Variation on a theme: the doctor’s office.
I always accompany my mother to her doctor visits because she doesn’t hear very well and I can act as an interpreter for her.
Sometimes, I would feel like I was at the U.N. and the doctor was speaking Lithuanian, which only I could understand. When he was through talking, my mother would turn to me for the official translation.
That was okay though, because I needed to be present so I could know exactly what he was telling her and not get a second-hand, mis-heard version from her later.
Or none at all.
So after her last exam with him, we were instructed to go out to the area where they draw blood for lab-work. They had two cubicles in the large hallway leading out to the front desk and my mother was shown to one of them where her blood was to be drawn by the technician.
Before the tech began though, she told me I may as well go see the receptionist and make my mother’s next appointment. The desk was just far enough away from the lab stations so that I was out of earshot of any conversation that might go on there.
I had to wait at the desk for a bit while the gal finished up with something else she was working on and then we had to decide which day six months from that date would work best for me. No easy feat, even though I’m not one to have a vibrant social calendar.
Appointment card in hand, I turned around and walked back to the lab station where I’d left my mother a few minutes before and found the technician working on another patient. I asked her where my mother went and she said that they needed a urine sample, so she was in the bathroom directly across the hall.
If I had known they were going to do that, I would have told them to wait until I got back so I could go in there with her.
Of course, she’d locked the door.
So I stood out in the hall and smiled wanly at the perky nurses who briskly went to and fro as I waited for my mother to emerge from the bathroom.
I swear, at least ten minutes crawled by and still no mother. I tried knocking on the door, to no avail. I didn’t want to pound on it, but I felt like it.
Finally, I told one of the nurses what was going on and asked her if they had a key to the bathroom.
“Well, I’m sure it’s around here somewhere,” she said, setting off a search by her and another person who worked in the records department. They looked high and low and couldn’t come up with one.
You would think in a medical office with a large elderly clientele that they might anticipate someone falling or passing out in the locked bathroom at some point. And just how would you get them out in that emergency?
Then the technician who worked in the lab adjacent to the bathroom asked me if I wanted to look through the tiny little door in the wall where patients would leave their urine sample cups when they were done.
It wasn’t much bigger than a post office box, but at that point it was my only option for finding out what the heck was going on in there.
I gratefully thanked him and went to the little door and opened it.
I felt like Alice in Wonderland, really not knowing quite what to expect.
I peered through into the bathroom and there directly in my line of sight was my mother, still perched atop the porcelain throne. I called to her and fortunately got her attention. I asked her what was the holdup.
She sheepishly said she just couldn’t seem to “go.” She’d gone to the bathroom right before we left for the appointment and it seemed the well was dry, so to speak, which is funny because with all the blood pressure meds. she takes, she often complains about having to get up in the night at least a couple of times.
Maybe it was performance anxiety.
At any rate, I told her to forget about it and put herself back together again so she could unlock the door. She did and we left the office shortly afterward, sans a completed urine sample.
I hope they eventually found their key to the bathroom.
Maybe the Mad Hatter has it.