I went to a doctor’s office appointment and got a dose of reality.
It was my seventh appointment in a two-week-span. None of the visits were for me. All of them were as chauffeur, secretary and loyal daughter to my 82-year-old father, who actually enjoys doctor visits.
We went to this appointment on a Thursday afternoon. My father scheduled the visit. He said he had something important he wanted to ask. I trusted him and rearranged my schedule to take him.
At this visit we were to be seen by Steve, a physician’s assistant whom I had seen with my father before. He was a no-nonsense guy. I liked him. But not knowing what the mystery question on my father’s mind was, I did not know what to expect.
After the usual blood pressure reading of “too high” and a weight check that resulted in the nurse peering over her glasses and saying “You’ve gained,” we were seen by Steve.
Steve greeted my father pleasantly and inquired about his level of pain on a scale of one to 10. My father replied it was a “six.” Steve was thoughtful. He looked at the chart. “You have been a six for the last year, so that’s good,” he said.
And then came the question, “Why are you here today?”
I leaned in closely preparing to hear a question that would result in more appointments and tests.
“Well, I want to know, why in the morning, after I eat my Cheerios, my stomach gurgles?” said my father.
Steve looked at me.
“Do you want to handle the answer to this?” he said.
“Your house is too quiet. Turn on the stereo,” I said.
Steve concurred with my diagnosis.
He gently told my father that everyone has a noisy stomach from time to time.
“Well I have another question,” said my father as if he needed to redeem himself from the first one.
“What are you going to do about my blood pressure?” he asked.
“Nothing,” came the reply.
“I am not going to do a thing. You have enough medicine and you have been told to lose weight.”
Steve went on to tell my father an interesting point. He lectured him on the consequences of overeating and not taking care of himself. And then he said something remarkable.
“You know, everything has consequences, but in your case, the consequences don’t just affect you. They affect your daughter,” he said.
He reminded my father about my scheduling, driving and handling the medications and the recent round of tests, all negative.
“One more thing,” my father said.
“Sure,” said Steve.
“Can you recommend someone who will check my hearing. I don’t think I have heard half of what you said.”
And so, the next round of appointments begins.