“What is it about the doctor’s office,” Chelsea groused, “They’re always so cold.” Of course she was right and for those in this particular kind of doctor’s office, it seemed particularly cruel. Jeff and Chelsea walked in, checked in and shuffled to the nearest double seat. “And, what’s up with the magazines from last century,” she said, “And, who reads this stuff?” The magazine selection consisted of People, Car and Driver, Highlights for kids (and that was a sad thought) and various financial and business publications.
For six and a half years Jeff and Chelsea had been making trips to this particular doctor and a bunch of others. Mostly their offices looked the same and smelled the same and felt the same and no one wanted to be there. Some were newer, some were older. Some of the staff were nicer, some were “efficient” to put it kindly with their inscrutable “professional” faces plastered on and their unflagging politeness. Always, the appointment was dreaded and necessary. Always, they kept you waiting.
Jeff looked around the room. An older couple sat reading. The husband with a crappy magazine from the crappy selection, the wife with Stephen King’s Cell. A businesses man sat, crackberry in hand searching, surfing, working? A young Mom sat playing checkers with what looked like a kid of about eight. They brought their own set. Since those first few visits Chelsea preferred to listen to her mix list, twisting and drumming in her own private dancefest.
Jeff nudged Chelsea waiting for her to pull the earbud out and whispered, “Which is worse, the magazines or the art?” Chelsea glanced around the room taking in the nondescript landscapes and decided, “The reading material. I can ignore the artwork.” She went back to her tunes this time with lipsyncing and what appeared to be air keyboard.
Jeff looked around the room again, thinking about how familiar and yet how strange the room seemed. He took in the businessman suited up impatiently waiting, the older couple and the eight-year-old who sported a ski cap nearly the same blue color as Chelsea’s bandana. Of course, each covered a bald, pink scalp. This is a long, strange trip in a strange place with a bunch of strangers, Jeff thinks.
Chelsea cocked open an eye and saw him people watching. He did this while they waited. They waited a lot. She reached out touching his hand. They looked at each other and smiled.
“Chelsea,” said the nurse. They both looked up. “Please follow me.” Down the hallway they went, this time to examining room 3. Chelsea popped onto the too familiar table. Jeff took a seat in the corner. “Baby, damn you look good,” Jeff said. He believed it.“Is it the hair loss or the weight loss you find most appealing,” she asked.
“It’s just you.”
With a perfunctory single knock, the nurse came in and took a seat on the rolling stool. “Let’s get you weighed and we’ll need your blood pressure.” After the medical foreplay, the nurse flipped through Chelsea’s file and began to ask all the usual questions in the usual shotgun fashion pausing only for the minimal answer. Data collection saving time for the doc. “How do you feel? How are your bowel movements? You’ve lost a little more weight, are you eating?”
“I’ve been better. Irregular. I eat what I can when I feel like it.”
“Does anything help?”
“Ohhhhh, you have to take it easy with that stuff,” the nurse said, “It’s very bad for your health.”
Jeff and Chelsea stared at the nurse for a long second, and then they looked at each other and cracked up. Big, loud laughs that started deep and kept going. “I guess that doesn’t make much sense, does it,” the nurse said with a bright red flush.”
Still laughing Chelsea waved the nurse off the hook. “It’s OK, best laugh I’ve had in six and half months!”
A guest post from Honey Rand – Honey Rand.com