CAROL PERKINS:

CAROL PERKINS

The pinch-faced secretary could not make eye contact. I stood in front of her, waiting for her to notice me, but I was invisible. I thought about tapping her desk, but she was in no mood and I didn’t want to risk getting something started. It was too pretty outside for me to get my insides dark and ugly, so I waited.

“May I help you,” she said the way a robot might respond.

I handed her an order from the doctor, and she immediately dialed the lab to make an appointment. (I assume that is what she was doing.)

Holding the phone with her shoulder, she said, “Any day you can’t go?”

I told her, and she repeated it to the person on the other end of the line. She hung up and turned to finish highlighting.

“Go to this location on Monday for ... and she named off the name of a sinus test that I knew my mother had already had.

“Would you look in her records and see if she hasn’t already had this test.”

That annoyed her.

“Yeah, she had a similar one, but I guess he wants to compare.”

No, I thought. He didn’t even know she had a test just a year ago.

“Would you make him aware she has had a similar test?”

Then Miss Huffy said, “I’m sure he wants to compare.”

She wasn’t sure of anything except she didn’t want to get out of her chair and ask him.

As I was leaving, she said, “Have a nice day.”

I wanted to ask her if she was having one, but why bother. I didn’t care about her day, but I did care about mine and she was not helping it.

When I got home, I called the doctor’s office, talked to someone in a good mood and asked if she would check with the doctor.

“I can pretty much tell you he will want her to go ahead with this test because it goes deeper than an ordinary one.”

I knew that was coming.

I hear people my age and older talk about trips to a doctor for every part of the body. A knee doctor; a throat doctor. A stomach doctor; a kidney doctor. A heart doctor; a lung doctor. No one ever mentions a mental doctor, which we could all use after going to all these others. People, in general, are living longer and it could be because of all the “specialist” to focus on each part of our bodies. An outing anymore seems to be a trip to a doctor.

My grandmother went once a month, whether she was sick or not. The routine was to go to the doctor (for him to tell her she was going to live a while longer) and then to the beauty shop. If all of this fell on Wednesday, the driver would also take her to the stockyard where fruit trucks set up once a week. Unlike her, the last place I want to go is to a doctor.

So, the test will happen, and I’ll have to see Miss Pinch Face when I take my mother back to get the results. Maybe I’ll make her a tray of cookies. Then again, maybe I won’t. I’ve never been good at buttering people up.

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