I was coaxed into getting a physical recently. I hadn’t planned on a physical, but the grands had set up an elaborate city in the basement and needed patients for the clinic.
I was met by a “nurse practitioner” at the front desk. She immediately asked for my insurance card. The kid’s been to the doctor a time or two.
Then I had to verify my name and address. I’ve been her grandmother for her entire life, but whatever.
She did a pre-screening asking if I had any aches or pains.
“From my head to my toes,” I said.
She laughed. I laughed, too. Say that at a real doctor’s office, and you’re off to see a specialist.
She asked if I was on any medications.
“Chocolate,” I said.
With the screening completed, I was sent to see the doctor, which meant crawling between two chairs and into a makeshift tent. The doctor was wearing a white coat and had a blue plastic stethoscope dangling around her neck.
“How are your internal organs?” she asked with a straight face.
“They’re all good except when they hit the wrong notes.”
She rolled her eyes.
“Do you have dizzy spells?” she asked.
“No, not unless I stand up,” I said.
She pursed her lips and said, “I’ll take that as a yes.”
She took my blood pressure with a cuff wrapped around my wrist — it was too small for an adult arm. She said my blood pressure was 40/10. I was good with that. She scanned my forehead with a plastic thermometer and said I had no fever. Just as I was about to crawl out of the clinic, she announced I needed a shot.
That’s when a huge geodome-like contraption made of long plastic poles and colored balls began lumbering across the basement. Three of them maneuvered it to the “clinic.” The doctor busted out a side wall of the tent, so she could use one of the poles.
“What’s that for?” I asked.
“Why do I need anesthesia?”
“Because we’re going to give you a shot.”
“Why give anesthesia when it’s not surgery and just a shot?”
She pressed the end of a pole against my arm and said, “Well, if we give you anesthesia then we won’t have to listen to you scream when we give you the shot.”
When I checked out, they said I owed $300. I didn’t mind, considering I’d found $500 in play money on the floor by the cardboard grocery store. It was the only time I’ve ever been to a doctor and left with more money than I came with.
Later that night, I asked the husband if he got a physical.
He said yes; they asked him to fall on the stairs on his way down to the basement clinic and break his leg so they’d have something to treat.
There’s something to be said for knowing what the doctor plans on doing before the appointment.
We may have found our new primary care physician.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.