Time to Pick a New Kupat Cholim

Shalom from my beautiful mirpeset (balcony) overlooking Rothschild Boulevard, my loyal readers. It is here where I come to write, seeking inspiration for my most recent blog entry. At times, I find myself with writer’s block, wondering from where my latest misadventure will appear. Just as I fear that I’ll have nothing to make fun of, I need only venture down to the local doctor’s office to remind myself that…well…some people on this planet have lost their minds.

I have to admit that I, at times, like many people, can sometimes procrastinate (did you like how I qualified it three times?) Why do we always put off the most important things that we know will bite us in the butt? It’s always the worst stuff like doing your taxes or finishing a paper that we put off till tomorrow. I wish the most serious problems I had were related to not getting around to watching Season 1 of “Entourage” but no, it’s never so simple.

So before the summer, I seemed to have developed a sty on the bottom of my eye. One doctor friend told me to simply cover it with a hot, wet towel but I didn’t like that solution. When I walked into the dermatologist’s office, he immediately told me I needed to see an eye doctor only a couple of days before I was to go to chul. The camp doctor recommended the wet towel again. Fast forward to last week when I decided it was time to deal with this thing that perhaps no one else notices once and for all.

I arrive at the guy’s office just in time for my 6:20 appointment. Would it have killed the receptionist to get off the phone and acknowledge me within the first five minutes? I’m not sure exactly what she was saying but whatever it was, it didn’t stop two people from trying to cut in line.

The woman who didn’t feel the need to deal with me at the doctor’s office.

As I’m waiting, a poor woman also in the waiting room says something to the effect of “This is not ok! I wait for an hour here with my young child and the doctor doesn’t see me?!?! That’s not acceptable!” Poor, poor woman. I should have started to see it coming.

When I walk into the doctor’s office, what do I see? A maintenance guy fixing the machines…you know, the ones you look through while the doctor sits uncomfortably close on the other side. Before my tuchus can even think about sitting down, the guy says “No, I em soh-ry…I ken noht see you.” But you don’t even need the vision machines, it’s just this little thing! “No, of course I need them, I ken not see you. You ken wait outside, I em waiting just ez you ahr, ez you ken see.” So should I wait here, come back later, or what? “Go hev a cup of coffee and come beck in thehr-tee minutes.” What??? Would it have killed someone to place a phone call to let me know not to come in? Seriously, what the hell??? What if I had traveled 45 minutes to see this doctor? What if I had missed an important meeting? What if these questions weren’t ridiculous? All I could think of was George Costanza at the Chinese restaurant after the other guy cuts in line for the pay phone: “We’re living in a society!” (And how is it possible that in 2007, this clip isn’t on Youtube? I’m speechless.)

When I came home ranting, my roommate Rotem at least unintentionally made me laugh with his Middle Eastern advice. YOU HEV TO SHOUT ET THEM!!! TELL THEM YOU WANT TO SEE A DOCTOR NOW OR YOU WILL SUE!!! THEY ONLY AHN-DER-STEND SHOUTING!!!Happy New Year, everybody!

Fine-so I call this morning and am fortunate enough to reschedule with the same guy. Am I the only oleh who is unfamiliar with the waiting room etiquette at the doctor? Outside the door is a list of patients’ names, each holding a 10 minute slot. I feel like sometimes you’re supposed to sit there and wait for them to call you in, and other times, you’re a freier if you don’t knock on the door to see what the hell’s going on inside. At least you’re always in the company of other people who are also hoping to G-d that their name is called within 30 minutes of the time they were actually scheduled.

So I enter the room and the dude says, “Yes, I remember you from Thursday.” Thanks for the personal touch, Doc, now gimme the news. Dude sits me in the chair, checks out my eyes for roughly 30 seconds with his new and improved equipment, and begins the following conversation:

Dr. Frankenstein: “You have a bacteria called blapheritis.”
Me: “Huh?”
Dr: “And you have had it for 20 years.”
Me: (trying not to start laughing at his diagnosis) “What??? 20 years? How do you know?”
Dr: “How old do you think I am?”
Me: “Ummm…I don’t know, fifty?”
Dr: “So how do you know?”

At this point, I’m looking around for Ashton Kutcher hiding behind the potted plant.

TWENTY YEARS??? What, did he count the rings in my cornea?

Dude then goes on to tell me that fortunately I’m still young and this will not be life-threatening. Thanks, Captain Obvious. Good luck getting published this year. He also tells me that my other eye (the one without the sty) is even worse and if I don’t treat it will have more stys, droopy eyelids, and discomfort. So what’s the cure, Dr. Feelgood? I can buy some kind of eye solution called Lid Care or, hey, just use baby shampoo! All I have to do is lather it up and rub right, left, right, left on my eyes, “jahst like you ahr brush-eeng your teeth.” All right, you quack, everybody knows you brush your teeth in circles! BUSTED! WHERE’S ASHTON?

When the conversation turns to lenses and his recommendation that they don’t go well with blapheritis, I ask him incidentally how much laser surgery costs. “Fifteen hundred dollars…per eye.” Jesus! That’s like 1000 falafels!!! I guess when you get laser done, you better really do your homework beforehand. Here’s some advice: if your guy says “yiyeh b’sedeeeeeer!” or “no proh-blem!” during your initial consultation, flee the room immediately.

Fine, Doc, I get it. I do my best to not laugh in this guy’s face (even as I’m furiously taking notes to post this on my blog) and get out of there. When I return home to give Rotem the update, he says “my friend hed thees. You mahst take care of eet or you weel hev droopy eye.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? He’s in on it too? And if this is all real, how come a Google search for “blapheritis” results in only FIVE things, two of which only provide information on the domain name? WHAT ONLY BRINGS UP FIVE RESULTS IN GOOGLE??? For G-d’s sakes, I just Googled “cat eats falafel” and it came up with something! THIS IS A FREAKING MEDICAL CONDITION!!!

Whatever, I’m now the proud owner of a bottle of baby shampoo. Was this post too sarcastic for the day after the Day of Atonement? How would you deal? I better go clean my eyes, I can’t afford to go blind. Especially since I want to rent “Entourage.”

Next day: See comments below for breaking health news from a loyal reader. I’m going to be really upset if this doctor was right. That means I can’t make fun of him anymore.

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