September 7, 2012, 10:21 PM Friday
Today I went to see the doctor for the purposes of obtaining a note of authorization for the acquisition of my hearing aids. Other episodes of human interaction occurred in circumference of this event.
First I went to the grocery store. In this particular case, I actually did not interact with a human being. I pushed the cart around the store, grabbing some fresh produce for making salads, along with a few of bottles of salad dressing and an energy drink; then I went to the self-check-out to pay for my goods. Life rolled along perfectly during these moments, albeit, by myself as I usually am. Realizing I still had some time before the appointment, and since Target is in the same shopping center, I went immediately afterwards to purchase a dress shirt and a wireless keypad. The dress shirts were too expensive, but I did pick up the keypad, which happened to be on sale. At the time of purchase, a thin bearded man with thick brown glasses and wearing a sordid, puffy looking baseball cap was working the register. He’d been pointedly facing away from the incoming customers as he helped the man before me. When it was my turn, he asked me if I wanted a bag for my item, to which I declined. Our eyes never met. As I walked away, I heard him address the next customer with a friendly remark. She was a woman with a cart full of products, and I noted how he sought to make eye contact with her.
Next I went to the doctor’s office. I was early, so I read from a book I’d been keeping in my car for years, yet still haven’t finished: O.S. Card’s Xenocide. In time, a Mexican family parked directly next to me, and I realized my appointment time had arrived. Before checking in, I went to the bathroom, where a woman came out of the men’s bathroom laughing, realizing she’d gone into the wrong one. Our eyes made contact, and I remarked how I’d done something similar in the past.
Afterwards, I went to check in, where the receptionist told me I was in the wrong sector. With a point of the finger, I was directed to the correct area, where a young woman spoke extremely softly as she checked me in, and I told her I had no idea what she was saying. She finally asked me to sit down. While waiting, the entire room, with the varying receptionists and a few of the patients, it seemed to burst in a roar of Spanish-speaking activity. When my time finally arrived, I was marveled by the fact that, for the first time ever, a doctor’s assistant called my name at EXACTLY the time of my appointment: 10:45 AM! She weighed me, where I realized the clinic scale was inconsistent with the scale I have at home; an extra seven pounds was added. Inside the examination room, I then explained to her the nature of my visit, including an explanation of some back pain I’d been experiencing. She nodded, taking my blood pressure, where the issue of how high it was became the subject of discussion. I told her about my endeavors to fix the problem, she nodded, and soon I was alone in the room. Getting antsy about waiting, I looked at yet a different scale which was in the room and decided to weigh myself to pass the time. This particular scale was inconsistent with the one in the hallway, off by minus a few pounds. I was embarrassed as the doctor entered at that very moment, almost hitting me with the door. He introduced himself and we began the doctor-to-patient exchange. I embarrassed myself again when, ever so slightly, I disparaged him for suggesting my hearing loss was due to a bit of dryness in my ears.
“My hearing loss has been lifetime,” I barked. “I suffered nerve damage at birth.”
That I did this was rapidly overlooked between us, and realizing my behavior, I adjusted accordingly, and we ended up having quite a discussion. The man was tall and thin, with short and bushy, hazelnut-colored hair. He had a youthful manner about him, was very friendly, and was more than willing to write the note that I desperately needed to finally, after all these years, get my hearing aids. In addition, he prescribed medication for back pain and blood pressure.
I immediately drove north to hand-deliver the note to my worker. Before actually delivering the note, I went to make a photocopy. Around the corner, Barnes & Noble didn’t have a copy machine, but while I was there, I bought Du Maurier and Setterfield. An old man cut me off at the register, as though I were a ghost.
“I’m retired,” he stated after realizing what he’d done, after I mentioned that it appeared as though he were in a hurry.
I then strolled but a few steps down the mildly crowded, Santa Rosa downtown area to Kinko’s, and smiled at the elegant-looking printer lady as I received the photocopy I so desired. After leaving, a woman sitting with her baby in front of a polished, coffee shop window, she hit me up for some “spare change.”
“I hope you don’t mind dimes,” I said, reaching into my pocket. She gave me a quizzical look, as though I was supposed to be handing her a twenty dollar bill.
At the state building, I rode the elevator up four stories and conducted the doctor’s note straight to the suite where my worker must have been working, somewhere behind the wall of thick plexiglass that keeps us recipients from rampaging against the machine.
“Is your name on it?” asked the receptionist, a short persnickety Asian woman.
“Yes, it’s right there,” I replied, pointing to the top of the page. “Would you like me to highlight it?”
“No,” she said, so I turned around and went back down the elevator.
Now the time arose for me to pick up the medication. Back in town, at the pharmacy, a customer occupied the drop-off window, evidently contending with some issue in a grouchy manner. Glad that’s not me, I thought. When my turn came, the pharmacy associate, he peered at me with satanic eyes:
“Uhm, is there another insurance card you might have? This one here’s not working.”
So much for not having an issue. I burst in a minor tantrum, then drove home. I’d known about another insurance card I had laying on my table, but I never knew exactly how it was all supposed to work. For the entire time previous, I kept a different card in my wallet, thinking I had the correct one. Returning to the drop-off window, I apologized to the satanic looking man, remarking that I was essentially illiterate about the whole health industry process. He was fine, acting as though my behavior had been something of the sort he dealt with throughout the entirety of his days.
While waiting for the prescriptions to be filled, I enjoyed the sun amid a short saunter to Safeway to get some lunch, looking forward to some fresh Mac-n-Cheese; but they didn’t have any that day. I decided to have lunch somewhere else and prepared to leave. Outside, directly by the automatic doors, by the payphones, a young, thin man with close-cropped dark hair and wearing a gray t-shirt, he asked me if I could lend him my cell phone. The look on the face of the girl he was with was positively malign. I was in the process of stepping off the curb and neglected to answer him. Immediately I heard him grumble:
“Yeah, fuck off you asshole.”
I was in the middle of the street where the cars drift back and forth in front of the store when I turned around.
“What did you call me?”
The young man repeated the verbal gesture, replete with an added mouthful of hate and scorn. I felt the hair on my head rising and curiously, I suddenly said, “Fuck you” while raising my middle finger. At this point, I realized my day had become something of a carnival, so I calmly came to my senses while subsequently refusing to participate any further in any more of this mental nonsense, my own or that of another’s. I continued to hear the poor young man’s foul mouth fill the air with pleasantries, and as I got to my car, I pretended to call the police. The angry couple must have taken note, for they began to walk from their spot by the payphone in a rather hurried manner.
Returning to the pharmacy, at the pick-up counter, I diligently informed the nice lady that I would not need a pharmacist’s explanation for my medications, for the mere fact that I research all prescriptions online before I even take them.
“Good for you,” she said with a stern look. “You’d be surprised how many people just take whatever the doctor gives them.”
“You’d be surprised by what’s in the stuff the doctor gives them,” I replied with as much intellect and dignity as I could muster. She smiled, and I smiled, and our interaction ended as perfectly as anyone could imagine.
For the hearing aids, I anticipate an email from the audiologist sometime during the next few weeks. As for the medications, the blood pressure meds I refuse to take, as I know how to monitor and deal with my blood pressure in my own ways; the back pain meds are a different story.
The phenomenon I’ve been experiencing over the past few years, is that doctors/nurse-practitioners will not prescribe anything that comes close to being addicting. For this reason, for example, I received on two different occasions, anti-depressants as a sleep aid, which absolutely do not work; yet I can’t get the “real thing” because of modern-day health care paranoia. I have other anti-depressants if I need them, and I don’t use them for sleep! For the back pain, I received something that is supposed to resemble a muscle relaxant; but since the chemicals are all synthetic and manufactured to be “kind of like” medicine, they don’t really work. Just like the anti-depressants prescribed for sleep, the phony meds for alleviating back pain do not work either.
As for the human interactions I experienced, what can I say? I possess behavioral anomalies consistent with my upbringing and past just like anyone else. So what does that make everyone think of me now?