I went to see an ear-nose-and-throat doctor today regarding my chronic sinus pain.
While I was at the reception desk, the woman checking me in, Mary, told me that I had an outstanding balance of $15.
“How can that be?” I asked. “I’ve never been here before.”
She looked at me in confusion. “Yes you were,” she said. “On December 5.”
“No,” I said. “I had an appointment, but when I called I was told it was canceled.”
We appeared to be at an impasse. “Oh, just go ahead and add it to today’s bill, and we can figure this out later,” I said.
Mary shook her head and ran my flexible-spending-account card through her credit card machine.
While she was busy, a doctor walked into the office and stood behind Mary. He looked familiar. Very familiar. Had I seen him on television?
Then I looked around the office. It seemed to me that I had seen the same coffee machine and basket of complimentary snacks before. That’s when it hit me.
“I have been here before!” I said. Mary looked up from her work with a wary smile. “This appointment is to review the results of the CAT scan I had!” I said. “It’s been so long since my last appointment that I forgot all about it.”
Mary glanced gratefully at the glass separating her from me and nodded.
“Sorry,” I said. “My Alzheimer’s is acting up.” She laughed, in a we’ve-all-been-there-before kind of way. But it wasn’t sincere. I have a feeling she talked about me after I left.
There’s something about doctors that brings out the crazy in me. It has the same effect on one of my sisters.
She recently went to the doctor and told him she suspected that she had a tapeworm. She said the doctor looked very nervous and asked her, “How do you think you contracted it?” He then headed to the sink to thoroughly wash his hands.
Somehow they determined that she did not have a tapeworm, so she broached her next concern. “Could I have an X-ray for lung cancer?” she asked him. When he ascertained that she didn’t have any symptoms that would call for such an X-ray, he suggested that perhaps she should go home and lie down.
As she was leaving, he asked, “Are you seeing anyone?”
“No!” my sister exclaimed. “I’m happily married.”
“I was talking about a psychiatrist,” the doctor responded.