Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Live-Blogging at My Doctor's Appointment

I am very lucky to have scammed the government into thinking I make fifty dollars a week a fantastic free health insurance plan. I am less lucky that this particular plan only grants me access to the city's most poorly-run institutions of "health" (aka those which seem, at least to me, more detrimental to one's health than the actual doctor visit itself could be beneficial). But beggars can't be choosers, etc.

The minimal co-pays override the following experiences:
-The day I spent 8 hours in the hallway in a wheelchair at the Metropolitan Hospital with my billyclub-sized foot haphazardly positioned in the traffic flow.
-The day I spent 6 hours with a schizophrenic off his medication shuffled from room to room again at my favorite place in New York, the Metropolitan Hospital.
-Seriously, I've spent at least 10,000 hours in the waiting room at the Ryan Center. I was crying for about 2,000 of them.
-Also I think I've spent the best years of my life reading pamphlets and feeling anxious in the Planned Parenthood waiting rooms (they have several rooms there, so they move you around a bit to mix you up).

So today, I fully planned on live-blogging my favorite biannual event--"Going to see my General Practitioner"--because the experience is generally so insufferable that only the hope of wringing wit out of it would power me through the four coffee-free hours I was certain I would spend in the waiting room at the Ryan Center.

But when I looked out the window this morning I thought to myself, "Hm? Would I take my ibook on Splash Mountain? No, I would not. So I will not take it outside today." Instead, I did it the old fashioned way: with a notebook. I present below, my live-notebooking of the Doctor's Visit. As you will see, another trip to the doctor is eminent, so I will have another chance to live-blog there.

Also, obvs some things are in present tense even though I clearly didn't write them until after the event itself. But they are pretty close to what I was thinking if I had a Dictaphone in my brain.

11:17 am: Can't find keys. Appointment in 13 minutes.

11:35 am: It is very nice that I now live only 6 blocks from Dystopia-at-97th-street, but unfortunately it is raining like Noah's Ark, so I wish I lived farther away so I could justify taking a cab there. Right shoe is now thoroughly soaked to most likely the actual marrow of my foot-bones.

11:40am: Left shoe also soaked. Pretty sure I have acquired the bubonic plague, SARS, etc. from walking through street flood.

11:45 am: Arrival. My head is killing me. I need coffee but my heart rate is already through the roof anticipating having my heart rate taken.

11:50 am: I am checked in. I am on my way! I am in Adult Medicine. I have a seat. Everyone is staring at me. This always happens here. It is because I am so beautiful.

11:51 am: It is because I am Whitey McWhiterson. I am the only member of the McWhiterson family at the picnic.

11:52 am: All my fears that the woman next to me is trying to read over my shoulder have been confirmed. She has commented to me: "Tiny handwriting!"

Excellent. If this is "Tell Your Neighbor What Obvious Fact You've Observed About Them" Day, then I would like to add: "Gigantic red jeans on your Gigantic Ass!"

11:55 am: A nurse passes, pushing a plastic cart (like the kind teachers use for overhead projectors). The cart, which holds some overstuffed folders, bears the scrawled letters "Women's Health" in magic marker. I feel this is very metaphorical.

12 noon: My stomach is beating. I'm pregnant. My head is fucking killing me. I need coffee. I am pregnant. It's an immaculate conception.

12: 07pm: My feet are getting prune-y.

12:15 pm: HALLEY-FUCKING-LUJAH! I have only been here for 30 minutes and I am already summoned to see my wonderful doctor! (Seriously though, I do love my doctor.)

12:20 pm:
DOCTOR: "I wanted to call you in right away because we actually can't do your annual until we run some blood work on you?"
ME (to myself, in my head): Dammit. I knew it was too good to be true.
DOCTOR: "But, let me check your heart rate--"

As she straps the armband to my little arm, I tell her I just drank "Like, a liter of coffee." Just to be sure.

DOCTOR: "OK, let's go over some things to talk about what kind of tests we should run. You'll come back next week to do the blood work and then come back and see me again in three weeks."
ME (to myself, in my head): FUCK.

12:25 pm:

DOCTOR:"Do you drink or do drugs?"
Me: (taking Frey-esque liberties with my information, but the opposite of that) "Um, I drink."
DOCTOR: "Like, say, one beer a week?"
ME: (I shuffle my feet) "Uh, no, a little more than that. Like, maybe twice a week."
DOCTOR: "OK, so, 1-2 beers, twice a week?"
ME: "Actually, I don't drink beer. I like wine. Beer makes me bloat--"
DOCTOR: "OK, 1-2 beers, twice a week."

(She writes this down. It is now officially true. Wow! I am so like, well behaved and stuff.)
(Gotta love the overworked, overbooked doctors of America. I love America.)

DOCTOR: "You know, you look great. You look so much better than the last time I saw you."
ME: "Really?" (Um--the last time I was here, I waited outside with these lunatics for four hours, including a man who climbed onto the receptionist desk and asked if he broke something if he could see a doctor, and that he was getting sicker from sitting in the waiting room and might kill somebody)
DOCTOR: "Yeah, really. WOW."
ME: "Oh, ok. Cool." (It's the sweatpants. Def. the sweatpants)

12:45pm: Back in the waiting room. It's all like, smokes and mirrors, or whatevs.

12:50pm: I think nurse smocks are made from rejected wallpaper samples.

12:55 pm: Every baby in this building is crying it's goddamn eyes out.

12:56pm: Why does everyone in the waiting room have a cane? It's like, 50% people with canes. Is this secretly a limb-stealing operation?

1:oopm: I am summoned to the nurse's chambers. She tells me to go to Registration to get a new ID. I do this. I think the secretary at Registration has a photograph of every single baby that's ever been born in the entire world on her little corkboard.

1:05pm: Back in the Nurses' Chambers.
NURSE: I wish I had a wheelchair.
ME: (gesturing towards her wheely-office-chair) You kinda do.
NURSE: Yeah, but something where I could just press a button like--beeep beeep!--to the other side of the room.
ME: (note: the other side of the room is approximately 3 feet away) Um--

1:10pm: There is a poster of a penis with smallpox on it in this office. She is telling me how to take a urine test.
NURSE: You'll pee into this cup, and then pour it into this test-tube.
ME: Got it.
NURSE: Don't drink the test-tube.
ME: Of course.
NURSE: Don't spill it on your purse or anything.
ME: Do people usually have trouble with this?
NURSE: Oh, honey, all the time! They'll bring it in still in the plastic cup, they'll bring it from home--
ME: Okay, okay. Got it.

1:15pm: Back in the waiting room. Why is that woman reading Fit Pregnancy? She hasn't been pregnant (or fit) since like, the war of 1812.

1:17pm: Someone keeps shouting :"RUBEN! RUBEN!"

Ah! There he is! Ruben Himself!

NURSE: I called your name like, three times!

1:21pm: Made my new appointments. All ready to go. Realize I forgot my umbrella in the Nurse's Chambers. Return for umbrella.

NURSE: You're lucky! I was gonna auction it off.
ME: You wouldn't have gotten a high price for this sucker, it doesn't even go up all the way. There's no click.
NURSE: They don't need to know that, girl! They'll be all out in the rain with it before they figure that one out.


1:25 pm: Heading directly for Dunkin' Donuts for a gigantic coffee. Feel slightly elated at having actually shown up for a doctors appointment, then slightly dejected when I realize that I will be returning in a week. And then again in three weeks. Which basically means I am busy until 2007.


haviland said...

Oh, the lovely doctors office.

I'm not sure it's a good idea to, um, tell little white lies to your doctor? Hmm...

rachel said...

I always go to the emergency clinic up our street at like 2 am and there's no line. Zyla has that problem with insurance - she has this thing called Denali Kid Kare that's like total and complete coverage, only nobody in the world accepts it, so we can't tell if that's good or not. And then they kick her off when she's 18, so her dentists have decided to cram in a whole bunch of unnecessary work (pretty much just to get money from the people before it's too late) and they start all this stuff, and they do half of it wrong, and then they're like Bummer! We can't take it anymore, so now she has a half-operated-on mouth. They like, did one side. Poor kid.

Book Cannibal said...

Whoa. That was pretty intense. I felt like I had a doctor's appt. Especially the rejected wallpaper sample nurse top. Right on!

Ingrid said...

Oh I REMEMBER that day spent in the Metropolitan Hospital after the idiot-hole (my 18 yr. old brother's favorite insult (his other favorite insult is 'cock-tard', btw)) bike messenger broke your foot. I think there was someone sitting next to us yelling in Chinese and who was,as they might say in Grey's Anatomy, bleeding out?

steph said...

i think the nurses take pride in their wallpaper outfits, i am pretty sure they get to choose what they want. i saw a nurse in a black one, but all others seem to like floral and boxes. do they have paisley? i think i would want paisley.

marie lyn bernard said...

hav: yes, but i mean, she kinda told me how much i drank and who was i to contradict the opinion of an expert?..:-)

rachel: the fact that it's called "kid kare" is fucking amaizng. I had this thing called "mega life and health" at one point that was accepted pretty much nowhere, plus no one believed that it was real because it was called "mega."

cam/steph: oh, they so get to chose what they want. if i was there, i would pick the scooby doo scrubs.

ingrid: OH METROPOLITAN HOSPITAL! There was that guy right by us who kept like, faking seizures to get medication? and rolling his eyes to the back of hsi head? but the worst was that like, fat doctor guy with the cold who was clearly like, totally incapable of taking care of anyone least of all himself. Fuckin' bike messengers.

Anonymous said...

I wanna take your survey and my evil computer won't let me :(