by The Critic
Remembering my Family Doctor, inspired by a prompt given by The Writer's Cramp
A Race to the Grave
"How long have you been my doctor?" Linda's questioned challenged Dr. Jerry Levine to remember.
"Well then it is in your best interest to keep me alive at least long enough that I can pay you what I owe you."
"At this rate, it just might be better to cut my losses." he stated in his usual dry tone.
Linda was smiling as she followed him into the exam room. Rhonda and Seana, his nursing assistants, glanced at each other with a here-we- go-again look. Linda and Dr. Levine had long been verbally sparring with each other, and it was obvious that both enjoyed it entirely too much.
Dr. Levine, a General Practitioner, had been Linda's Family Doctor for over 25 years. When he first established his practice, Houma was a small town, and Dr. Levine was well suited to be a small town doctor. He worked tirelessly everyday in a building that had no windows. The one and only entrance to his office was a single, heavy glass door that provided the only outside view and natural light. His two examine rooms were small, tidy, and had the fragrant smell of sterility. Unlike most other doctor offices that Linda had visited in the past, the only distracting visual entertainment on the walls were an abundance of Norman Rockwell prints. He must have had at least a hundred of them, all the same size, all framed in ordinary black plastic frames. Linda had decided early on that all those Norman Rockwell prints must have been some of the cheap promotional gifts that the pesky drug representatives gave him on their all too regular visits.
His waiting room was always standing room only from the minute his office opened, and full of patients of all ages, and ever race, greed, and color imaginable. Considering that Houma was such a small town, this vast array of patients seemed somewhat odd. The only spectacular thing about his suite of rooms that served as his suite of offices was the Ivy plant that Rhonda had been tending for years. Rhonda's ivy plant branches encircled the waiting room area at least 3 times. The ivy's tendrils were neatly and carefully supported by hooks located just where the walls meet the ceiling. The leaves were always dust free, shinny, and a healthy deep shade of green. The pot from which the hundreds of feet of ivy tendrils grew seemed to small to sustain the massive length of growth that the ivy produced.
The office was located in a older small strip mall on the outskirts of town. Next door there was a long established pharmacy. On the other side of his office there was a Religious book store, and next to that was a Sunrise Fried Chicken Franchise. Parking was always a problem.
Dr. Levine was only a few years older than Linda. They had watched each other marry, have children, and grow old.
On January 29th, 2003 Doctor Jerry Levine died.
Suddenly all the jokes tossed back and forth at each other about the race to the grave just were not as funny as they had seemed over all the years that Linda had been his patient.