In the Waiting Room
Disclaimer: This might fall under the categories of TMI and CHEESY. If that’s not your thing, come back tomorrow for more cute baby pictures.
I’m carrying my small purse, just enough room for my book, a wallet and my phone. On this day, I’m just Kirsten. There is no diaper bag filled with snacks and toys. No crayons, no baby wipes. On this day, I am not a mommy. I’m wedged into the back corner of the elevator, behind the wheelchair and the guy who almost gave me a concussion with his backpack and the elderly couple wheeling an oxygen tank. I ride it to the top and even though I’m alone for the last few floors, I still stand in the corner, trying to make myself smaller.
The waiting room is empty when I arrive. Still blinking, my eyes adjusting from the bright corridor and sunlight outside, I approach the check-in slowly. I’m seeing someone new. It wasn’t time for an annual check-up and I had only called the day before. My usual doctor wasn’t available. I don’t like change, but I remembered who I was seeing and gave my name to the receptionist. I had to endure the embarrassment of giving my new address – spelling out the street name and repeating my apartment letter three times – and, oh yeah, I have a new phone number, too. I don’t remember if you allow debit cards for co-pays? I mumble, feeling my face get red.
The appointment went fine. We talked about everything that had been bothering me for the last several months. The intense back pain, the abdominal cramps and my seemingly endless exhaustion. Is it possible you’re pregnant, he asked. I tried not to laugh and just said No. Blood work was ordered and I was off to get it drawn. Six vials of blood. Then, it was downstairs to radiology.
I’ve only gotten two (maybe three) x-rays in my life (not counting the dentist) and I had no idea what to expect. I imagine my face said WHAAAT? when they asked me if I knew where the pants were kept. I was lead back to a huge cabinet filled with paper pants and hospital gowns. The receptionist surveyed my outfit and told me I would have to wear those voluminous trousers and take off my bra. Did I want to wear a gown or just keep my shirt on? Oh wait, my shirt had buttons so I didn’t get a choice. I was pointed towards the changing room – a small curtained area behind the front desk – and I stripped down to my underwear. The pants were so huge that they bulged out from my hips like clown pants and the gown wouldn’t stay tied in back.
I sat in an uncomfortable flowered chair and surveyed my feet. The only article of clothing – other than my underwear – that was still mine were the battered sandals that I had bought last summer. Staring up at me was a line of nail polish on my left big toe, the last bit of the pedicure I had given myself three months ago that I hadn’t chipped off. I didn’t have long to contemplate what it could mean – perhaps my chipped polish was a sign of how poorly I have been taking care of myself which was why I was spending my Friday morning in doctors’ offices – before the tech came back to get me.
I have arthritis in my lower back on the right side. I will be spending more time in waiting rooms as I begin a course of physical therapy. Everything else came back normal. No wheat allergy and no thyroid issues were the two highlights of my results. This coming Thursday, I will drag myself out of bed at the ass-crack of dawn and get an abdominal ultrasound . I should probably get the nail polish remover out before then.