Yesterday was Inova Clinic Day. That’s the day every three months when I get to:
- Walk 6 minutes up and down a hallway while a nurse monitors my heart rate, oxygen saturation, and unofficially, my disposition. Plus counts how long I stop and lean up against a wall and pant. But tries not to be too judgy. Depending on the nurse.
- They alternate options so I do one of each every six months. Either have an echocardiogram or blow into a bunch of tubes for a long, long time, better known as pulmonary function tests. In the biz we refer to these as PFTs.
- Wait. And wait some more, followed by waiting.
- Wait some more and wonder why I didn’t bring a snack.
- Eavesdrop on other waiting patients and try to glean blog material. Also see what kind of snack they brought. Wonder why people aren’t friendlier and can’t be bothered to offer me half of their sandwich.
- Spend 15 minutes with a nurse going over everything they already know, like what meds I take, while she busily types away into the computer system. For all I know she is typing “I am so freakin’ bored right now,” but it certainly looks official.
- See the doctor for approximately 12 minutes.
- Wait at front desk approximately 22 minutes to make my next appointment.
- Go to the Heart Healthy Café for lunch in the hopes they have something delicious. Settle for a salad and small cup of ice water.
- Leave hungry and grumpy.
But yesterday set an all time record for waiting. Even for them. My walk and PFT were scheduled for 8:30. I arrived at 8:05 and was finally taken back at 8:50. We finished up at 9:45, perfect for my 10:00 appointment. I checked in upstairs at 9:50. On a “normal” day, I would be taken back to the exam room at 10:30ish, seen by the nurse at 10:45ish, and seen by the doctor at 11:15ish.
Yesterday, the clock just kept ticking away. I watched all the tributes to Prince on the big TV in the waiting area. Then I watched more tributes. Then I eavesdropped on people having really boring conversations about their own medical conditions, which are way less captivating than my own. Finally at 11:15, I asked the front desk if something was wrong. The woman called to the back, said “Uh huh. Right. Uh huh. Yes. I will tell her” then looked at me and said they were running behind. At least that mystery was solved.
Finally, at 11:45, they called me back. The nurse apologized profusely and I smiled and said it was no problem because, trust me, you want to stay in the good graces of the staff.
Then I sat and looked around the room, in which sadly, there is nothing to look at.
The doctor came in around 12:15 and said she couldn’t believe I had been waiting more than two hours. I told her that made two of us! Then I told her she is worth the wait, because she is. And because I want to be her most favoritest patient ever, because I’m insecure in her true love for me. We chatted for a few minutes about the results of my PFTs, my meds, and my recent overdose, which she found impressive. She listened to my heart and lungs and checked my legs for edema. She shocked me by telling me for now we are not changing anything. No titrating up, down or sideways. No changes. Epic.
Then she complimented me on my hair. A lot. She even asked me how I get it looking like that, etc. I preened and silently congratulated myself on my excellent hair finishing. I flipped my hair dramatically a couple of times.
And that was that. I waited forever at the front desk to schedule my next appointment, but managed to snag one on a decent day at a decent hour. I went up to the lame salad bar and had a crappy salad and promised myself that next time I will bring a really good snack. And I will eat it in the waiting room and not offer anyone so much as a sniff of it. And I will wait quietly for hours, or even days if necessary, to see the doctor again.
And although it will be August, and an uphill battle at best, I will spend lots and lots of time on my hair that morning. Because I’ve already won the award for Best Hair, and I finally have my big shot at being Most Beloved Patient. It’s good to have goals.