Footsteps at the doctor’s office


I pulled the robe tightly around me as I moved my bottom to get comfortable on the examination bed in my ob/gyn’s office. The crinkly paper underneath me crinkled in protest. I gave up trying to be comfortable and looked at my watch. I was waiting for 20 minutes now in a cold office with only a flimsy robe around me, ready to be examined by my adorable, very competent, extremely chatty gynecologist.

I have been going to her for the last 13 years and I adore her. Every year I worry she will retire and I will be left in a lurch. But after my exam and consultation, she gives me a hug and promises to see me next year. The problem is, she is friendly and chatty with ALL her patients. As a result, she is always running late to see her patients who are waiting next in line. I have learned over the years to ask the nurse how late is Dr.___ running that day. The answer I get from them is hopefully not too long, but who knows with Dr.____. Then we share a conspiratorial smile.

The nurse I got today is very new. She did not know how late the doctor was running. She also registered my weight 10 pounds less than I actually weigh but that is beside the point of this story. So I waited in a thin gown on an anxiety provoking examination bed in that solitary room. Generally I read a book. Today I simply looked at the cat decorations in the room, listened to the calming classical music playing in the background and paid attention to every sound that came from outside the examination room. I heard the footsteps coming towards my room, hope rose up in my chest and then fell as the footsteps went past my door. I heard voices, conversation, laughter and tried to discern if it was my doctor’s voice – finishing up with a patient. I could not tell. I heard pitter patter again outside my door and started to feel hopeful only to have my hopes dashed as my door did not open. It was a strange roller coaster of hope followed by disappointment with every sound of footsteps and conversation outside my door. Finally, when I was wondering if I should get my book out from my bag, I heard the welcome rat-a-tat-tat on the door. The door opened and in she came with a welcoming, “Hi honey! It is so good to see you. Oh my! Look at your hair. You are so gorgeous.”

I did not get a hug this time with Covid and all. But I got a promise of ‘see you next year, darling. You are in great health!’

I vowed to get her first appointment of the day next time. Although, she is totally worth the wait for her bedside manners and old school charm. These characteristics seem like lost treasures.

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