Still Sick

Originally, I went to the doctor on Monday, but he had me come back on Friday. Friday, he was not there, but his medical student was. She told me to return yesterday to see the ‘real’ doctor again. When I went in, he decided to send me for a chest X-ray at the hospital. I knew where it was, but was not thrilled. It is a maze of confusion with an interpreter, but going it alone is beyond intimidating.
I walked there, hoping the fresh air would do me good, but the trolley bus would only take me one stop anyway and then I would have to walk the rest anyway. When I walked into the hospital lobby, I could not remember which building I had had my X-ray in the last time. There were so many tests and so many different buildings. 
Taking a chance that some communication could happen if I asked the guard, I handed him my slip and said “Hol van…?” Unfortunately, he was very kind giving me tons of information that I had no clue about, but watching his body language was the key. My deductive reasoning told me it was next door.
When I looked at the next door-door, it looked like a fancy clinic. Surely, this could not be right. I had State insurance, not private. Hmmm…which person can I grab to ask? Usually, I target a young person. The chances of their knowing some English are better than an older person who wants to communicate with me in German. I see an older man coming toward me, but he is wearing hospital scrubs. Bingo! I ask him and he directs me to the fancy door I dismissed moments earlier.

Inside is a lovely spacious waiting room with flat screen TVs on the walls and soft cushioned chairs for waiting your turn. With my medical card and the doctor’s referral in hand, I walked up to one of the three woman sitting at the desk. She intuited that speaking to me was pointless, so she took me to the machine that dispenses numbers and procured one for me. I was not sure what this number meant, but time would tell. When my number appeared on the electronic board, I went to the desk number next to it. I was back where I started: same spot, same person. Now I was getting registered and then told to sit. 

I have a nervous habit of shredding these numbers when I get tired of waiting, but I had a book to keep my mind occupied. Good thing too, my number was called again thirty minutes later for the X-ray tech. So far, so good. The tech never told me “Take a deep breath…hold it, hold it, hold it…okay breathe.” My past experience of having chest X-rays instilled the drill in me, so my breathing stops like it is on auto-pilot once near an X-ray machine. I wonder what would have happened if I kept breathing? Two shots later, she motioned for me to dress and wait. 

Waiting, it is what I do the worst. I am a horrible, terrible, no good, lousy waiting person. I would rather gather snails from the garden with my teeth than have to wait. There was a crowd of waiters, not just me. People who were X-rayed before me and those still needing one. About twenty minutes passed when the tech came out, shouted someone’s name, yelled something to them, they responded with something and they left. Here is where past experiences and reasoning come in handy. I know that the tech needs to check the films to make sure that the shots are viable, not blurry or off kilter. My guess was that she was telling these people that their films were fine, would not need to be redone, and they could leave. 

This little fantasy worked for me, kept me reading my book, and waiting for my name to be called in some bastardized form. They always have problems pronouncing it. Two hours later, nada, nothing, nincs. My name had not been called in any form, accent, or dialect. Each time the tech momentarily appeared from behind the door like the Wizard of Oz making a rare appearance, I jumped in front of her like I was auditioning as a dancing bear act, just to refresh her memory that I was there. With her flat affect, I was not sure if she noticed me or was just ignoring me.

After another hour, my patience was wearing thin. When  I caught her the next time, I made a huge X across my chest and said Jo/Nem Jo? It never ceases to amaze me how such few words can cause an avalanche of responsive words that I certainly did not understand. What I was able to piece together is that since my doctor wants a written report, I was waiting for the radiologist to provide one. Thankfully, my second language is Body. Body language is the great communicator when all else fails. 

Another chapter of my book later, I heard something that sounded slightly similar to James Ryan. I jumped to the call to find the tech standing there with a paper in her hand. The radiologist appeared, made the report and now I was free to go. It was now 12:30pm. My doctor’s office hours ended at noon. My next chance to see him is tomorrow at 4pm.

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