Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Doctor Next Door

There's a world-renowned (well, city-renowned, but if he keeps at it, I'm sure the world will follow) pill-pusher with a PHD (one of those that pass as a 'doctor', officially, but probably hasn't provided anyone with useful information in decades) that runs his operation a block away from my place, and I was in dire need of asthma medication for my upcoming weekend getaway up North, and I didn't feel like going to a hospital just for a prescription, so I went...

I'm used to hearing about ''people waiting for hours in line to get to see a doctor'', especially now that Barack Obama wants to provide his citizens with decent health care and opponents mention the ''Canadian plan as being such a failure'' in that field, so I decided to get there half an hour before it opens, just so I'm among the first thousand in line. Turns out I'm alone, and the door is locked. So far, it seems normal enough.

The clinic is situated on the second floor of an apartment building that stands above a pharmacy - a drug store. Its main door shares the floor with 4 others - at this point I'm guessing they're housing, not commerces. I guess right, because from one door comes the secretary to unlock the clinic and lead me in.

Looking at my MediCare card, she asks if I've ever been to the clinic before. ''Yes, a few times'', I answer.

- And the last time?
- I don't know, 3, maybe 4 years.
- More 3, or more, 4, because we don't store those files in the same place.
- I don't know, maybe 4.

She's looking nervous, as more people start entering the premises. ''Could it be 5 years?''

- Well, yeah, I guess it could be five years. All I know is the last time I came in was the last time I felt ill enough to warrant a visit to a doctor, but also healthy enough to be able to make the walk here. When my back broke down on me, for example, I couldn't even walk to the washroom, let alone come all the way here...

''Well'', she replies, ''when patients don't come for 5 years or more, we send their files out to storing and have to create new ones''. While I'm thinking this isn't the most efficient way to deal with things, I try to telepathically tell her that, really, writing my name, address and phone number on a piece of loose leaf paper isn't all that much more work than asking me if I still live at the same place - which she would have done anyway. The Twilight Zone had now officially been entered.

I'll spare you the extra small talk and skip right to the meeting with the doctor, 5 minutes later...

- So you're a new patient here? Your file is blank...
- No, actually, I was last here 5 years ago when you diagnosed me with asthma, which is sort of the reason why I'm here today, but your staff throw files away after that long because they don't like healthy people...
- Ah, yes, that policy to save paper room...
- Yes, instead of storing everything on hard drives and modern technology and saving both paper and storage room...
- So why are you here?
- Well, doctor, I'm going on a weekend retreat and didn't want to take any chances, I figured I should bring meds in case I have an attack.
- Wise, indeed. Why don't you sit here (leads me to a table). Breathe deeply.

There I am, sitting on the chair with the paper on it, thinking ''oh my God, I may have been wrong, this guy is about to do his job''... when he stops and says ''ok, so what meds do you want?''

Didn't even check my ears, didn't ask me to say ''ahhh'', didn't take my blood pressure, didn't hit my fucking knee with a tiny hammer, nothing.

I was so shocked that I sat back on his chair, wanting more. So I said the first thing that came to mind: ''uh, doc... there's something else... my, uh, erections... they're not as hard as they used to be...''

He looks at me like he knows I just want to have a blast all weekend long and asks ''do you drink a lot?, do you get nervous, or anxious''

- Well, I drink, yeah, as a musician, there's free beer whenever I play...
- How many per night?
- It's not every night per se, but maybe 12 to 15 beers a week?
- And do you get nervous?
- Only when I'm about to get it on and it isn't as long and hard as it used to be, doesn't reach my knee anymore or anything, although my balls do, now...
- Tell you what, you go have your relaxing weekend, try to have sex without drinking beforehand and come back next week and tell me all about it. If you still can't get as hard as before, we'll run tests and we'll see...''

At least he'll run tests. Probably cup my balls and ask me to breathe deeply or something, but it's a start, just not the start I'm looking forward to. I'll just forget about it.


Gray said...


Got to love doctors like that!

Hope the weekend turned out well for you!

Sébastian Hell said...

Yes, everything that was supposed to be fun was pleasant enough.

But neither the living quarters nor the description of the neighbourhood were accurate. We expected a private beach house for three couples with our own piece of a lake and no neighbours.

We were in a semi-detached building on a busy street with the landlord living in the basement - and no beach in sight.

As a matter of fact, the beach was a 10-minute walk away. Not that I don't need or appreciate the exercise, but it was the municipal beach, shared by the whole town, with a lifeguard (good) and opening-closing hours (bad), and all in all the area we were allowed to swim in was roughly 40 feet by 60 - terrible and tiny.

But things pertaining to the house, its porch, and the people in it that came along with me - all that was mighty fine.