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June 17, 2005
Joe lies
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Helpful parenting tip #2:

Schedule your kid's annual physicals as early as possible. Six months in advance is good. Better yet, call a year in advance. Or before he's born. That's even better.

rude clinic phone jockey: can I help you?
you: I need to schedule a well child check.
r.c.p.j.: Okay. Name?
you: Don't know yet. I'll get back to you on that.

Nothing quite compares to the special joy of driving into town twice in one day in a vain attempt to meet up with a phantom doctor at one of those walk-in no-insurance last-resort nightmare clinics from hell. You know the ones I mean. We have a chain here in town whose name rhymes with "medical corner".

Zac's impending entrance into the educational system requires him to obtain a form asserting things like immunizations and height and weight and possession of all his limbs. Since I am a dumbass, I completely forgot to schedule a physical after his birthday and now find myself in dire need of one of these forms so I can register him for school on Monday.

Here's what boggles my mind: how do nine separate pediatric offices in an HMO get booked solid through August? Are tee times that hard to come by? I don't even need to see a doctor. I need someone who can give shots and write her name. I can't even get in to see a nurse practitioner until Tuesday. If I want to see the doctor for a well-kid checkup, I have to wait a month and a half.

It is because of this that I found myself in a very small office, hearing someone tell me that even though her place of employment is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., there is no doctor present. There is no doctor present to treat a person in a place that has been open for an hour and will remain open for eleven more. The doors are open, the hours are posted all over the company website and telephone books, but there is no doctor. The doctor is at the clinic at the airport roughly a quarter of a mile away.

Okay, fine. I'll run home, feed the boys, and go to the other place later. It's just a form. No problem. I can do this.

I leave the house at 2:00. This particular clinic is notoriously hard to find. I ask a security guard for directions. I find the damn thing inside the corporate office of an airline. I trudge down a flight of stairs with the two boys. I find a door. A person holding a mop tells me that (get this) the doctor has left for the day. This doctor, who supposedly works from 8 to 8, has left after a five-hour workday.

And I am, as they say, up shit creek.

So I am going on Tuesday to get this all-important form from a nurse at my HMO. I still have to wait two days, though, so they can read his TB test. This has been a serious pain in the ass. And worst of all, if I'd just called the freaking doctor two weeks ago, I wouldn't be in this situation.

Wonder if I can con my husband out of a nice dinner somewhere?

Hopefully, I can still register Zac on Thursday.


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