An exasperating visit to the doctor.
| The waiting room was drawn out torture. There were six rows of benches, all facing the same direction, the plastic kind where you’ll slide right off your seat if you lay back just a little too much. There were nine clocks in total, three on each of the three walls. But the excessive amount of clocks was not the worst part. No. Each clock had a different time on it. And I don’t mean those types of clocks where on has New York time and the other has Tokyo time. It was only that no one had bothered to set a single one of the six clocks to the correct time.
I began tapping my left foot desperately on the floor. The tap-tap from my leather sole echoed through the empty room, drawing a disapproving glance from the receptionist. Begrudgingly, I stopped the tapping and stared at my hands.
Finally, after twenty never ending minutes (according to the clock nearest me - sixteen according to the one next to it), the receptionist finally beckoned me to go through the door. “It’s the last door at the end of the corridor,” was all she managed to say through a mouth full of chewing gum, before returning to her magazine.
I limped slowly forward, my right foot swelling painfully in my shoe, doing my best not to moan in pain with every step. I finally reached the last door, which was slightly open, a subtle smell of hotdog wafting through the opening. In silver letters on the door was marked ‘Jonas Hare M.D., Orthopedics’. I knocked and, without waiting for an answer, limped through the door.
Dr. Hare was sitting behind a glass-topped desk and, ironically, was completely bald. Trying not to dwell on the subject for fear of bursting out in laughter, I shuffled a little closer and cleared my throat. “Dr. Hare?”
His back still turned to me he said, “Take a seat, what’s the problem?” The hotdog smell was heavier inside the room, and it became immediately obvious why the doctor continued to face the opposite way.
In a superhuman attempt at being understanding of doctors’ tight schedules, I decided to give him a chance to finish his lunch while I explained my incident. “Well, I was walking my dog this morning when a female crossed the road ahead of us. Well, you know how men are, especially when we’re not neutered…” though I must admit that it was a very lame attempt at a joke, his snarl was completely uncalled for, “Anyways, he’s a big dog and he pulled on the leash, and I tripped over a rather large rock. Now my foot is swollen and it’s really painful.”
He nodded, “I see. Take a seat on the table behind you and take your shoes and socks off.”
I turned and did as I was told, slowly untying my shoe and carefully peeling the sock off my right foot. It was starting to resemble a fat tamale. Finally finishing his meal, the doctor pulled a chair and sat in front of me. He looked intently at both of my feet. I looked intently at the mustard stain on the side of his mouth. He finally grabbed my right foot and began poking it in what appeared to me a random fashion, with his hotdog smelling fingers.
“Does that hurt?”
“Does this hurt?”
“Does it hurt when I do that?”
“Flex your foot. Okay. Wiggle your toes. Okay.”
He and his mustard stain looked up at me. “So you tripped while walking your dog.” I nodded. “That’s why I’m more of a cat person,” he said, pointing to the back of the room. And indeed, in a far corner, there was a small crate with a pair of yellow eyes looking at me through the bars.
“Isn’t that a bit unhygienic?” I couldn’t stop myself from asking.
“No, I wouldn’t think so.”
“I’m allergic to cats.”
“No. But I could be.”
“Then I don’t see what the problem is. You can put your shoes back on,” he said, standing up and carrying the chair back to his desk. Once more, I followed the doctor’s orders and wobbled back to my seat before the desk.
“So… What’s wrong with my foot?” I said when we were finally facing each other.
“You hit it on a very large rock.”
“Yes, well, I knew that. But is there something broken? Do I need an x-ray? A cast?”
“No. There’s nothing wrong with it.”
“Okay. That’s good. Should I not walk on it or something?”
“No, your foot is fine.” Dr. Hare said, swiveling in his chair and once again facing away from me.
“How can my foot be fine? It looks like a loaf of bread!” I said, my temper slowly rising at the doctor’s dismissal of my pain.
“It’s fine,” he said finally, standing up from his desk and walking towards the door, “well, I have other patients. It has been a pleasure Mister… Yeah.” And he walked out the door without a backwards glance.
A silent rage began to boil inside of me, its source my throbbing, swollen right foot. I wanted to say something deeply insulting to him, something about his baldness maybe, but I couldn’t think of a single intelligent thing to say. Instead, I looked to the back of the room, where a pair of yellow eyes were looking at me from a box in the corner.
I limped furiously back out to the empty waiting room, slammed four fifty dollar bills on the counter by the receptionist’s nose and stormed out of the building. It wasn’t until I was safely on the bus that I unzipped my jacket. Inside was a tiny grey furry ball, purring into my chest. I scratched the kitten behind his tiny ears, his yellow eyes opened to look up at me contentedly. Satisfied, I sat back and realized my foot was already feeling much better.