Yesterday, me and my pal Restless Leg Syndrome climbed into the car and dropped in for a visit to my doctor at South Shore Neurology.
Walking into the waiting room at 851 Main Street is an enjoyable experience which I look forward to every six months. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I wish I could be Michael Keaton in Multiplicity and go shopping while my clone is left to leaf through a decaying People Magazine for a couple of hours. Despite the waiting, people-watching in a neurologist’s waiting room is fun. There are cute old people accompanied by their younger handlers, attempting to keep the flighty wanderings in check with inconsistent success. There are middle-aged, be-lipsticked working women impatiently bobbing their high-heeled feet. Yesterday there appeared to be a couple of divorcées on their 4th date, evident by the liberal laughter in response to the man’s second-rate jokes, and the absence of a goodbye kiss as the woman departed to get her brain checked out. But the most fun in people-watching at 851 Main Street comes via my vivid yet drastic imagination. It’s kind of a pleasure to imagine the crazy nonsense that is occurring behind each of my fellow patients’ skulls.
Old Mr. Pennyloafers to my left is undergoing the first stages of dementia. Somewhere in his brain, a group of synapses are munching on York Peppermint Patties while watching reruns of The Price is Right. Meanwhile Mr. Pennyloafers’ daughter, Elise, is downloading an iPhone app that will estimate the value of her father’s estate for when he croaks in oh, 2, 3 years. Across from me, Sharon Gladstone-Perry and her migraines might find relief in a new drug heavily promoted by Redbook. As for the lovers in the corner, Amy has decided to save her tidbit about narcolepsy for a later date in the relationship.
The nurse calls my name. I am led down a hallway to a familiar room which, though the building was built only ten years ago, still appears to be from the seventies. Leather-bound books with titles such as “Restless Leg Syndrome and You” and (in excessively large and visible lettering) “DEMENTIA,” line the walls. I settle into a chair and become entranced by a paperweight on my doctor’s desk. Is it very windy in this part of the building? At one point in the day does my doctor desperately scan his desk for something of just the right size that will secure flyaway papers to his desk, something other than the equally heavy stapler and book that are also within reach? At this time Dr. Herman enters the room and we exchange hello’s.
The conversation gets a bit off track with a discussion about the pitfalls of German cuisine. Such is the manner of Dr. Herman; our last visit was mainly about the two Canadian DJs who prank called Sarah Palin, peppered with a bit of discussion about my RLS. (For a man of sixty, my doctor really knows his way around YouTube.) He recommends Berlin for my upcoming Eurotrip, we advance to the screening room for a more comprehensive version of the sobriety test, and then it’s back to his office for the icing on the cake.
This is the part where Dr. Herman dictates a letter to my primary care physician into a tape recorder, which I assume is later typed up by some unfortunate medical assistant. I am still unsure as to why my presence is necessary for this portion of the visit, but I enjoy it nonetheless. As a man of sixty, Dr. Herman has probably been doing this tape-recording-shindig for decades. And at one point in time it was probably a cutting-edge technology. Dr. Herman begins. After every sentence, he says “STOP.” It sounds very official and I can perfectly visualize said unfortunate medical assistant rolling her eyes. Last is the update on my vitals. This is the part where Dr. Herman strings words and numbers together into a mess of gibberish. If you asked me if he were describing a 22 year-old girl or the approximate size and weight of a lawn chair, I would not be able to tell you. Click. He stands up, we say our goodbyes and I find myself once again in the waiting room.
As I make an appointment with the receptionist for 6 months in advance, I am saddened by the fact that I may have to cancel. (I’m aiming to flee Massachusetts for a warmer climate and better job market come Fall). My only hope is that Dr. Herman can refer me to a doctor’s office that is just as much fun as 851 Main Street.