I sit in the tiny waiting room of my general practitioner's office, waiting for my long-overdue physical. Any minute they will probably hand me forms to fill out. I am surprised they haven't already. When was the last time you went to the doctor and didn't have to update your history? Certainly, I should need to for this doctor, whom I haven't seen for several years.
Since becoming a mom, I have slacked off on my doctor visits, though I make sure KFP makes it to annual check-ups, dentist cleanings and whatever else he needs.
The receptionist did just ask for my insurance card. She thought I was new, but I told her it has been several years. Still no forms.
I am stressed out. Despite the fact that my dad is a doctor (an osteopath and also a general practitioner), I always get stressed out over doctor visits. This despite the fact that, as far as I know, except for still carrying 40 pounds of pregnancy weight and still suffering from migraines, there is nothing medical wrong with me.
I know I would be better off hearing that a doctor agrees with my self-assessment, but I still hate waiting to speak to them. Perhaps this is a good time to practice mindfulness and do a little breathing. In... Out... In... Out...
I stare at a plant in front of the vertical blinds. I unfocus my mind and observe the restful clicking of someone's phone as she taps on messages, the watery muffle of traffic, the rumbling of a woman speaking on the phone to someone high-pitched and angry as she explains she sent someone to school today with three bottles of apple juice (Isn't that a lot of sugar? Notice and move on).
The vitamin and pepper smell I recognize from my father's office. Never a place to play, but one to pass through, wearing socks, after hours. He gave me three stitches once for a cut I got on my elbow, slipping past barbed wire to meet a friend's horse. My brother marveled at the large curved needle, but I looked away and felt nothing after the anaesthetic. Dad explained he had to leave the stitches loose because my arm needed to bend, so the scar is larger than it might have been. I am proud of my smooth, eliptical scar; it reminds me of my father's gentleness and his practical care.
The waiting room is now full, and it is 20 minutes past my appointment time. A sign on the door says appointments will take as long as a patient needs. Breathe.... In... Out... In... Out...
I woke up with a headache. Stress. I also had one the first couple days of seeing KFP off to kindergarten and the first day picking my son's friend up from his bus stop to babysit him. The headaches went away when everything went well.
Everyone looks down, at phones, pamphlets, magazines. A man enters, wearing an oversized family reunion T-shirt and carrying two gallon bags crammed full of medication bottles. Did the shirt used to fit?
It has been 40 minutes. I used to have to wait this long at the opthalmologist. So many people, reading with special lenses or magnifying glasses. I must leave in 20 minutes to pick KFP up at his bus stop. Hence the stress headache.
Another patient goes down the hallway. I wait and try to remember to breathe. Someone coughs a mucousy cough. I am glad I took the inconvenient chair near the door, further away. I think I am next.
If must, I could drive to the bus stop. A couple parents do.
The woman next to me fingers letters on a periodical she brought: "Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you." (Is she praying?)
In... Out... In... Out...