Cooties and a Geography Lesson

sick ladyGoing to a doctor’s office on a Friday afternoon is something I dread. I dread it more when I am not a contagious type of sick and everyone else in the waiting area is coughing up a lung. I sat quietly, breathing shallow breaths in a corner, kicking myself for not wearing a mask. To pass the time, I fantasized about a doctor’s office that would have separate contagious and non-contagious waiting areas and examination rooms.

I was jolted back to reality by a sneezing woman across from me. It was obvious after spending a short time waiting that most people didn’t heed the memo to cough or sneeze in the crook of their arms, instead of spewing everywhere or into their hands. Seriously, what is wrong with people? Common courtesy is sadly becoming a thing of the past.

Anyway…The nurse called and ushered me into an examination room that I’m sure crawled with a wide variety of germs and cooties. She informed me that everyone was running late and someone would be with me as soon as possible.

I could hear the patients on both sides. The guy in the room to my right sounded like a barking seal with a smoker’s cough. He couldn’t catch his breath for more than a few seconds at a time. Could have been bronchitis with a dash of pneumonia, but I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on television. So what do I know? He was in and out rather quickly, and a screaming baby replaced him. Poor baby. I hate hearing babies cry the “I’m in pain” cry.

The guy in the room to my left kept complaining about being hungry. I heard a female voice tell him that he should have eaten lunch. Then he ran down a litany of foods that he wanted to eat. It ranged from a simple burger and fries to southern fried chicken and mashed potatoes to shrimp cocktail and filet mignon at St. Elmo’s. Okay, now I was hungry too.

As if the nurse read my mind, she hand-delivered a piece of tightly wrapped pumpkin bread from Starbucks. Normally, I would never eat in a doctor’s office. But, let’s face it, I had already been spewed upon numerous times. So, what the heck, I took it. I washed my hands thoroughly and unwrapped it. It was very good pumpkin bread. And it helped pass the time. I had been there almost an hour.

I heard someone enter the hungry guy’s room. Apparently, the nurse didn’t like him. He didn’t get any pumpkin bread. The woman said they were shorthanded, so she would be performing the ultrasound. She asked him to explain his issue. He said he had some pain on the left side.

She asked, “Where?”
He replied, “In my Netherlands.”netherlands2
“In your what?”
“My Netherlands.”
Silence.
“You know – down there.”

As I giggled, I want to yell out, “Nether regions!” But I refrained.

Cool as a cucumber, she replied, “Oh, I see. Your testicles?”
“Yup.”
“Okay. This gel will be cold.”
A few seconds later, he exclaimed, “You weren’t kidding!”

I tried not to get a mental picture, as I heard her ask, “Does it hurt here or here or …?”
After many minutes of “yes” and “no” replies, the patient asked, “Am I getting dinner after this?”

I burst into audible laughter. Oh my God, did he really just ask that? I could picture his wife/girlfriend shaking her head. Because that’s what I would have done.

The woman quipped, “That isn’t a service we provide, Sir.”

Although I didn’t know her, I liked her!

He laughed nervously. “I didn’t mean for it to come out like that. It’s just hard with you poking around down there.”
Silence.
“That was bad too, wasn’t it? I’m going to shut up now.”
“It’s okay, Sir. It happens all the time.”

This is as good as the entertainment gets in a doctor’s office.

His companion finally said, “We’ll go to Culver’s after.”
“Good, because I’m starving.”

Time passed, I heard arguing outside in the hall. Apparently, a patient wasn’t happy with the medication he was given and was trying to get something else. The doctor wouldn’t budge. I recognized her voice, it was the ultrasound woman.

A few more minutes passed, my door opened. The woman looked disheveled and exhausted. We exchanged pleasantries. I asked her how she was doing.
She replied, “I feel like I’ve been through a war. I’m tired of answering questions about Obamacare and dealing with insurance companies and difficult patients.”
I tried to reassure her, “Well, I won’t be giving you any trouble.”
She looked at me quizzically.
I winked. “Today, I’m Switzerland!”

Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Purewal

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