(SNN) I take magazines with me to doctors appointments because most doctor’s waiting rooms only have dog-eared copies of “Diverticulitis Digest” and “Pustules and Cysts: The Journal of Odd Growths.”
Sometimes I don’t need to read—especially when fellow patients look like a casting call for a Coen Brothers movie.
Recently, I hit the jackpot.
To my right was an elderly woman wearing a cranial Erector Set, one of those metal halo deals with rods and wires and flying buttresses. It appeared to be the only thing keeping her head from falling off and rolling around the office. She sported the stunned expression of an electroshock victim and kept asking me to pull her finger.
Across from me sat the guy from “Deliverance.” He hasn't aged well. He appeared out of sorts, perhaps because he'd forgotten his banjo. He said I have a pretty mouth.
To my left was retired circus fat lady with a bad back and a Staph infection active since 1951. She said the doctor would tell her today if he needed to open her up like a carp and debone her.
Sorry if I sound like I’m making fun of these poor people, but I have to. It’s my job.
This was my first visit to this particular doctor and it would not turn out well for me, either. I’ve had my share of medical bad luck. There was my former dental surgeon, a Quaker who called Novocain "the Devil's Own Anesthesia," and who extracted teeth with a tuning fork. I had a proctologist who found two buffalo nickels and a salad shooter and claimed ownership under an obscure medical "finders-keepers" law.
My lovely wife—who has contacts throughout the medical world—usually finds doctors for me to visit, who are mostly brilliant and highly competent physicians. If it were up to me, I’d probably pick anyone with a shingle and no outstanding warrants.
When my eyes went kablooey a few years back, my wife got me the top Retina guy at a great eye clinic. He successfully re-epoxied both my retinas. Now I have the eyesight of an Eagle, without the bird’s taste for fresh salmon and the urge to fornicate in mid-air.
This new doctor was part of my search for a neurologist who likes feet. I've had numb feet for years. The two leading causes of numb feet are Diabetes and tight shoes. I have Peripheral Neuropathy. That’s the high falutin' term for numb feet. I also have abnormally high falutes, but that's a topic for another day.
Peripheral Neuropathy not caused by Diabetes or tight shoes is a veritable gold mine for Neurologists because they don't know what the Hell is causing it and that means lots of expensive tests. For instance, when my tootsies first numbed up, one doc suggested a Spinal Tap—the procedure, not the band. I wanted to endure a Spinal Tap about as much as I wanted a poke in the back with a sharp needle. So my wife found me a new Neurologist.
That doctor asked me a few perfunctory questions like “How’s your perfunct?” and “What’s the deal with Justin Beiber?” He then attached electric needles to my gunboats, hooked them up to a machine labeled “Property of Ghostbusters,” and cranked the juice up to Eleven.
I felt nothing, but could suddenly sing the falsetto part to “Big Girls Don't Cry.” Doc declared my tests inconclusive and sent me on my way with a pat on the ass and a complimentary set of Odor Eaters.
Today my new tootsie doc was sitting surrounded by hundreds of Medical Journals and leather bound doctor books. (Like I'm supposed to believe he actually reads that crap.)
Doc looked up and said, “Why are you here? I'm a neurological surgeon.” He emphasized the word surgeon like the guy whose Bentley you just hit with your '98 Dodge might emphasize the fact he's an attorney.
“My wife found you in the yellow pages?”
The doc smiled the smile Alec Baldwin sported in Glengarry Glen Ross when he informed the salesmen he drives a BMW, not a Hyundai like them.
He agreed to give me a quick “Neurological Workup,” perhaps out of pity. Using medical hammers and drumsticks, he tapped and banged and perididdled away at my various nerve endings.
After a drum solo excerpt from “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida,” he concluded there was no surgery necessary, adding, “I could take you on as a patient, but I won't because I don’t like you.”
I left, and as I passed through the outer office I saw Deliverance and Circus Fat Lady playing Soccer with Erector Set woman’s head.
The score was nil-nil as I left to continue my search for someone who could de-numb my feet.
John "Cork" Corcoran
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