Sunday, May 22, 2011

Waiting Rooms

An …ologist for every organ. In a single week we might spend time, between us, with a dermatologist, ophthalmologist, cardiologist, neurologist and oncologist; to say nothing of internist and orthopedist. In addition we know the fish tanks, art works and magazine selections of phlebotomists, laboratory and X-Ray technicians, and out-patient surgeries. And then there’s our dentist. Cracked teeth, crowns and implants seem to be the latest cash-cow among our friends these days.

Still, all our equipment is original, minus an organ here and there. One gets emotionally attached to one’s body parts. I’m even starting to mourn my haircuts as my bald spots claim more scalp. Just protecting what we’ve got takes up so much time it’s fair to ask how we ever managed to fit in a vocation.

There are worse places than waiting rooms. Many pages have I read waiting to be called. Of course getting called is just the first station in the drill. I’ve practically gone through a New Yorker half undressed in the examining room, which raises the question whether it is better to sit in the waiting room or wait in the sitting room. My preference is to go through novels fully clothed occasionally glancing up at the fishes.

We never leave the house for an appointment, each without a good read. If it weren’t for doctor visits we’d probably be paying more fines for overdue library books. Of course we also get diverted by a Smithsonian or National Geographic but then we run the risk of learning something………for twenty minutes before forgetting it.

Peggy probably writes more than she reads. She finds examining tables, even gurneys congenial to composing her poems. If she had her hands free she’d surely do it inside an M.R.I. I require a keyboard since I literally can not read a single word of my handwriting. In fact, I have no handwriting. The small muscles controlling my fingers are dysfunctional so that every letter I scrawl looks like part of an E.K.G.

And so we wait….and read ….or write….or ruminate….or sleep. Or maybe talk to each other or a fellow waiter. Some people are eager to tell you how much worse their headache is than yours. But most are supportive and chatty with the company that misery famously loves.

The ultimate waiting room is like a bus idling until a minion is reached taking us to our just dessert. Or the place where the accused paces while the jury weighs or maybe hangs. And these days we don’t even get our parking validated.

However even as our fate awaits us we don’t have to sit around waiting for it. We can rage, now and then, against the dying of the light… thank you Dylan Thomas….or just ignore the whole damn thing. When our name is called we’ll know it.


  1. Beautiful. Well writ. Just one suggestion: It is never to late to learn to write or print or put letters on paper. I read a book recently about a man who learned to read at 98. So no more excuses. Get rid of the computer and pick up a pencil. Loved the essay.

  2. Norm, I visited the Doctor this morning. One hour waiting. Five minutes of interaction with the doctor. Still like your blog post.

  3. Thanks, Harley. We also had an appointment this morning. Peggy got an epidural. I managed about 50 pages of Gregor von Rizzori's book, "Memoir of an Anti-Semite."