Thursday, December 30, 2004

I hate doctors.
Not that they aren't useful when I need them, nor do I hate people I know who are doctors, nor do I hate the people themselves in the world that are doctors. If you are a doctor, I am happy for you and I'm sure you and I could be friends. But all in all, I find it an annoying profession.

Today I went to the doctor. I am not sick. Nor did I think I was sick. Nor did the doctor-office-people think I was sick when I called for an appointment. But, my refills on a prescription I take regularly ran out, and the pharmacist and my doctor conspired against me by refusing to give me any more of my drugs until I go see the doctor again.

Or, as I hear it in my head, until I take a morning from work, drive across town to his office, and give him money to tell me I'm still fine and write his name on a piece of paper that tells the pharmacist to give me my drugs.

A month or so ago when I tried to refill my prescription and they wouldn't let me, I was told to go see my doctor to get another prescription. So, I forgot about it for a month, hoping I could get by without it. I decided I can't. And the doctor knows this. It's part of his scheme to keep me coming.

So, last week I finally call to make an appointment and I'm told he is booked until March. MARCH. Um, I just need a prescription. I'm fine not seeing him til March, or ever. It's not him I really want to see. But I am not fine doing without my drugs until March, when it is convenient for him to see me to tell me I'm fine. I remind them that I am not actually sick, and the purpose of my call is just to get my drugs that I've been taking daily for the past several years. The appointment-making-person tells me the nurse will call me back and we'll figure something out.

Ok then.

The nurse calls later and says, yes, I do have to see a doctor to get the prescription, but I can see another doctor in the office. Really? This counts? Then I'm all for it. Whatever I need to do and whoever I can see to get my drugs before March. She books me with another doctor for today.

THEN she tells me that I will need to arrive 20 minutes early to fill out New Patient paperwork, since it's been over a year since they've seen me. Um... what? New patient? Check my chart, please. It's the thick one they usually have to wheel in on a cart of its own. I visited that office every week for three years to get allergy shots. During that time everyone in the office knew who I was by name when they saw me arrive. I've been going there for so long that all of those people have since left, and they have completely remodeled the office and replaced the familiar people with new Pod People who don't know me. I've spent enough money on co-pays there to put at least several of my doctor's kids through college, a few times. I am CERTAINLY not a new patient! I scoff at this paperwork.

At least call it 'Patient We Haven't Seen in Awhile and Miss Dearly' paperwork.

Nevertheless, the nurse insisted I would have to fill out the paperwork again. There was no talking her out of it.


Today I happen to be off from work, which means I have time to see the doctor. But it also means I have to waste part of a perfectly good sleeping-in day to go down to his office. It's across town. Bugger again.

So, I drive there. It takes 20-ish minutes. I park in the lot where I have to ride the shuttle to the building where his office is. It's a familiar routine. One that I do not miss, and am annoyed to have to do again today.

I arrive 25 minutes early, much to my dismay. I had debated the actual truth to the need for a 20 minute early arrival. Clearly this new nurse does not know who I am, because if she did she would know that I am quicker than most people at menial things, like paperwork. I know this about myself. So this morning I have the debate about whether I really need those 20 minutes, or if I can do the paperwork in say... 10 minutes. I've done the paperwork before, and it's not like anything has changed. I don't have any new diseases to report.

Finally I leave the house, and end up getting there way too early at 25 minutes before my appointment. BUGGER. I could have slept for at least 10 more minutes this morning.

I fill out this paperwork in 7 minutes flat, and then sit. And wait. Finally a large man-nurse comes to retrieve me from my waiting, and he takes me to the next little room. Where I am weighed. And my blood pressure is taken. All as though I've never been there before. When the truth is that I've been there so many times, I could do all of this myself.

The large man-nurse comments as he looks through the 108 gazillion pages of my Monster Chart, "Oh, I see you've met Barbara." Yes, I've met Barbara. She was the nurse who gave me my allergy shots every week for much of the three years I came for allergy shots. I've spent lots of quality time with Barbara. I think I was on her family Christmas card one year. Let's get on with this!!

Large man-nurse then leads me back to the tiny Doctor room, where I wait a bit more. Not long, though. Because I'm here to see the doctor that isn't booked until March, and who has too much time on his hands today. My doctor, the superior familiar doctor, is too busy for me now that I'm only in need of prescriptions, and not in need of say.... more invasive surgery to my head.

New Doctor Man comes in, again with large man-nurse (I guess he's there just to get in on the fun of a completely pointless and adventure-less consultation about my sinuses that are currently problem-free), and we begin. Doctor asks me why I'm there. I say I'm there to get my drugs. He then takes my glasses off, I guess so I can't see the "magic" he is about to perform on me and my healthy sinuses. He looks me over. He sticks some utensils up my nose just because they are there and need to be used. He squirts some junk up my nose to 'help him see in there better', and then reports that all seems well in the realm of my sinus cavity.

Yes, that's what I've been saying all along. And I've been saying it for free. Although... for just a minute in all the 'looking me over' I did fear that he would discover something terrible and I would regret coming to the doctor once again. I usually seem fine before I go. It's after I get there and they have a chance to poke around that I end up with some awful disease or condition that requires months of treatment or surgery and more doctors.

Sometimes I think it's the doctors and the offices that actually make me sick.

He writes me a prescription. The coveted prescription I've journeyed far to acquire, and have now been needlessly tortured with sinus utensils to earn.

Then I am led to the Pay For This Pointless 10-Minute Appointment desk, where I hand over 25 hard-earned dollars, and I'm sent on my way.

He did give me a free sample of my drugs to hold me for a week or so.

That was nice.

But not worth the drive or the loss of $25, which would have otherwise been used for something much more fun than a trip to the doctor.



Friday, December 03, 2004

I'm pretty much good for one thing
And that one thing is spotting famous people in airports, and then riding on planes with them.

It's a long list of non-A-list celebrities that I can claim as people I've seen in airports: Aaron the Bachelor on my flight from L.A., Gary Busey on my parents' flight to Tulsa (I saw him get off the plane), Ed McMahon on my flight to L.A. Just to name a few of the really special ones.

And to add another name to my list, Friend A and I had the distinct pleasure of flying to Costa Rica last week with Stephan Jenkins, none other than the lead singer of Third Eye Blind.

We arrived at the airport extraordinarily early. We had several hours to kill before our flight. Was I annoyed? Frustrated? Bored? Of course not! One of my favorite pasttimes is watching people. And the main reason why is because if I look hard enough, I'll eventually find someone famous.

We sat. Friend A read a book. I stared at people walking by. Eventually, a tall guy walked by and caught my eye. He was on a cell phone. And he was pushing one of those luggage carts that people use to carry lots of luggage. Except his contained one solitary carry-on size piece of luggage.

I thought he looked familiar, but said nothing. I continued to watch.

Awhile later, he walked by again. Going the same direction. With his cart. And one piece of tiny luggage. Maybe that one piece of carry-on luggage was REALLY heavy. But it just looked odd. I determied that clearly this guy was famous, because he was fancy enough to need a cart for his carry-on.

He still talked on his cell phone. And this time, I got a better look at him. And.... I knew.

It was the guy from Third Eye Blind.

I told Friend A. Why? Only because it was interesting to me. Friend A tends to know nothing about music, and even less about pop culture as related to music. I knew she would have no idea who he was. But, I'd just spent the last hour or so staring at people. It had finally paid off. Someone was going to know about it.

Surprisingly, Friend A seemed to have heard of the band. And as a fellow admirer of famous people (as she says, "famous people are better than us") she was immediately intrigued. She told me to go talk to him. This posed a problem.

First, he was already a good ways down the terminal again. Walking even further away as we stared after him. I had no intentions of chasing him down to talk to him. And second, I had no idea what his name was. I just knew his face and who he belonged to, and a song or two. I can't very well go talk to some famous guy without knowing his name.

Friend A started calling people. She eventually tracked down her brother, who knew the guy's name. Stephan Jenkins. I confirmed this detail on my cell phone with a quick Google search on the internet. It probably cost me more than a seat at a Third Eye Blind concert would cost me, but I likes my gadgets. It was imperative to confirm this information. Thank goodness I have the fun phone.

Upon confirmation of the name, I noticed that he was back in our area. And not only in our area, he was checking on our flight. OUR FLIGHT!!!

Yes, Stephan Jenkins appeared to be going with us to Costa Rica. For Thanksgiving. And... he was alone.

We got on the plane, because the airplane people told us to. Our seats were the first row behind the first class section, so I set myself up for a prime view of our new famous friend who would surely be seated in first class. Sure enough, as the last passengers filed onto the plane, there he was. Just a few rows ahead of me.


We flew to Costa Rica. I did not talk to him. I did see him get up to go to the bathroom, but unlike the Bachelor plane trip, I did not go in after he came out. I remained in my seat. With my seatbelt fastened. Because the airplane people told me to.

We landed and stumbled off the plane, heading to the immigration line. I figured Stephan would be lost in the crowd and we would never see him again. But as we came around the corner to the large crowd of people waiting to get through immigration.... there he was. At the end of a line. A line in which we parked ourselves directly behind him.

So, now we were in Costa Rica in the immigration line with Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind.

Oh yes. We were.

And... he turned and looked at me. I swear he did. He knew that I knew who he was. How? Because this is the one thing I'm good for. Finding famous people. We have a connection.

Friend A and I began discussing his musical repertoire. I knew Semi-Charmed Kind of Life, and proceeded to serenade Friend A. Quietly. So as not to disturb Stephan. She recognized the song and became excited that maybe this guy really was famous. Because clearly if I sing a song and point at a guy as though he is the one who really sings the song, he must be famous and I must know what I'm talking about. It's as good as scientific proof.

Then we discovered the ultimate confirmation of our famous person sighting. There, in the back pocket of Stephan's jeans for the whole world to see, was his immigration paperwork. And there at the very top of the page in large block black letters.... was his name. Printed. Clearly.


Friend A and I both saw it. And at that time I decided that my fun phone needed to be put to use again.

I took a picture of Stephan Jenkin's butt. With my camera phone.

Oh yes. I did. He is on my phone even as I type.

Now, the picture is blurry. And you can't make out the name on the form in his pocket. But, we know what it is. We know what it says. We know what we saw.

I never quite felt like I was fan enough to talk to him. We watched as he passed through immigration with his one carry-on bag, and vanished down the escalator and into the night. We felt sure that Costa Rica was a small enough country that we would surely run into him again, repeatedly, throughout our trip.

But, we didn't.

I'm just glad I'm good for such an important thing.

Because famous people are better than us.


Not getting any younger.
Why does it seem like the Oldest Person in the U.S. dies every week?

Maybe I just pick the wrong days to read the news. But it seems like I read fairly regularly that another oldest person has died. Is it the same old person fooling us every time? Not really dead, but just enjoying making the headlines each week? Or are we just experiencing a rash of oldest people losing the will to stay the oldest.

Whatever the case may be, things aren't looking good for whoever is the next youngest. Good thing she's likely too old to see to read about these other oldest people.