other words, if you are sick – you are sick. I guess some folks write down things like, “My nose is running like a sieve” or “My head feels like someone is whomping it with a sledge hammer.”

I guess that it is a good idea to try to get your money’s worth at the doctor and think of all the stuff that is wrong with you and try to get help on everything at the same time while you are taking time off from work.

I wasn’t sure.

Pretty quickly, I’d say after listening to the recorded television “come up with a list” program 15 or 20 times, they called me back to be weighed and stuck in a room. The nice nurse bought my logic on deducting about ten pounds from the weight showing on the scale. I told her that I had “a lot of stuff in my jacket pockets and was wearing my boots.” So I went back to the room where they were to give me my exam (I thought). Another nice nurse followed me in and instructed me to just sit in the chair (not on the table).

Then she asked me the oddest question, she asked me, “Why are you here?” Being a storyteller, I went into this long story about how all my children had been home for the holidays and all the many issues I had been having including my front tooth problem, my back problem, my snoring and a few other things.

But, I told her, I just thought it was time for my regular check-up and that I had pretty much beat all that other stuff on my own. Again, I honestly thought I was coming in for a physical and all that a typical physical exam included. She was very nice and listened to my story, but she kept acting like I hadn’t given her a real reason for being there.

She left the room and told me that the doctor would be in shortly.

The “make your list” commercial playing in the waiting the room kept playing over and over in my mind as I sat there waiting on the doctor.

He came in and his first question was, “Why are you here?” I shortened my story to him, but did include my front tooth problem, back pain problems, snoring solutions and how I had reduced my nightly trips to the bathroom from 3 down to 1.

He was interested in my research and treatment of my various little issues and he noted that he couldn’t do anything about my tooth. I didn’t expect him to do anything about my tooth, but I said, “I understand.”

Finally, my doctor said, “We should get you in for a physical, it’s been a while.” What was I to say? I agreed with him. He also offered me a tetanus shot, which I agreed to. I guess I don’t understand how doctor’s offices work.

I do understand those sticky strips on your nose will help sleeping and snoring for some of us, some of those “supplements” seem to keep me from getting up so many times a night and dates, prunes and figs are good for what ails you.

 

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