My Simultaneous Self


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   Monday, April 15, 2002  
I’ll send you my bill

“Your resting heart rate is too high,” he tells me this morning, without the slightest hint as to what that means to me in the grand scheme of things. Yeah, well maybe I’m nervous sitting there in examining room, wondering what this morning’s visit is going to reveal about my current state of health, one month since the last visit. Oh, and the fact that you, Dr. Genius, were 30 minutes late, and made me wait like an idiot with in a lobby room with the same news weeklies I read the last time I saw you. A half an hour. He made me wait for him a half an hour. I was pissed by the time he sauntered in, glanced at me (with a vague recollection of our last meeting?) and casually flipped a “Sorry, buddy,” in my general direction. I could feel the love. A half hour late, and I got to watch him check himself out in the glass doors as he made his way into the building, and futz with his hair on the way in.

Is his time that important than he can waste a half hour of mine? Is mine simple worth less than his? I was just about to get up and make a scene with his receptionist – not that there would have been anyone else to hear it, he had no other patients waiting first thing this morning, which makes me wonder – when he rounded the corner, and checked his own watch to see just how late he was. I was livid by the time it was clear I had been made to sit, and that I would miss my train – ‘make yourself comfortable’ – and then there was no sense of guilt on his part for jerking me around. I even called his office this morning to double check on the time of the appointment so that I wouldn’t be late. I’m thinking maybe I should send him an invoice for my lost time this morning. I don’t expect him to pay me back, but maybe it will serve to remind him that he should take other people’s time a little more seriously.

So should I have been calm by the time he was finally ready to see me? Should my resting heart rate have been any different than it was? This guy made meaningless small talk, and attempts to speak my language – did he really call my natural father ‘your old man’? – and then didn’t give me any new answers. Diet and Exercise. Lose weight. Uh, yeah, sure Doc, whatever you say. It was in fact the same standard one-liners he had given me a month ago. I sit at a desk and stare at a computer for the better part of one-third of my day, and he seems to be suggesting that I have a problem with discipline and self control. I mentioned to him that both of my parents have high blood pressure (the numbers there were also high – the same as before, in fact), but that didn’t seem to lead to any viable connections that I could benefit from. Turns out – and I didn’t mention this to the Doctor, because it seemed pointless at this stage – the moms has been taking high blood pressure medication since her mid-20s, and has ever since.

So the doctor did a new round of blood work, which I’m guessing is going to come back the same as it did a month ago. And now, to add to the mix, I get to have an abdominal sonogram next week. ‘I want to rule out hepatitis,’ he says to me. What? Hepa-what? Why the hell would I have hepatitis? ‘Oh, it could be low-grade and have gone undiagnosed,’ he assures me. Asshole. The blood test last month revealed elevated liver enzymes – not that high, but high enough that he wants to rule out… What? Are all doctors these days required to assume the worst, and then hope that their guesses will prove to be unfounded? That’s certainly the way it feels. So I get to have some pictures taken of my gut. That could be fun. I’ll finally know a little bit more about what my wife went through when they photographed her belly during the pregnancies. As long as I can have some copies for my scrapbook…

   posted by Jason at 4:49 PM


an open examination of a suburban 30-something man as he slogs through another day.

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