The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

I Cried, I Laughed


I had two appointments yesterday—the doctor and the hairdresser. I walked into the doctor’s office to check-in. The receptionist scanned the appointment register and said, “I don’t have you here.” Then she found me at 2:45 PM. Uh-oh. I should be checking in at the hairdresser now instead of here.

“I’ll be back later.”

I drove to the hairdresser only a few blocks away and waited. My hairdresser is great. She is an artist….and a great listener. She remembers my story, and I have more to add to the story today. She made some faces of incredulity as I added to my story. Then I asked her about her kids and Christmas. I don’t just talk; I listen to her. Admittedly, she knows more intimate details of my life, than I hers. But still I know things about her. She is a good mother and the ultimate hairdresser. I would drive miles to see her.

After taking her advice to stick to my idea of growing my hair a bit for just another couple of haircuts, I returned to my doctor. The receptionist checked me in and asked if I had a Medicare card to scan. Then she handed me a two-page questionnaire. I sat down and started checking off the answers to questions like:  Do I need help to dress? Why would I? It might be exciting to have some man help me dress or luxurious to be so rich I had a personal maid to help me dress. But no, I am capable of dressing myself. The questions continued asking about my abilities to take care of my physical and mental needs. How old did they think I was? The answer: old enough for Medicare.

Next the doctor’s assistant brought me a questionnaire and promised a reward if I completed it. Why not? I needed a reward. So I sat there answering questions about how I felt and how my drug was working. When I handed my paperwork to the receptionist, she said about that promise-of-a-reward-questionnaire, “I don’t know why he gave you this.” For the reward, of course.

I sat and waited in the cold waiting room for my appointment. Usually my doctor was right on point getting patients back into an exam room. Finally, an assistant came for me apologizing for my wait. I hopped on the scale, and despite my hairdresser telling me that I looked thinner, the scale reported otherwise. No gain, no loss. Holding steady. I sat down in the room, and the assistant took my BP and pulse. Then he said he needed to do an EKG. What? Why? He said this was my “Welcome to Medicare” visit. Somehow that news did not make me feel good, instead the opposite. Are they trying to deliberately make me feel old today with the possibilities that at any time soon, my body was going to start breaking down? I already knew that without being reminded. The assistant asked if I minded if he did the EKG? Why should I? I think he asked because he is a man and I am a woman, and he was going to be placing little stickies on my boobs. He should know that my doctor is also a man. But this assistant is very young and quite sweet really as he awkwardly made conversation with me.

Finally, my doctor came in. I like this man and would drive miles to see him. He told me he had asked that assistant leaving the room why he had the EKG machine.

“She’s not 65,” he said to him. “I guess that was a compliment,” he said to me. Yes, that was a compliment. It never gets old hearing that when I tell people how old I am. Thank you mother, and thank you grandma. I know it was their genes rather than my father’s that makes me look younger than my years.

We talked. He knew my story too and always remembered it. I started to cry. I hate that. Then we talked some more, and I was laughing. It felt good to talk to someone today. He gave me some advice, not medical. What started out as this pain-in-the-ass “Welcome to Medicare” visit ended well. And I was $15 richer for answering some questions. The day that started down, ended up. So, if someone quotes that adage, “This too shall pass.” It will. Just wait for it!



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