Last Word: The Waiting Room

Like pretty much everyone else, I don’t enjoy going to the doctor.

No matter what the reason.

Even if my physician was moonlighting as lottery commissioner and I held the winning Powerball ticket, I still wouldn’t want to go.

Just making an appointment is a lesson in fortune telling, requiring a crystal ball to predict my plans on a Tuesday afternoon, 12 months in the future, when most days I can’t even figure out what I’m doing for lunch.

After nailing down a day I could possibly show up, we enter into a game of Timeslot Go Fish.

“Do you have anything at 10 a.m.?”

No. Go fish.

“Can you come at 4:15 p.m.?”

Too late. Go fish.

“Is Monday available?”

Completely booked. Go fish.

“What about the following week?”

I’m on vacation. Go fish.

Once someone wins, I forget to write it down, remembering only when I get the reminder call the day before and am forced to reschedule, starting the whole thing all over again.

As the date of the appointment closes in, I become paralyzed by Doctor Scale Anxiety.

Not only do doctor scales make me feel like I’m being weighed in at a 4-H livestock contest, but despite stripping off my clothes, shoes and not using any hairspray, they inexplicably read at least 15 pounds more than the one in my bathroom.

As the nurse notches the weight bar over, over, then over again before stopping on a number we didn’t agree on, I resist the urge to appeal the verdict by shrieking, “Lies! All lies!” and instead confess my addiction to double-stuffed Oreos so we can move on.

Immediately following confirmation of my catastrophic weight gain, the nurse takes my blood pressure, which is off the charts due to the confirmation of my catastrophic weight gain, then we sit in silence while she types it all into my permanent record.

Because I’ve usually consumed a bucket of coffee on my way to the appointment, I’m forced to prematurely use the bathroom while still in the waiting room, leaving me unable to perform the task later when handed a plastic cup and sent down the hall.

I try anyway, using the time to contemplate if the last person who used the black, Sharpie marker to identify their cup, did so before — or after — filling it up.

After admitting defeat, I’m led to a room where time grinds to halt as I page through two-year-old magazines or blatantly ignore the “NO CELL PHONES” sign taped to the wall to preemptively look up what might be wrong with me on WebMD, in case my doctor wants a second opinion.

In some awkward state of undress, I sit on the table, trying not to move a lot since the crinkly, white paper it’s covered with makes me feel like I’m one tomato and some shredded lettuce away from being a to-go sandwich.

If nothing more I’m grateful to be in my own space instead of the waiting room, where no matter what remote corner I sit in, someone who appears to have a raging case of Bob Costas pink eye parks it in the chair next to me, regardless if every other seat in the place is empty.

Not unlike Movie Theater Law, which governs that even if there’s not another living soul there, someone will come last minute, sit directly behind me and spend the entire time tearing the plastic off a box of Junior Mints or talk nonstop until the last credit rolls.

When the doctor finally knocks on the door, I’m usually so grateful someone didn’t forget I was in there that I don’t mind that we’re probably going to have to do something objectionable with a sharp utensil or at the very least, a large cotton swab.

Both are preferable, however, to any questions my doctor might ask about how often I exercise, how many glasses of wine I drink per day and what the deal is with double-stuffed Oreos.

I guess it doesn’t really matter, since I have no intention of answering any of them honestly and am only stalling until my doctor checks the clock and rushes out the door to examine Bob Costas.

Once dressed again, I realize I have to go to the bathroom.

Having already inspected the Sharpie, I wait until I get home.

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