Monday, February 05, 2007

All I Needed Was To Have Some X-Rays

Have you ever sat down to write a blog post and your mind is as devoid of new things to write about as it could possibly be?

That's me today.

We had to take my Mother-In-Law's van in to the mechanic because the brakes sound as if they're operating metal on metal. Not good. It gives you the creeps just to be in it and hear them and feel them.

So I know that's gonna cost a pretty penny to get fixed.

Then I went to my back surgeon's office. My back has been hurting me on a very high level lately. Quite distracting and depressing. I feel like I whine about it too much, but I really try not to say anything.

Anyway, the Doc has opened a second office in Merritt Island, Florida, and spends a couple of days up there (20 miles or so from Melbourne/Palm Bay) and a couple of days a week in Melbourne at the office where I have always seen him.

When I tried to get an appointment, he can't see me until sometime in March in Melbourne, but I can see him at the new Merritt Island office on February 12th. Not a problem, sign me up to see him in Merritt Island. I don't think I can wait until March, February 12th seems like a lifetime away as it is.

"We need you to go to the Melbourne office sometime in the week before your Merritt Island appointment," they tell me, "and have x-rays of your back done. They will send the x-rays ahead of your appointment in Merritt Island."

So this morning I go to The Back Center in Melbourne and tell the receptionist what I just told you in the last few paragraphs.

She looks at me like I have lobsters crawling out of my ears. Then she tells me to just go over to the x-ray area and they'll take care of me. I look at her dubiously, thinking to myself that they probably won't do anything without something, a call or note from "up front" before they will x-ray my back. But I say, OK, and go back to the x-ray tech guy.

I'm nothing if not a good little sheep, going where the nice sheep doggie herds me.

I explain to the x-ray tech guy what I just explained to y'all in the preceeding paragraphs, and he looks at me like either he's frustrated with me, or frustrated with the people "up front" (or both of us) and tells me that I need "to go back and get a written order from them 'up front'" before he can x-ray me.

Now I knew going into the office, that this was probably a request that would throw them off their routine, and doctor's offices are pretty inefficient operations to begin with; just too much to deal with with too few personnel. Especially on a Monday morning. So my big plan is to help them out and ease the friction before it even begins. The whole time I'm in there, I'm as sweet as a 6'2", 300pound man can look and act.

My size throws people off to begin with, and if I act aggressive or mad, then things go downhill really quick for me.

So I'm acting so sweet that sugar wouldn't melt in my mouth as my Mamaw Eunice used to say, and smiling, which hurts my face, because I only smile ,like, once a year or so, and it's keeping everyone on a busy Monday morning in the doctor's office from blowing a fuse. I tell the x-ray tech guy, "OK, I'll be right back."

He looks at me like he's thinking, "I hope not," but I ignore the look.

I go back up to the receptionist lady and tell her the x-ray tech guy needed a request or something to do the x-ray. She looks at me with the tell-tale look of someone not sure what to do. She gets up and goes over to another lady, who then comes over and I have to explain to the new lady everything I have explained here, in the above paragraphs.

She asks me, "this is for an appointment NEXT WEEK in MERRITT ISLAND?", as if I was asking for something that was outside their proverbial "job description."

"Yes Ma'am," I reply, and smile. "That's what I was instructed to do, to come here and get the x-ray this week, for my appointment up there next week."

The second lady reaches over the original lady's shoulder and taps in a bunch of stuff into the original lady's computer. The printer spits out a page, new lady looks at it, and hands it to me and says to take it back to the x-ray techs.

I thanked them both again as if they had just willingly handed me the next winning lottery ticket and headed back to the x-ray area.

Now there's a x-ray tech gal working with the original x-ray tech guy. When I walk up, she smiles and asks if she can help me. Refreshing.

I smiled and handed her my winning lottery ticket new printout. She just glances at it and says, "Oh, you need x-rays of your back and then your appointment with the doctor is up in Merritt Island. Ok, no problem."

Cool. I didn't have to go through all the stuff again that I talked about it the above paragraphs. She got all of that from information on the page I handed to her. This is a sharp employee, she's destined for greatness, I'm sure. This girl didn't go to Louisiana public schools.

"Have a seat, we'll be with you in just a minute," she says. "Thanks," I says. "No hurry," I added.

So I sit and start to look at a Field And Stream magazine. Well, it was either that or the local newspaper for senior citizens.

I hadn't quite finished the letters to the editor when she called me back to take my x-rays. I hadn't even gotten started on one fishing article! (There was a pretty picture of some deer rifles with scopes on the cover though, that was nice to look at.)

So I get my x-rays taken, lay on the table for a while longer while she develops and checks them to make sure they're ok, or that I didn't move and blur them or something, and finally tells me I can go. She gives me a paper to give the checkout lady.

I go to the checkout lady and hand her the paper and she glances over it and says, "oh, you're just here for x-rays before your appointment in Merritt Island on the 12th?" (Another 'on the ball' employee!)

"Yes Ma'am," I

"Well then, you're all taken care of. The x-rays will be sent up to that office a day or two before the 12th, alright?"

"Sounds good to me," I say in my best aw shucks, ma'am voice.

"Well, thank you and have a good day."

I smile and thank her and wish her a good day too, and head on into work.

So that's why y'all are getting a lunchtime blog post instead of my usual diligent morning posting.

Epilogue: I took two things away from my morning experience:

1. I'm surprised at how many people wrote in who were seriously mad at Field And Stream magazine because the Virginia coast didn't make their list of the top 50 places in the U.S. to fish.


2. I'm not due to smile again until at least 2013AD.

"They" say that it takes something like 15 muscles to smile, well, mine smile muscles got a workout today. But I got my x-rays done.

But my face hurts from smiling so many times in such a short period.


Hammer said...

Jeez that's why I hate doctors offices. Until they get to know you, it's hell getting information across.

Getting angry doesn't really help, like you I'm a large person and people don't respond well when I raise my voice.

My wife does it much better, but she's trained for dealing with incompetants.

Travis said...

I would have been and totally out of patience. But since I'm only 6' and about 195, I can usually get away with a little well placed sarcasm.

Incompetence makes my teeth ache.

julie said...

And myself being a little lady in stature makes up for it with a big attitude. We just can't win!