Doctor Visit Dumb Syndrome

Kathy Pippig Harris

Visitors: 183

It is something I suffer from. A condition a physician did not diagnose. And it is a malady I have dealt with since childhood.

I suspect I am not the only individual who has this infirmity. It is a small thing, knowing that, but I take comfort from it, nonetheless.

This ailment has the power to render me witless. My speech functions on the primal level, only. My ability to think clearly and form intelligent sentences often flees from my ordered thought processes before I leave the house . . . for the visit to my doctor.

Beforehand, if I have the wherewithal to remember, I sit down and, taking a calming breath, write a list of questions, comments, and salutations I wish to use when I see the doctor.

After arriving at the office, I sign in and pay my insurance deductible. I'm early for my appointment, but I'm prepared. I've brought a book to read.

I look around, at the folks in the doctor's office waiting, as I am, to be called in. People that have come in after me are called before me. I patiently tell myself they are probably seeing another doctor. Three doctors share the same office.

Somehow, I nod off and am awakened by a snorting, choking sound. I whip my head up from its dangling position, to find several people regarding me in disgust and shock. I realize those noises had come from me. I grin weakly and nod my head, finding great interest, now, in reading the book I've brought along.

Finally, an assistant opens the door and calls my name. I'm directed to the step-up scales. I take off my shoes; drop my purse, keys and book on a nearby counter. I whisper to her, “Please, I'm going to cover my eyes. Whatever the scale says, I do not want to hear it. I'm serious. " I turn my head to one side, step up on the scale, and close my eyes. I can hear her fiddling with the slides on the scale until she finds the right combination . . . then she reads the result out loud. Out loud! I cringe, step off the scale, and turn around to find the entire staff at reception staring at me. By now, she is halfway down the hall, waving the clipboard-beckoning me to follow her into an examination room.

After I'm shown into the exam room, she takes my blood pressure, checks my pulse, and asks me what my purpose for being there is. I explain what I'm there for, trying to keep it brief. But she urges me on, exhibiting sound interest in hearing my explanation. Before she leaves, she tells me the doctor will be with me shortly. And I wait.

Later, the doctor enters the room, and asks me, “Well, what are you here for today?"

I didn't hear that! I must have misunderstood. I had gone into great detail about that with the assistant. What did she ask me that for, if not to relay that information to the doctor?

I jabber an answer, fully saturated now in my ailment - Doctor Visit Dumb Syndrome. The crude and elementary answers I am able to give leave me feeling embarrassed. I lapse into episodes of blank mental activity.

Twenty minutes later it is all over and I'm in my car. With relief, my mental faculties return to me-I shall not be permanently incapacitated. Then I realize . . . I had forgotten the questions and comments I'd jotted down. The list is still jammed between the pages of my book, useless to me now.

With a resolute sigh I remind myself that I'm not the only person similarly afflicted. It is a small thing, knowing that, but I take comfort from it, nonetheless.

Ah, well . . .

Copyright © 2005 by Kathy Pippig Harris

Kathy lives in Central California's San Joaquin Valley with her husband and furry family. She is a weekly columnist for the publication “Frank Talk" and a published author of five novels. She states, “Were it not for her need, desire, and love of writing - she would surely go mad!"


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