Today was rather surreal. Well, at least part of it. Two things happened, one with more eventual impact than the other.
First up, Partner and I share the same primary care physician. Said physician recently changed both his office location and his medical-group affiliation. We both like him, for the most part (there have been a few quibbles) and, more importantly, we’ve been going to him for a long time and he knows all of our creaks and complaints and phobias (He can walk into the exam room where I am huddled on the crinkly paper, take one look at my face, and instantly adjust all of my prescriptions in just the right way.)
This last bit is critical. It takes a long time to get a doctor fully versed on what makes you tick and how you like to handle the things that aren’t ticking correctly. It’s a learning process, on both ends of the curve. Eventually, there is harmony and mutual respect and no quibbling about what medications you may or may not need and whether or not you’re actually going to exercise or stop eating red meat. We have traveled that journey with this doctor, and the sun shines brightly on our relationship, wherein we both know that each of us is lying a smidge, but it’s all good and there is peace.
Naturally, when the good doctor announced his move, we both decided to follow his pied piping, faithful member of his flock that we are. (Partner took a bit longer to get there, as it’s his nature to analyze everything from 47 different angles and call his sister for consultation at least 3 times, but get there he did.) Trouble is, our theoretically “private and confidential” records are now trapped within the crinkly confines of Ye Olde Emporium. Doctor Piper cannot simply take them with him to his new sterile exam rooms, for perfectly understandable legal reasons. We have to choreograph this dance ourselves. Yay!
Partner made his opening chess move by calling the “old” office. I could only hear his end of the conversation and, to be honest, I really wasn’t listening all that well as I was invested in playing a game on my Kindle, one of those pointless but addictive time-traps that require a huge life investment just to move a fraction of an inch forward in the story. (Raise your hand if you share said shame.) Turns out we had two options if we wanted to follow the renegade doctor to his traitorous location further south in the metroplex.
We could go to the “new” office, where nobody knows our name, convince the staff that we had some degree of value, further convince them to fax a records request to the “old” office, after which the “old” office would then contact us to confirm our desire to depart (but don’t they already know that based on this phone call?), and upon receiving the confirmation the “old” office would then (apparently with dramatic reluctance) do something or other that would allow startling photos from my colonoscopy to breach the vindictive barriers between medical groups.
OR, we could just go to the “old” office and fill out a form that would bypass most of the drama and accomplish the same goal.
I think it’s clear which foreplay option seemed the most satisfying to me.
We hopped in the car and headed to the “old” office. And this is where the Covid Complications kicked in with high-level annoyance. We are no longer allowed to actually walk into the office, as if I don’t have the right to do so after the huge amounts of money my insurance provider has sent said office over the last decade or so. Nope, we must huddle in the tiny lobby of the building, outcast and unclean, wherein a sign has been posted. Said sign makes it clear that if we don’t have an appointment, we will essentially be shot the very second we try to open the door. (It’s Texas, these things happen.)
If we insist on interacting with the office staff despite our woeful lack of planning by not making an appointment, then we should press this little button over here and somebody will eventually get around to determining if our presence is warranted in any way.
Hours later, an unimpressed and masked woman we have never seen before, despite years of frequenting this establishment, opened the door, glaring at us as if we were personally responsible for the fact that she did not make the cheerleading squad in 1982. “What?”
She did not seem to care for our intrusion explanation. (Why should she care? Our hefty insurance payouts were about to be directed to a different obscure bank account in the Cayman Islands.)
We explained again.
Finally, she acknowledged that we might have some small degree of jurisdiction over our own medical records and she scampered off to find the appropriate mystical forms. Hours later, she presented them to us. “Fill out the sections that I have highlighted.” (Oh, does she have some small degree of heart after all?) Then she ran away, mildly slamming The Door Which Must Not Be Breached Without An Appointment. (Okay, maybe not so much heart.) She didn’t give us a pen to write with nor a clipboard upon which to write, and I know they have tons of clipboards because they were constantly shoving them at me back when I was still a member of their cult.
Partner suggested we retire to my RAV4 so we could locate a pen and do due diligence with said forms. That was fine with me, until we were ensconced in said vehicle. Partner found a pen and easily completed his asylum application. Of course he did. He has terrific penmanship, and his annotations are crystal clear even if he scribbled his words whilst hanging upside down on a rope poised over a tank of sharks. Me, on the other hand? I lost the skill of legible writing somewhere in my 40s. I have to really focus on my work, and I can’t do that if forced to wordsmith on the dashboard of a RAV4.
“I’ll have to fill this out at home. You write better than me.” (Translation: “It would be swell if you could fill this out for me.”)
The translation was not received as intended. Harsh words were spoken, and we ended up driving to the casa in silence, where I quickly filled out the form at the kitchen table, mere seconds after my arrival. (In hindsight, perhaps I made much ado about nothing. It wouldn’t be the first time.) More seconds later, we were back in the car and rumbling toward the “old” office. Since the mess was basically mine at this point, I left Partner in the car and trotted toward the building with our forms.
Along the way, I spied an elderly woman who was slowly making her way to the same door. I held said door open whilst she ambled, as I could be her in a few years. We exchanged pleasantries, after which she tottered into a dentist’s office across the hall from my former doctor’s office. I could hear a hearty welcome from the dental staff as that door swung shut. Apparently, she was very popular. Good for her.
I approached my own destination door and pressed the button indicating I was not on the day’s schedule.
I waited a bit. After all, there might be something urgent happening within that might temporarily negate the need to be prompt with button pushers. Then I pressed again.
We were on the verge of me doing something I would later regret, such as banging on the button until the police arrived, guns drawn, with me appearing on YouTube in an unfortunate video entitled “Gays Gone Wild”. I glanced out the glass of the lobby door, checking on the impatience level of Partner in my RAV4. Based on his distant body actions (you learn these things after decades of being together) he was contentedly doing something or other on his phone that involved Facebook. Good. We were not at critical mass, not yet.
I pushed the button again. Just a tap.
The door immediately flew open, courtesy of the same masked and disappointed near-cheerleader from before. “What?”
“I have the forms that-”
“Good. You finally filled them out.” She snatched said forms from my hands and slammed the door again.
I have a feeling that this chess match is far from over…
To be continued…
Categories: My Life