You know how people say that “truth is stranger than fiction?”
The thing about fiction is that you WANT it to seem like truth, so it can’t be TOO outlandish or people would say “No way, that would never happen.” Even though the things that happen in real life are FAR stranger and worse and weirder, because those are the things no one would believe if they weren’t true.
My life, for example. It would be terrible fiction. Who would believe it?
Okay, maybe not my WHOLE life. But today, for sure. Today started out great and then just kept sliding downhill at a gallop and now it’s all I can do to pull my face out of this box of cookies and tell you about it.
(Oh, these cookies? Tammy brought these to me today, possibly because she is the very most spectacular human to walk the face of the planet, and also a little bit because she read my WAH WAH WAH I HAVE NO FRIENDS post and correctly surmised that if she brought me chocolate chocolate-chip cookies from the good bakery that I would declare her to be my new best friend. The part where I was so moved that I actually petted her arm a little scared her a bit, I fear, and also my dorkocity level spiked up to 11 while I tried to explain that really, I think she might be one of My People but I don’t want to be all needy and pester her all the time while I’m busy being overwhelmed with life and such and she’s one of the few people I know here. But. Still. COOKIES!)
Remember how I set up doctor’s appointments for the kids? And how that was already not exactly without drama? But in the end I prevailed; the doctor was selected, the appointments were made, the HMO complied in assigning THAT doctor to the kids?
When I made the appointments, the nice young man on the phone told me where to go online to print out the registration forms. “If you can just have those filled out when you come,” he told me, “that will save a lot of time.”
Being the obedient sort that I am, I printed out the gazillion forms and spent over an hour filling them out this afternoon. (This becomes important later.)
Let us take a brief break from the Saga of the Doctor to discuss something else: The beloved GPS unit. Yesterday I had my first taste of betrayal from Audrey. You see, I told her where to take me, and she told me where to go and where to turn, and then suddenly she announced “Arriving at destination!” in her clipped British accent and GUESS WHAT? That’s right. I was not at my destination. I ended up driving in MANY MANY CIRCLES around the GENERAL VICINITY of my destination, because Audrey is not smart enough to know when an address corresponds to an especially long (hidden) driveway or a funny jog off the main road or whatever. This is not Audrey’s fault. But it still sucks mightily when I am driving around in circles thinking to myself “I AM CERTAIN I DROPPED THE KIDS OFF SOMEWHERE NEAR HERE AT SOME POINT.” I’m just sayin’. (Yes, I found them eventually.)
So, today I loaded up the kids and headed to the doctor’s appointment. I left us plenty of time to get there. And that was a good thing, because Audrey did it to me again.
We drove as she commanded and I was pulling up next to a gas station when she announced “Arriving at destination!” Well, I’m fairly certain I did not choose a Kwik-E-Mart employee as my children’s primary doctor, although YOU NEVER KNOW, I suppose. Thanks to yesterday’s confusion, however, I knew to look around for funny driveways or what have you, and I was able to figure out the problem pretty quickly.
Unfortunately, the location problem only got worse. The address was, say, 123 Main Street. The problem, of course, was that the office was ACTUALLY on Side Street, but a tiny sliver of the office is out on Main Street (hence the address). I was able to figure out the Side Street thing without a problem. No, the problem was that once I turned onto Side Street, I discovered an entire COMPLEX of offices stretching three blocks down Side Street. And ALL OF THEM are located at 123 Main Street! EVERY SINGLE ONE! Fabulous.
We parked. We walked. We found ourselves in a dentist’s office, where I politely asked for the suite in question. They asked who we were trying to find, and I told them, and they told us which building we wanted. I thanked them and we left and found the right building.
Phew. Okay. Right building, right office. Success! I signed the kids in on a clipboard at the front desk. Although there were two office workers right there in front, neither of them said hello or acknowledged us in any way.
We sat down.
Long story only slightly shorter, we waited for OVER AN HOUR to be seen. During that time, three different drug reps came by with goodies to drop off and a request to meet with the doctor. NO PATIENTS came out of the office and none were taken in. Another family sat waiting across from us and eventually we made the sort of small talk you’d expect in such a situation; gee, this is taking a long time. Yes, I wonder what the hold up is. Gosh, I wonder if we’ll have to sleep here tonight! Haha!
Five minutes before we were taken in, the other family gave up and left. They stopped long enough to tell the secretary that they were leaving and she asked if they wanted to reschedule. To her credit, the mom didn’t use a single swear word, just snorted and said, “No, I don’t think we ever want to come back.”
During the space of our wait, my children found every single hidden picture in every single Highlights magazine published in the last year. Hooray!
We were finally taken back, and the kids were measured and weighed. We were then put in an exam room and the nurse started asking me history questions.
After about the fourth question, I interrupted to say, “You know, I filled out the entire history form. Do you not have that?”
“Oh, yes, of course I do,” she said. “But it’s just a lot faster to do it this way if you don’t mind.” I acquiesced, but you know, I spent a long time filling those forms out, and it would’ve been a lot faster for ME if I could’ve spent that time working or cooking dinner or sucking face with Otto. What a waste of an hour.
The children, by the way, don’t drink or smoke, nor have they ever had phlebitis, polio, scabies, stroke, pleurisy, or any STD. Yeah. Those were important questions.
When the doctor finally arrived and wanted to know why we were there, I explained wanting to meet him and establish care, and also that the schools want the kids’ immunization records on the proper Georgia forms. He told me they don’t do that.
Of course they don’t.
At that point my left eyelid began to twitch, and his nurse darted forward to volunteer that she’d “see what she could do” and then fled the room.
By now, Monkey was rolling around on the exam table and Chickadee was trying to dismantle the miniature model skeleton sitting on the windowsill. I half-heartedly tried to corral them a bit, but quite honestly, I had lost the will to live by that point.
They had their (cursory) exams. I asked for a referral for Chickadee and after some back and forth though I’d obtained what I needed, only to find out that while we were driving home the doctor called to say that we needed to do something else entirely.
When we got home I realized that we’d been gone from the house for close to three hours for our two 15-minute appointments. The kids ran off and I sank into my desk chair and commanded Otto to order pizza for dinner, because apparently I really wanted some cheesy breadsticks before I expired if at all possible.
The children ate as if they’d just returned from a long sojourn in the desert, which I guess in a way they had. I watched them eat and eat and eat and said a silent prayer that they NEVER get sick here.