Vicki's View

Rooms With No View


By Vicki Brown


My dad told me that when people get old, all they do is go to doctors. I remember laughing about that, but now I have discovered that’s true.

Every week, my husband and I check our calendars to see which doctor we are seeing and at what time. And in all those visits, there is one thing all doctor’s offices have in common…they are ugly.

The walls are either a pale green (to match my skin color when I look at them) or a lovely shade of…beige or off white. The same horrible pictures are on the wall…Walmart specials from 1985. The same style of furniture is there in the same shabby colors. The chair and table legs are scarred and the magazines (if they have any) are outdated. If you weren’t feeling bad before you came…you certainly do now.

It seems like the same type of people are there, too. You know the ones…they look up when you come in, but then quickly drop their heads and avert their eyes. No one wants to be caught staring. To make matters worse, if your doctor is a specialist, everyone pretty much knows why you are there and it’s rather embarrassing.

All those in the waiting room are trying not to look at anyone else, so most heads are buried in their phones. The receptionists behind the glass are hoping you won’t come up and ask anything, and for the most part, they are trying to be polite when you do.

If there is a television, it’s usually stuck on a health channel or cooking show. None of which interest me. One office I visited actually aired Family Feud…all least that was more entertaining than most.

You wait, and wait, and wait…only to be taken back to a room with unrecognizable medical instruments that look like they belong in a horror flick, and where you then wait some more while staring at the butcher paper lining the exam table.

So when something unusual occurs in a waiting room, it is noteworthy and memorable.

Take for instance the little old man who sat beside me one day.

This jolly old man hobbled into the room, saying “hello” to every single person. He had obviously come straight from his tractor on his farm…his overalls were dusty, his boots carried some kind of brown muck, and his plaid shirt was faded and worn.

He was noisy as he plopped down in the chair, turning his gray, grizzled head toward me to say “howdy”. His toothless grin was adorable, and I found myself smiling back.

“I made it just in time,” he said pointing to the pocket watch he pulled from his pocket.

I nodded at him, grinning back. He was so pleased with himself for being on time.

Suddenly, he reached into his other pocket and pulled something out. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was…my head was buried in my phone again.

The true shock came when a loud buzzing noise erupted from his chair. My head jerked up and I couldn’t believe what I saw.

He was shaving. It was an electric razor.

By then, the entire waiting room had been startled out of their phone comas and were staring at this anomaly.

He glanced up, caught everyone staring and smiled. Holding up his razor, he cheerfully announced, “Gotta look good for the doctor!”

He went back to shaving. That’s when the office manager came barreling out from behind the glass and told him he couldn’t shave in the waiting room.

Good naturedly he shrugged and pocketed the razor. Turning towards me he leaned in. “That’s okay…I was finished anyways!” he said chuckling.

I started giggling. It was just too funny and out of the norm.

Like that time many years ago when a frantic nurse came in rushing in while I was seeing the doctor. Evidently, an elderly gentleman, who had rarely if ever seen a doctor, had been told to put the thermometer under his tongue. He put the entire thermometer in his mouth…sideway, from cheek to cheek…and then complained that it wouldn’t fit under his tongue. They had a little trouble removing it, needless to say.

It’s sort of a shame that there aren’t that many real characters around when I’m sitting in a waiting room. I guess it’s back to burying my face in my phone.