Wednesday, July 4

Little Old Lady

The computer screen shows an ekg. The phone rings and a woman answers. She sounds frail, old and intimidated. The technology she holds and wears is unfamiliar and the technician who is on the other end of the line is indifferent.

Earlier today she felt a "flutter" in her chest while riding a crowded bus and it scared her. She lives by herself and she couldn't help but wonder what she would do if this happened when she was home.  She finds herself afraid much more often now since her husband of 50 years died.

She called her doctor's office and they made an appointment for her immediately. Everyone on the bus said she should go straight to he ER because they were scared for her but she wanter to see HER doctor not a stranger in an overcrowded ER.

She changed her plans and continued on the bus until she arrived at her doctor's office. As she walked into the non-assuming building she felt much calmer and she even looked forward to seeing someone she new would listen.

The receptionist seen her coming and rolled her eyes as she spoke under her breath "I don't have time for this."

As the glass door opened the lady behind the counter curtly explained that she should sign in and because she was a "call in" it would be a while before anyone could see her.

The frail lady stepped into a crowded waiting room and sat down. An obese lady sitting next to her coughs and looks uncomfortable in the small seat. A small child walks by wiping his nose on his shirt while his mother grabs him by the arm and scolds him for not "acting sick."

The needy continue to file through the door and briefly pass the sliding glass window and continue to their seat, to wait.

"Ms Big Pants" the nurse calls and the obese lady stands, coughs loudly, and slowly makes her way through another door where she expects to feel better.

"I've never waited this long before" the little lady thinks but she still is confident in the fact that her doctor will be there to comfort her and tell her she is going to be ok.

Finally, a nurse steps out and calls her name. She stands, shaky, and walks through the door into a white, quiet hall that has several generic wooden doors. The nurse stops, opens a door, and ask her to have a seat on the table. The nurse takes her blood pressure and pulse then walks out. No one has spoken.

A nurse practitioner opens the door and begins to speak. She takes a history and asks questions while she types on her laptop. Little old lady tells her story and the NP leaves the room while the lady waits for her doctor.

A technician enters the white room with a picture of a beach hanging on the wall. The tech puts one of a thousand heart monitors on the old lady and explains that she should call the number written on the front of the monitor and ask them what to do next.

He turns and shows the lady the way out. "Don't forget to stop and pay your co-pay on the way out" he instructs and opens another generic wooden door disappearing into the white.

Fifty dollars later she steps out into the street with no purpose. Luckily, it is only  July 3rd and she has a few more dollars in her pocket to get her home. She takes the bus because there is no one to call.

The monitor she is wearing begins to beep and she remembered that she was supposed to call the number on the front of it and decides to as soon as she gets home.

"I wonder where my doctor was today" she thought. Disappointed and looking for someone to speak with, she begins to look forward to calling this number in hopes of speaking with someone that will explain why she couldn't see her doctor today.

The bus drops her off and she steps onto her yard and into her home.

she picks up the phone and calls the number and begins to ask the person on the other end why she didn't she HER doctor today. Before she can finish the question the technician explains that they don't work for her doctor and they don't have a clue why?

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