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Life Arts    H4'ed 12/16/11

Waiting in the Examining Room

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Yes, I was a minute or two late getting to the doctor's office. I was delayed at work, the lights didn't hit just right, I had some trouble finding a parking spot. I got up to the third floor, checked in, settled into a chair in the waiting room. Maybe ten minutes, the doctor's secretary called me back.


While she held the door, the secretary noted that the hand therapist had come up earlier. I was a star patient, coming in regularly and doing what I was told. It will only be a few minutes, sit wherever you want. I followed her outstretched arm into the examining room. I sat in the chair. The secretary left the door open.


Usually I'd get up on the exam table. That way, I could dangle my legs, lean back, close my eyes. Not today. Why waste the tissue paper. I played with the copy of the interim report from the hand therapist I held in my hand. I sat up straight. I breathed.


Last time, I got to my appointment early. That was the second one after surgery, when they removed the sutures. I had forgotten the therapist's report that time and had to take the elevator back down to one, run out to my vehicle, grab the sheet on the passenger seat, and head back up. All that, and I was still in the waiting room on time, a little anxious for having forgotten the report. I was in and out in no time that day, even with all the sutures.


The secretary brought other patients back to other examining rooms. Two guys who looked like pharmaceutical salesmen passed by. You can tell because they look like Mormon missionaries, but they have trendier haircuts. Some staff members walked by. After about fifteen minutes, there was a bit of a buzz in the hallway. The surgeon was going in and out of the rooms. He told the secretary something, sounded like scheduling surgery. I thought he said "it will be a few minutes" in my direction. The drug company guys walked past, heading out. The buzz died down.


The secretary stopped in the room next to my room. There was some conversation. The people left. Next thing I know, a woman with a baby stroller is going in the room next door. The kid is fussy-- ear-piercing fussy. I'm still in the chair with the sheet from the therapist.


It is 3:15 p.m. About thirty-five minutes in the examining room in the chair. I see the secretary walking past. I ask, "What's going on?" She's passed the door. Wait, she turns around, she's in the doorway. She tells me there have been a couple of emergencies. Okay.

I don't sit down again.

I was my usual happy self when I arrived. Another pleasant, amusing day in my rich, contented, absurd life. There are things that could cause me anxiety or distress, but they don't. I have learned the difference between what I can change and what I can't.   I know my serenity is in inverse proportion to my expectations. Acceptance begins on page 417 of the fourth edition. Now, I'm sullen.

The kid's still fussy. I stand in the room. I look out in the hall. No one is around.  

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Bear Kosik is a political scientist by training. His Remaking Democracy in America was published in the fall of 2018 by Stairway Press. Well-received science fiction novels (two under Hugh Dudley) are available on Amazon. Several screenplays (more...)

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