By Joe Darby
I just got back from the doctor’s office.
Counting the eye doc and the dentist, I have about a half dozen physicians who look after me. Today’s (Wednesday’s) visit was to a specialist in Shreveport. The drive to Shreveport itself is not a whole lot of fun, but doctors visits are becoming, well, less fun all the time. And I’ve been active lately. I had cataract surgery about two weeks ago and spent a couple of hours in the dentist’s chair earlier this week.
Let me say first that I really like all my doctors. They are professionally very competent and are truly caring human beings who have my interests at heart. All of them take time to listen to my (growing) list of complaints and they are doing their best to make me healthier. Even if my lifestyle doesn’t make that easier for them.
But what I want to write about is the actual fact of going “going to the doctor.” First, if you call for an appointment, it’s not real unusual that you have to wait weeks — especially for the specialists. So that’s one thing.
Another is this. Have you ever gone to the doctor and been on time for your appointment and actually been called into the back at the very time of your appointment? If you have, I think that’s an event that’s rarer than a Saints Super Bowl victory. And remember, that’s happened once in 52 years.
So, there you sit, having arrived early for your appointment at say, 2 p.m., and there you wait. I’m in the habit of bringing a newspaper or a book to the appointments because I know it will be a while before I’m called in the back. I used to rely on finding diversion in the magazines in a doc’s office, but I’ve pretty much given up on those. I took a look at one of the magazines in the office I visited Wednesday and it was a People from 2013. If you wanted the latest on Hollywood and celebrity gossip from six years ago, that would be the publication you’d want to read.
In another office that I go to, all the mags are catered to the ladies. Good Housekeeping, Women’s Home Companion, etc., etc. And some offices these days have nothing but medical publications. WebMD and stuff like that. When I go to the doctor I don’t want to read about how sick I am. I’ll let the doc herself or himself tell me that.
Anyway, sooner or later, probably later, the nurse will call you from the waiting room (and boy, isn’t that a good name for it) and into the back where you’ll be placed in an exam room. She will take your blood pressure and other vitals and then tell you the doctor will be in soon. By the time the physician knocks and enters it’s going to be, more than likely, about an hour after your scheduled appointment. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
Then the doc will check you over, ask the necessary questions and listen to how you’ve been feeling lately. You may get new prescriptions or a change in your old ones and the doc may order a series of tests. All of this is appreciated by me and it’s what gong to the doctor is truly all about.
It’s just the waiting, you see. Also, one of my doctors warns that the office will charge you $50 if you’re an established patient and $200 if you’re a new patient if you don’t give at least 24 hours notice for not showing up for the appointment. That doctor does not practice in Natchitoches, which makes it even riskier that I’ll get hooked for $50 one of these days. Suppose I have car trouble on the highway?
Oh, well. You all know what I’m talking about when it comes to visiting the docs. I love ’em and they keep me alive and kicking, but getting to see them is not always real easy.
I want to mention one more quick thing before I go. It’s amazing to me, when I get a shot these days, how much of a scardey cat I was when I was little. I mean, shots don’t really hurt very much at all. But, boy when I was 6 or 7, I remember the utter fear I had when the doc would pull out the syringe and needle. I’d grab Momma’s arm and squeeze it for all I was worth, burying my face in her shoulder. I remember the first time I accepted a shot without clinging to my Mom. I thought I was getting to be quite the little man. But I still didn’t like going to the doctor’s office.