As I waited for the nurse to call my name, a massive man, spilling over the sides of his electric wheelchair, rolled into the office. A woman yelled numbers and dates into her purple cell phone. Two old women sitting side by side were held as a captive audience by a little boy who performed a dance while his mother checked in at the registration desk.
We became an impatient dysfunctional family over the next thirty minutes of waiting. A show about controlling diabetes with diet came on the tv in the corner. Those of us watching gave a collective eye roll. How about something good, like Ellen or that show with Jerry Springer’s body-guard turned host? The old women kept the bad little boy occupied, the fat man and an old black man struck up a conversation about the bus, and I quietly watched, while the woman on the cell phone continued to yell.
When the nurse called my name, I jumped up and scurried through the door without looking back. It was time for this baby bird to leave the nest/waiting room and separate from my unhealthy, temporary waiting room family.
I settled into my room to wait for the doctor, checked my Facebook, emails, and read a little from the book stowed away in my purse. In fact, I had enough time to run through this routine several times before there was a knock at the door.
What, only twenty minutes waiting in the exam room after waiting in the waiting room for thirty minutes? This is too good to be true, I thought.
Not to worry, disappointment was soon to return when a baby faced kid in pressed slacks and a long white coat walked through the door. I craned my neck, looking behind him, searching for the real doctor who should have followed him.
Nope, empty hallway, just the baby doc with the sweet boy voice to diagnose and cure all of my womanly ailments.
“Doc,” I explained, willing to give him the same treatment as a grown-up. “It’s my heart, its been hurting.” I grabbed my chest to emphasize the pain and relative location.
Baby Doc cocked his head to the side, like a curious dog, not understanding human-talk.
“Do you smoke?” he asked me, as through that was the only likely cause to my complicated complaint.
“No Doc, I stopped a few years back,” and thought, when you were in Kindergarten, finishing silently.
“I’ll have to talk to my staff about this,” he said and left without further ado, such as listening to my chest or asking additional questions.
A-ha, I have stumped Baby Doc, I mused, concerned at how easy it was to do.
After another long period of time elapsed, he returned with another timid knock at the door. Baby Doc grinned with pleasure at his conclusion as he walked into the room.
“Nothing to be concerned about, we think it’s just anxiety. So cut down on the caffeine and stress, ok? Well if that’s it, I’ll see you in a few months. Take care,” he said.
Great, I thought, that was simple.
Baby Doc left and disappeared down the hallway and through a set of double doors. I imagined him high-fiving other baby doctors as soon as he was out of sight. My chest started to hurt again and I rubbed my palm over my heart to work out the pain. After all, it was all in my head. I gathered my coat and scarf and followed Baby Doc’s path out the door and down the hallway, past the double doors and to the check-out counter.
I left with more than a troubled heart; I had a full blown case of anxiety, too, according to Baby Doc.
When I returned to work, I made my co-workers promise to find Baby Doc and avenge my death if my heart explodes between now and when get an appointment with a real doctor, one who’s completed puberty and med school.