I had to go get X-rays on my shoulder today – at least in theory.
My doctor gave me a referral a couple weeks back to an orthopedist. I called said orthopedist earlier this week to make my appointment. He told me – this was the first time I’d ever had a doctor answer his own phone and it completely rattled me – that I first had to have a X-ray before he’d see me. Meaning I had to call my real doctor (as opposed to my robot doctor) and get him to set it up.
I called my non-robot doctor’s office (thankfully he didn’t answer the phone, or I would’ve needed a heart doctor), and they referred me to the place to get X-rays. They said not to call the place for at least a couple hours to make sure they got the referral. I waited three days, just in case.
Actually I waited three days to go – I called that same day. The X-ray place said to come in whenever. Apparently “whenever” isn’t after 4:30 or, in my case, when they have no idea you’re supposed to be there. But I digress. So I found some time and went today (Friday).
First, after extensive time on MapQuest, I accidentally went to the orthopedist’s office, because I read the wrong piece of paper. I then found the right piece of paper, but couldn’t find the office. When I found it, it was the wrong X-ray place (don’t ask how I found another X-ray place on a completely different street, because I haven’t even figured that one out and if I do, my head will surely explode). So my strategy, at that point, was to just drive around looking for the right place. Or go home and start over. Or use the last logical option I had: Call my wife and ask her where I’m supposed to be.
That was the right move; Wives are just like that. They know stuff. So she told me were to go, I turned the car around and went. I found the right building, but the wrong office. This X-ray place has two offices in the same building, it turns out. That first office is were they send everyone to look stupid. Then I climbed the stairs to go to the second office and got a cramp in my calf. Honest. I was wondering if I could get some calf X-rays too, since I was there and all.
I entered the second office 15 minutes before closing time. Evidently the girl behind the counter and a guy looking suspiciously like someone wearing a blue medical-type outfit were just talking about how wonderful it would be if no idiot with a bad shoulder and a cramp in his calf would come in so close to closing time. They looked at me; she giggled and he shook his head. It reminded me a lot of meeting girl’s parents when I was in high school.
So I told the giggler my name and the nature of my mission. She takes out a stack of papers and starts professionally throwing them around. Then she starts typing on the computer, also in a professional fashion. Then she looks up at me and says “Sorry, your doctor’s office never called and we can’t X-ray you.”
I then suggested she call my doctor, which she did. One wrong number later, she hung up the phone and announced that my doctor’s patients must not get sick after noon on Fridays, because his office closed at noon on Fridays. I reasoned that must mean the cramp in my calf wasn’t very serious.
So now I have a very serious sounding orthopedist thinking I’m going to have X-rays with me on Tuesday when I see him, when I’m not. He’s VERY serious, by the way. I tried to change my appointment to later in the day Tuesday, and he simply said “No.” Oh, OK then, I said, stunned and a bit frightened. “I’ll guess I’ll just do my best to get there.”
Silence. Then he said, very firmly, “You ARE coming, aren’t you?”
Sure. I’m positive I’ll have all this squared away by … November. At the earliest.