Wednesday, August 30, 2017

My life is a sitcom


Yesterday’s “Overlooked Films on Tuesdays” entry was a little late getting up on the blog…and for that, I apologize for the delay.  As a rule, I try to make a concerted effort to schedule blog entries for 7am on posting days; I’m not sure when I started this practice though I suspect it might be connected to the CMBA Blogathons in which I have participated in the past.  Rick at The Classic Film and TV Café, who generally posts the blogathon links on the CMBA blog, asked those participants to post their entries around that time if they wanted fellow bloggers to be able to access the essays quickly…otherwise they would have to wait until his working day was done.  (I think that’s how I got in the habit.)

I didn’t get around to completing the Danger Street review in the usual time because that Monday, I promised my mother I’d help her with taking my father to a doctor’s appointment that morning.  The Laird and Master of Castle Yesteryear fell victim to a blood clot near his left eye a couple of weeks ago that has robbed him of his eyesight…and because the vision in the other eye has never really been up to snuff he’s living in the same world that Burgess Meredith occupied in that Twilight Zone episode when he breaks his eyeglasses after the nuclear holocaust. 

His appointment was with the Clarke County Medical Oncology Clinic, a place with which I was not completely unfamiliar—having had an appointment there a time or two after my medical incident in 2010.  Mom thought that the building had a 200 address, and I got out of the car when we arrived to see if I could track down a wheelchair for dear ol’ Dad.  I was on my way back to tell the two of them I’d found one when I spotted my father trying to negotiate the slightly steep walkway leading up to the entrance—a sidewalk I even had trouble navigating, and my eyes aren’t nearly as bad.  Before the words “Dad, don’t try to go up that ramp” could come out of my mouth he took a bad tumble, and I rushed down the walkway to help him to his feet.

I helped him back into the car and was just about to tell him to hang tight while I got the wheelchair…and that’s when Mom announces we’re at the wrong building.  We’re supposed to be at the 700 location, so we drive back around because that building is the first one you encounter when you turn into the complex.  I got out of the car again after instructing Dad to wait until I got a wheelchair, and then I wheeled him into the building after securing his “ride.”

I approach the check-in desk and hand one of the employees the paperwork from his primary physician.  I thought Dad had been there before (he mentioned he had, but he was fuzzy on the details), so I figured I’d just spend a couple of minutes filling out an update sheet for his visit.  But, no—the nice receptionist lady hands me a stack of paper the size of a Sears-Roebuck catalog, and asks me to complete it before Dad can see the doctor.  I look around the check-in area for a pen, and not finding what I need ask her if I can borrow one.

She points to a container on the counter that houses a variety of fake-looking flowers.  Now, I saw this as soon as I came in…and two people ahead of me each took a flower after speaking with other employees behind the counter.  I thought, “Well, maybe this is some sort of odd check-in system…and when you’re called to see the doctor, you hand the assistant back the flower.”  I was completely wrong on this score; the flowers are pens.

I’m not normally a cranky person (unless I’m having to deal with someone from Windstream or DISH) but I had rose and shone early that morning (7am) because Mom had originally told me Dad’s appointment was at 8:30am.  She swears she told me 9:30, which makes little difference in the grand scheme of things as we’ll see here in a moment.  Anyway, my slight sleep deprivation didn’t help my disposition any, because I told the receptionist: “I’m not writing with a flower.”  Fortunately for me, my father has been wearing a pocket protector since childhood…and he produced a non-floral writing instrument for my use.  (Note to self: bring a pen next time.)

I quickly scout out the waiting room, and decide to wheel Dad toward the very back where he’ll be out of the way so people won’t step on him when they’re called before us.  (There’s always people being called ahead of us.)  This proved to be a major miscalculation on my part, because the area in which we eventually settled is right next to a big wall-screen TV…that is showing Live with Kelly and Ryan.  Jesus Christ on a morning talk show—I’m officially in hell.  Having to listen to the chirpy Kelly Ripa is bad enough…but she wasn’t on the show that day—she had been replaced for the duration by…wait for it…Kim Kardashian.

If you’ve made regular visits to this blog in the past, you’ll know that I would rather have my nuts trapped in a piece of farm equipment than to be anywhere near Kim or any of her painfully annoying sisters; the popularity of Keeping Up with the Kardashians is a phenomenon I will never comprehend, and I’m completely convinced that it and other reality shows of its ilk will spell the doom and downfall of this great nation.  I’m not kidding; years after Armageddon, there’ll be visitors from other planets surveying the wreck and ruin of Planet Earth, scratching their heads with their tentacles or whatever, puzzled as to why people even watched that shit.  Kim was droning on and on about the old house she used to live in with her reprehensible siblings…while I was contemplating driving Dad’s pen into my forehead.

It took me two years to finish the paperwork, and I ended up handing some of it off to Mom when she joined us after finding a parking place because my hand was starting to resemble Fred Sanford’s “arthuritis.”  (She signed in the places that Dad was supposed to autograph, writing a side note that read “Patient can’t see.”)  I manage to carry the informational tonnage back up to the check-in desk…and then I amble on back to wait with Mom and Dad.  And wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Sweet baby carrots, do I hate doctor appointments and the amount of time spent in waiting rooms to meet them.  I slowly start to get aggravated by two things: 1) I belatedly notice a sign on the TV that read “Please ask receptionist to change the channel” (Me to Mom: “I wish I had seen that before I sat down”) and b) the fact that people who have entered the waiting room after we arrived have already been called for their appointments.  Noticing on her watch that it’s 10:15am, I announce to Mom that I’m going to find out what the holdup is, and all she can tell me is “Please don’t be rude.”  (She’s seen this rerun before, though my sister Kat usually plays my part.)

Do you remember that scene in Lost in America where Albert Brooks is trying to cadge a bridal suite out of the hotel clerk?  (“Listen, I'm not very good at this.  I don't get good seats in shows because of this problem.  I don't get good tables in restaurants.  I've really never been good at this particular kind of exchange of money so, how much do you want?”)  That’s me whenever I have to win friends and influence customer service people—I suck at baksheesh, but I was prepared to offer the receptionist a hefty bribe because the TV was now blaring The Doctors and I was inches away from going postal on all the sick people in the waiting room.  The receptionist was very nice, explaining that the appointment was for 10:15—they just asked my folks to be there at 9:30 for ample time to do the paperwork.  (And she wasn’t just whistlin’ Dixie.)  She assures me it won’t be much longer.

They finally call my father’s name.  Mom says to me, “Wheel him up to the physician’s assistant and then come on back.”  Well, apparently the P.A.’s job description does not include being the motor for a wheelchair, because I involuntarily accompanied him when she asked him to step on the scale, took his temperature and blood pressure, and then showed him to an examination room.  I didn’t really mind too much, however, because now I didn’t have to listen to that nonsense blaring from the waiting room TV.  But the doc didn’t come in to see my father until a little after eleven.  (That’s when I knew we’d be stopping by some place with a drive-thru for lunch.)

The doctor was a very nice lady (nice laaaady!) who referred to my father as “my darling”—which meant I had to stifle a snicker because there’s a Publix cashier who says that to Mom all the time.  In retrospect, going along with Dad proved to be a wise decision because once we had returned home (we had McDonald’s) Mom asked him what the doctor had to say and he replies (get this): “Nothing much.”  (Oooh, you big fibber.)  I corrected the record on that score, which ticked him off a little.

So, I spent most of Monday morning enduring the horror that is the U.S. healthcare system, and because we spent more time than we had budgeted (Mom was pissed because the lady at the primary physician’s office told her the appointment was for 9:30—so we were there way too friggin’ early) Mom and I had to venture out a second time to swing by Kroger Nation because she needed a few things.  By the time we finished that errand, it was 2:30pm…and I had decided ta heck wid it, I’d work on Tuesday’s blog entry on Tuesday.

Cue the wacky closing theme.  Seacrest out!

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