The doctor’s waiting room is for ... waiting

By John Toth

I have been watching too much cable TV, and the commercials scare me to death. I mostly listen to it while I work, and it’s not all commercials, just the ones that want you to get tested for whatever, or you’ll die.

There is the one about the poor circulation in the leg, cancer, eyes, kidneys, liver, feeling tired, being forgetful, and just feeling all around lousy, for all of which there is a medicine or test.

I especially hate the one when a cartoon shows how blocked an artery can get without some medicine, and so on. I don’t know about you, but after seeing that a few times, I feel like all of my arteries are blocked by those dark little dots, which don’t allow the red ones through. I think my fingers are tingling.

After a while, it dawns on me that it’s just about time to get my annual checkup. I do that every two years.

I sit in the waiting room, and there are some people walking out slowly. They just got through seeing the doctor. They look sick. I feel sorry for them. And, I start to feel like I should do something, like hold the door, or not stare.

Have you noticed that when you walk into a doctor’s office everyone looks up and stares? They do that at restaurants, too. When you walk up to a fast-food restaurant, people eating by the windows all stare at you coming in.

It’s not because they’re rude … well, maybe they are sometimes …but mostly they are bored, and you are the distraction.

In the doctor’s office, it’s not their fault. The magazines are boring, probably several years old. I don’t read them anymore because you never know what type of illness a person has who just did. Now I just read my phone.

I need to put some Bulletins in here, and then nobody would stare. They would be too involved in the paper. Their names would be called, and they'd say: “Just a minute. I’ll be there after I finish John’s column. Tell the doctor to wait.”

I don’t mind sitting in the waiting room as long as I can read my phone and listen in on the conversations of people who don’t read their phones. It is so quiet in those waiting rooms that I can hear every word, even if they whisper. Often, though, the conversations are pretty boring. They talk about their illnesses, trying to outdo each other about how sick they are.

I feel more guilt because I am here for an examination, blood tests and a flu shot. I feel perfectly fine now, although I may catch something while waiting for the doctor.

Be careful whom you sit by in a doctor’s waiting room. If the person next to you has watery eyes and red nose, don’t sit in the adjacent seat. That’s a drug addict. Just kidding.

He or she has a bad cold or the flu, and is probably going to sneeze. After all, in the waiting room, we’re all in for the long haul. And, when that sneeze takes place, you are doomed. Whatever that person has, now you have. (I know that’s a fragment sentence, but so what.) It’s all over you. Pretty scary, but true. (There. More fragments. I don’t feel like writing gooder English today.)

I don’t want to hear it. “You mean like every other day?”

So, I’m sitting in the doctor’s office for what seems like eternity, surfing the Internet on my phone. People who came after me have been called in. Hey, that’s not fair. I was here first. Finally I hear my name and go into an examination room and … wait.

The nurse comes in and takes my vital signs, and the doctor then appears, as jovial as ever.

Well, what are we doing today?

I don’t know. I’ve been waiting here so long, I forgot. Maybe I had an illness, but if I did, it healed itself by now.

I remember now. I need my annual checkup every two years. That’s it. At least my memory is still fair to good.

Next week: The check-up.