Sunday, November 04, 2007

Another Appointment


Another doctor’s appointment. At least it beats going to Market Basket. I arrived at the Weebles a half hour before their appointment. I ring the bell, open the door and announce at the top of my lungs, “It’s me! I’m here!”

Ma screamed for Dad to answer the door.

I yelled “I’m here!”

Again, she screams for him to answer the door.

We were in a live version of “Who’s on First?”

Dad came downstairs and told me to present myself to Ma.

She was in her room getting dressed.

“Oh, you’re here.” It sounded as if she’s surprised. As if I would forget the appointment. Maybe she was hoping I’d forget the appointment just so she wouldn’t have to go.

I go back to the living room to sit and wait.

Dad is grousing because Ma isn’t ready and we’ll be late.

I pointed out the doctor always keeps them waiting so if we’re late, it’s really no big deal. If need be, we make another appointment.

“That’s not fair to you,” he grumbled.

I shrug, and begin collecting the necessaries. I moved the walker into position. Grabbed Ma’s coat and pockabook from the closet.

Ma finally toddled out. She yelled at Dad. “You know I need help putting my shoes and socks on.”

“You should have asked.”

“Thank you very much! You know I need help putting my shoes and socks on.”

“You should have asked.

The conversation spiraled to a Burn and Schreiber routine.

“You know?”

“Yeah”

“You know?”

“Yeah?”

“You know?”

“Help.”

I tried not to laugh. I helped Ma into her coat and got to the two of them headed to the door. Got them in the car. Chug chug toot toot off we go. A half hour late for the appointment.

The parking lot is packed, and I sailed into the last handicap spot. The waiting room was filled with weebles. Dad checked them in and Ma pushed her walker to the back where the technician would draw her blood. Dad came back and had his turn.

I settled in to wait and Ma sat next to me.

The technician leaned out of her cubby.

“How are things today,” she asked.

“The same. How’s your mother?”

“She’s doing great. I just got off the phone with her.” She shrugged and gave the ‘Help me, Lord’ look.

“She sending you for more lotion?”

She laughed. “No not this time.”

Ma usually nodded off in her chair while waiting for the doctors, but she was very alert and was watching the two of us.

“So, Ma, you have your daughter with you,” smiled the tech. “She’s sitting there with valium in her back pocket.”

“No, I took it before I left the house.” We laughed and she ducked back into her cubby.

“Where do you know her mother from?”

“I don’t know her mother. Just from what she’s told me when we come here” Almost busted.

Ma was in a good mood. “Your father is so stupid. He called a plumber.”


Sometimes it’s hard for me to follow Ma’s conversation. She has forgotten that I haven’t lived under her roof in over 20 years. So she leaves out bits and pieces because she’s convinced I know the whole story. Sometimes, talking to Ma is like playing game shows. I never know whether it’s ‘To Tell the Truth, ‘What’s My Line’ or ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’. I tried to put bits and pieces of her conversation together about Dad, a leak in the basement, and the cost of the repair. Ma’s pricing system skidded to a halt during the depression.

Her eyes are round as saucers when I tell her a plumber and his helper get $100 an hour.

She told me she wanted to remodel the bathroom, but only if the contractor will do things her way. She wanted to have the tub removed and a shower installed, but she doesn’t want to replace the tile. Sounded like she asked the plumber about her idea and wasn’t happy with him. Course the remodel would have to wait until her money came in.

“All that work, and I’ll probably not live long enough to see it.”

Sad when their thoughts turned this way. “Ma, you’ll outlive all of us.”

She huddled in her chair with her own thoughts.

I turned my attention to Dad. He was having a conversation with an elderly gentleman. They were talking about the Red Sox winning the World Series. Then the conversation turned to the good old days of baseball.

“They don’t have pitchers like they used to.”

“No, they sure don’t.”

“I remember a pair of brothers. I think they pitched for St. Louis.”

“What were their names?”

“The Dean brothers,” I supplied.

“You know, the brothers,” Dad said to me.

“Yeah, Dizzy and Daffy Dean.”

“Well, I don’t remember their names, but one brother would pitch one game on Sunday. The whole game, and his brother would pitch the second of the double header.”

“Oh, yeah, I remember. What was their name?”

“Dean. Dizzy and Daffy Dean.”

“Yes, Dean!” The other gentleman smiled at me.

I smiled back. Third base!

Dad told the other gentleman how he used to go down to watch the Boston Braves play when he was a kid. He used to watch the game through a break in the fence.

“Course it’s not Braves Field anymore.”

“That’s right! What’s there now?”

“It’s part of BU. Nickerson Field,” I supplied.

“BU owns it now.”

“Nickerson Field.”

“Yes, Nickerson Field!” The other gentleman smiled at me.

I smiled back. Third base!

Finally after waiting an hour, one of the office workers calls out Dad’s first name. Dad and a gentleman further up the waiting room both got up and went to the young woman. That should teach her to use full names. The appointment wasn’t for Dad. He returned to his chair.

After an hour and a half, the Weebles were called into the examination room. A short time later they emerged. I got Ma’s coat and helped her into it while Dad waited at the reception desk to make the next appointment. The receptionist didn’t set aside her work to make Dad’s appointment. I gave the girl the evil eye.

On the counter was a pencil holder containing pens left by the drug reps. Ma and Dad each grabbed a pen. They took a pen each and every time we visit. It must be the grown up version of lollipops or the Treasure Chest at the dentist.

“Take a pen!” Ma urged me.

“No, I’ll try to keep medical expenses down.” It must cost a small fortune for the drug rep to replace the pens each month. If the drug companies didn’t have to spend so much money on advertising, drug costs wouldn’t be so high.

“Oh!” Ma exclaimed.

“What’s the matter?” I asked

“We forgot to ask the doctor about the shoes.”


The receptionist looked up. “What shoes?”

“The shoes,” Ma explained.

I’m able to translate. “She needs a form signed by the doctor so the podiatrist can send it to the insurance company so she can get orthopedic shoes.”

“Oh, just have the podiatrist send us the form.”

“Nay, nay, nay! We went through this last year,” I said. “The podiatrist’s office sent the form. Twice. The doctor never signed it and sent it back. I made 3 trips all the way from Worcester. I’m not doing that again.” Now I sounded like the martyr weeble.

“Tell them to mark it to the attention of Kath. I’ll see that it’s taken care of.”

She made the appointment for the next visit and I entered it into my PDA. Dad also needed an appointment for an echocardiogram. The test is only done on Saturday. She had an early morning appointment.

“Oh, you don’t have to take me,” Dad said. “I can walk.”

“You sure?” I had a feeling Caesar was refusing the crown three times.

“I can manage.”

“Great!”

“Oh!” Ma exclaimed again.

“What’s the matter?” I asked. I can’t believe they were in with the doctor for a half an hour and now she has questions for the doctor.

“We forgot to ask about the walker.”

The receptionist looked up. “The Walker?”

“She needs a form signed by the doctor for a walker so she can submit it to the insurance company for payment.”

The receptionist looked over the divider and looked at Ma standing there with her walker. Her walker has wheels on the front and whiffle balls to provide traction.

“She wants a walker that has handbrakes and a seat so she can sit when she gets tired.”

“What brand?”


What brand? How the hell should I know what brand! Get her a Raleigh. Make it pink. Raleigh has handbrakes. The Schwin she’s pushing now doesn’t and she has a hard time back pedaling to stop it. I try not to give the receptionist the ‘Help me, Lord’ look.

The doctor came out of the examination room and was giving instructions to another patient.

“I’ll have to ask the doctor about this.”

“You do that. In the mean time can you make a note to ask the doctor so we don’t have to stand here for another half an hour. You can give Dad the information when he comes for the EKG.”

With that settled, two and a half hours later, I herd the Weebles home. They are disappointed I can’t stay for lunch as I have to head back home to be in time to pick The Young One up from school.

“I’m afraid the doctor used up all my visiting time,” I said with I hope the right amount of sadness. It’s not that I don’t like visiting the Weebles. Sometimes it can be quite entertaining. I don’t like visiting at meal times. Dad’s culinary skills are not that polished and I didn’t have any Pepto Bismal with me.



2 comments:

Nutterone said...

I for one will miss these interactions some day... especially since I'm learning so much.

Erica Vetsch said...

LOL The Schwin? LOL Why do they do echoes only on Saturday?