I don’t like going to the doctor. This is due, in part, to the fact that every time I see a doctor for one illness I wind up back at that doctor’s office the following week with a different illness picked up from my previous visit. Lather, rinse, repeat… I wind up feeling sick for weeks on end all because I wimped out rather than toughing out whatever malady brought me there in the first place.
Today was no exception.
Having decided that I simply could NOT stand one more day of painful hacking, coughing and sneezing — along with the fact that every time I swallowed it felt like I was drinking shards of glass — I broke down and made a doctor’s appointment. I showered. I dressed in something other than pajamas for the first time in days. I combed my hair, brushed my teeth, and promised myself that I’d bathe in Purell the instant I left the office. That should ensure I won’t be back next week with some new ailment, at least.
And if that doesn’t do it, the fact that my regular MD and her assistant were on vacation definitely did the trick. See, nobody warned the substitute assistant how much I despise all of the doctor’s games they play when you get there. You know, the ones about taking your blood pressure when you’re just there for a decongestant.
Or — as this particular assistant discovered — having to stand on the doctor’s scale and get weighed just so I can the medications which I can’t legally prescribe for myself.
“I won’t do it,” I told her. “I know damn well what I weigh, and I know that it’s up 3 pounds today from yesterday. I also know that it’s 8 pounds less than the last time I was here, so just do the math and write the damn number down.”
(Did I mention I get cranky as hell when I’m sick?)
“Oh, but you HAVE to,” she said. “It’s the doctor’s policy. All patients must get weighed upon arrival.” (Like I’m cargo coming in?)
“Look,” I told her. “I’m here because I had a flu that has since been compounded with strep throat. Since I didn’t seek immediate medical attention for that, it’s now complicated by an ear infection and sinusitis. I need a Z-pack and a script for phenergin with codeine, and NEITHER of those has anything to do with my weight, m’kay?”
“Doctor’s orders,” she chirped as she pointed toward the scale.
I glanced at her hand and asked, “Does the doctor’s office have an X-ray machine?”
She nodded. “Why, yes.”
“Can the doctor also set broken bones here? I mean, with a cast and everything?”
She furrowed her spray-tanned forehead and said, “Yes, I’m sure he can. Why, are you hurt?”
“No, ma’am,” I told her. “I just want to be sure YOU can get the prompt medical attention you’re going to need if you insist that I step on that goddamned scale.”
And then I gave her my most sincere, reassuring smile.
To make a short story even longer, I’m pleased to announce that I did NOT have to weigh in prior to being escorted into the exam room and given a paper dress to wear before the doctor came in and, within two minutes, diagnosed me with strep throat complicated by an ear infection and sinusitis for which he prescribed a Z-pack and phenergin with codeine.
Also, when I last checked, his assistant still had the use of her hand. But, hey, if it turns out next week that I’m sick with something new and my regular doctor’s not back, I make no promises.