“You young kids think you’re so smart. Well, dag snapit, you ain’t.” He huffed with satisfaction. I sat there in the waiting room with him and looked at him. He had to be at least eighty and the years had not been kind. His skin was a translucent tallow white and he was covered in liver spots. His hair was thinned to the point he might as well have been bald, he had maybe a hundred hairs but they were combed and greasy with what I figured to be Brylcreme. It polished his spotty scalp. A palsy caused him to ripple in a gelatinous way, his hands danced a bit as they rested on bony knees. His clothing was draped looking, as though they were built for a linebacker and then hung on a scarecrow. His eyes, blue, had a filmy rheumy look surrounded by pink. If I sneezed he would be blown across the room; his height was impossible to gauge what with his being bent and stooped, even sitting down. I enjoyed that he called me a kid and smiled for it at him.
In the half hour we’d both been sitting, he’d explained a lot of his life to me, skipping across his experiences like a flat stone across water. I knew he’d been to war, not one of the “little put up squabbles, the BIG One.” I was trying to decide if that was WWI or WWII. I concluded it was probably the latter, hoped it was. The nurse came out and called him, telling him the doctor would see him now. “Goldarnit! Can’t you see I’m havin’ a conversation with this nice young man? Make me wait here and then come for me just when it’s gettin’ interestin’. Shoot.” The nurse smiled and took his wheelchair in hand and pushed him to the door. He grabbed the doorframe, stopping the progress. “You remember what I tol ya, young fella!” and then he was rolled out of sight. I tried to figure out what he’d told me that I should remember. No luck.
The thing is, I could relate to a lot of the complaints he’d sprinkled across his jigsaw puzzle comments. His words, summed up, said he didn’t think much of the changes to the country over the years. I was in agreement there, I tend to believe we’ve changed too, and not necessarily for the better. I lock the doors to my house now and I never used to do that. I do a lot of things I never used to do.
A woman came into the waiting room and took a seat next to me. I smiled at her and said “Nice cleavage, lady.” She shook her head and told me to shut up. She’s said that a lot since we got married. “They haven’t called me yet.” I said. She told me she figured that out, what with my being in the waiting room. “It could have been a very fast appointment. You never know.” She didn’t even look up from her Kindle, which she’d pulled out of her purse as she sat down. My wife has what I would call a medium sized purse, about the size of an elementary school history book. But it’s magic. No matter what I might need, she always has one in her purse. The only time she failed me was when I commented in traffic that I wished I had an Abrahms tank. She read. I sat. Time passed.
After a while a nurse came in and called me to have my vitals checked. I rolled my chair over to a set of scales and stepped up on it. One sixty-five. I sat back down and she said she was going to take my blood pressure and pulse. I told her that would be okay as long as she gave them back before I left. She didn’t acknowledge my humor and set about wrapping a cuff around my bicep, sticking an oximeter on my finger and then grabbed my wrist as she looked at her watch. She made a note on my chart which appeared like magic out of nowhere. I wondered if she had a purse behind her. She swiped a thermometer across my forehead, checked it and then made another entry on the chart. She asked for my pain level and I told her. She pointed to the waiting room and said that doctor would be with me shortly. Not the doctor, just doctor. Like it was a name. Then I realized that everyone called doctors doctor, not the doctor. I guess she was right and decided not to comment. Besides, my humor wasn’t being appreciated today. As if it ever was.
After a few minutes the nurse returned and told me that the doctor would see me now. I rolled towards the examining room feeling confused. I obviously needed to do some work on word articles/determiners, specifically, the word ‘the.’ My doctor smiled as I rolled in. “So, what brinngs you here today?” he asked.
“Um, an appointment? You told me to come here today at the end of our last appointment.”
“I did? Imagine that.” He paused a few beats. “So, how are things going? Anything you want me to look at?” I shook my head and told him that nothing out of the ordinary was happening. I had bone pain, neuropathic pain and occasional muscle tics and palsy, but that’s all pretty ordinary for me. He nodded and looked sympathetic. “Okay then, lets take a quick look and get you o your way.” He listened to me with his stethoscope and squeezed my legs and looked in my eyes and up my nose with a little light gizmo and nodded. “Lookin’ good, my man.” He told me to come back in a month and said they’d send the usual appointment letter, gave me my monthly scrip for morphine and shook my hand. I was dismissed. What a guy.
My wife fell in behind me and took over my wheelchair. She pushed me past the lobby and out the front door where I pulled out a pack of cigarettes and stuck one in my mouth. Immediately some obnoxious fat lady started screeching at me that I was in a No Smoking zone. I said something very impolite that had to do with self gratification and she snorted “Well! I never!” and I told her yes, she most certainly had. I felt my wife accellerate to get me away before I said something even more misanthropic. Just to spite the woman I made a production of lighting my cigarette, but by then we were out of the smoking prohibited zone. Sigh. Wives can be so cruel.
We got to the van and I loaded myself and the chair up the ramp. “So you want me to drive?” she asked me. I told her I’d do it so she hopped in the passenger door. I locked down my chair and moved to the drivers seat. Minutes later we were on our way down Assembly Street, headed homeward. I was in a bad mood all of a sudden and when I get that way, I start bitching. What was tagging me at the moment was Amazon.com.
Lately they have been taking small items and turning them into what they call “Add-On Items.” In order to buy them, you have to spend at least $25 on other items that Amazon sells. Or as they call it, Fulfilled By Amazon. I had been looking for a new pill organizer, the one I owned was five years old and had been used twice a day eighteen hundred times. No wonder it was getting ragged. I paid six bucks for it, from Amazon, back when I was diagnosed and the pills became a part of my waking and bedtime regimen. I wanted to get a new one because a few of the compartment lids were hanging by a thread of the vinyl material they’re made of. I went to Amazon and discovered that they had turned this handy and inexpensive thing into an add-on item and I didn’t want to spend twenty five bucks to buy a replacement. Effing Amazon, I hope they get a bad clam that causes them a wet and odious embarassing moment in an elevator.
“That’s gross, Bob.” said my wife, frowning. The expression carved canyons of worry lines in her face. I apologized and then went on to make some worse comments about Amazon’s family tree that referenced the different ways inbreeding produces inferior cognitive abilities. Holding an erect finger, I stated that if Amazon was to step into our yard I would shoot him. “Wow.” she said. “And you say I anthropomorphize the cats.” That wife. She knows how to play dirty. I made frumping noises and looked glumly out the window. We passed a school crossing sign that demanded we slow when kids were present and I shot it the finger. A guy has to find release somehow. The sign ignored me. Some badass I am.
Some days come and go, totally pointless. Kind of like this blog posting.