Here is another chapter in my life as a professional patient.
The other day I set out on one of my regular pilgrimage days. There are several of these days every month. This time our first medical appointment was the ophthalmologist. My son and I made it to the car by 8:30. It is hard to move first thing in the morning.
When we arrived, there was the typical new patient pack to fill out for my son. (I was an established patient.) I used own my own pen because it is light enough for me to hold. As I filled out the first 2 blanks, I was tickled with myself: My handwriting looked familiar. It looked like my own handwriting. I said, “Hey my hand must be doing okay today. I haven’t seen that handwriting for a while.” It made me smile.
That lasted less than a minute. My fingers got tired and started to slack off. That lasted the next minute. Then, my fingers hurt too much to write. So, I scrawled as little as possible as quickly as possible. I got my son to fill out part and turn it in for me.
Soon we were off to the back for lots of tests with funny contraptions. What is that thing we looked in to view a hot air balloon? The girl said she could see how I see and measure my prescription automatically.
I got to wear a trial pair of custom-made specs. Like the look? I told her they were lovely, but I couldn’t buy them because they were just too heavy. Too much stress on my neck.
They are really nice at that office, but after 2 1/2 hours, we were eager to leave. On the road again… a list of blood tests and a much overdue TB test.
However, I can never resist the pit stops that are “right on the way anyway,” like the Sam’s club which had finally opened in our county. Usually, we go to Sam’s an hour away from home. Who could resist a Sam’s club “on the way”? I do buy milk and eggs and juice for 7, after all.
At Sam’s, my son does most of the lifting. However, it is not easy to be idle. Stubbornly, I lift a gallon of milk and shout out to him to catch it as it falls. He’s seen that before, so he’s fast on his feet. Nice save, son!
My hip, my knees, and my elbows are not enough. My feet are screaming by now. I keep telling my son, we have GOT to hurry and get out of here! It has gotten to the point where I am wondering how I’ll make it to the car.
Yummy rotisserie chicken samples remind us it’s lunchtime. Mmmm.
Like a cherry on top
Checkout. Membership card. Double-take. “Is this YOU?”
“Yes,” I say.
“Nice picture. Pretty hair. Doesn’t look like you.”I pretend I did not hear, “Hmm?”
“The hair was very pretty. You don’t look like that anymore.”
I pretend I am not hurt. “It is raining. I put my hair up to keep it dry.”
I lean on my son as I shuffle and drag my feet to the car. We are trying to fit the milks into the cooler when we realize: EGGS! I fall into my seat as he unloads the rest.
Heroically, the young man goes back inside with my cute-hair card and some cash to pick up a couple cartons of eggs. I pull off my sneakers and moan loudly since no one can hear me. I relish the comfortable seat of my Suburban.
The door-keeper was not sympathetic to a teenage boy running back in without his mom. Oh, well. On with the shoes. Slow drag to the door. Door-keeper smiles, “We can let you use the wheelchair.” “Thanks, but I’ll manage.”
“Go ahead really, you shouldn’t feel bad. Your problem is only temporary. It’s not like you’ll need it for long.”
“Huh?” I breathed. “No,” I smiled. I wonder whether I should say more. “This will probably get worse, not better.”
I got straight into a checkout line while he ran off for the eggs.
One more thing is right on the way to the lab and home. Friend just out of the hospital. We’ll stop for only a moment since I have food in the car.
The doorknob is hard. It’s locked. Knocking is painful. The step up is hard. Several minutes of standing to make small talk. I look for something to lean upon. God, help me. My elbow, my feet, my knees are killing me. I breathe very deeply and shift my weight. My hip!
Finally, struggling to the car. Shoes off. How will I ever make it home?
Fifteen minutes. Home at last. I gather up as much as possible: papers, books, shoes, cup, purse, keys… “Momma stop! You don’t have to carry all that.”
“I know, but I can’t come back to take any more,” I protest, staggering into the house. Collapse upon the sofa. Absolute exhaustion. Finally at rest, I become conscious of how many places I hurt. Every joint is sore.
Breathe relief to be finished. “I’m sorry, hunny. We never got lunch! It is 2 o’clock.”
But, I am wrong; I did not finish! I realize I never made it to the lab!
I guess I am not a very good professional patient anymore. Hey, do you think I could get fired?
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