“You lost weight!”marveled my co-worker.
“Actually, I’ve been sick.”
“It looks great on you!”she enthused.
Well, rather than wait two weeks for my scheduled physical, I opted to head down to the clinic first thing this morning to submit my blood samples. I ducked out of the rain and into the building at a little after 9:00 a.m., managing to slip into the only working elevator before the doors could rattle shut on me. I hit “4” then, suddenly struck by an uneasy feeling that someone was watching me, I glanced over – and caught a heavy set woman watching me. Well, “watching” isn’t the right word. “Eyeing me as if I’d just eaten her baby” would be more appropriate. I offered a wan, non-committal smile and turned away, enough to dissuade further conversation, but not enough to lose her from my peripheral vision in the event she came at me with a steak knife.
“Where are you going?”she asked.
I glanced down at the only number lit up on the board. 4. There was an awkward pause. I silently cursed the world’s slowest elevator and said: “Four.”
“Is that the dentist?”
“I”m not sure,”I said. I briefly considered telling her I was on my way to the clinic because I’d been feeling under the weather of late and had, just that morning, considered the possibility that my body was reacting to house dust and, thus, had made it a point to vacuum the vents when I got home. But decided against it.
“I’m going to see the dentist,”she said, head bowed, eyes boring through me like a serial killer’s power drill.
“To get my teeth cleaned.”
“I wonder if he’s on the third floor.”
Without so much as a split second’s hesitation, I hit “3”. Just in time. The doors slid open.
“Here ya go!”I said, maybe a little too enthusiastically, holding the door open with one hand and motioning her “Apres vous” with the other.
She stepped out into the hallway and stopped, glanced left, then right, then addressing the wall or some imaginary friend: “I wonder if it’s the…”
My finger was already pressed firmly down on the “Door Close” button. I heard “fourth” as the elevator shuddered and a muffled “floor” as it started its laborious ascent.
As it turned out, there WAS a dentist on the fourth floor. Actually, several. And one clinic. I figured I’d be the first one in but there were already two people in the waiting room. And, I later learned, two people already in the back surrendering whatever life liquid their doctor had requsted. So I ended up waiting for half an hour which I spent pretending to read but secretly trying to guess what those other patients were being tested for. Cholesterol. Glucose. Rabies?
Finally, it was my turn. I was ushered into the back and told to roll up a sleeve of my choice. I went left and, as the nurse tightened the rubber hose around my arm, I felt very much like Popeye Doyle in The French Connection. I chattered on about ambidextrous people and how Theodore Roosevelt could purportedly write completely different things with both hands simultaneously, all the while keeping my eyes straight ahead and, oh so casually, well clear of the procedure. Not that I’m squeamish, mind you. I just generally consider it bad luck for someone to see copious amounts of their own blood.
Finally, she slapped on a band-aid and stepped away. I asked if I was taking a glucose test and she told me it would be covered by the blood sample. Done and done, I thought and, much relieved, grabbed my jacket and started to head out.
Not so fast.
“Here.” She handed me a clear plastic bottle and directed me to the bathroom. Unfortunately, I came unprepared. Actually, not true. Just the opposite. The instructions I’d received had specified “nothing to eat or drink for ten hours before testing”. Noting my hesitation, she disappeared around a corner, then reappeared moments later with a glass of water. I always find these sample requests confusing. The specimen container they give you is always too big and I’m never exactly sure how much they’ll need. Too little and I’d probably risk not giving them enough and having to come back for another round. Too much and it might seem like I was showing off. Anyway, I eventually fulfilled my obligation and headed out, relieved that part of the worst was over.
Presumably, if the results are calamitous, I won’t have to wait until my scheduled end of the month appointment to receive the bad news.
Oh, and add “twitchy eyelids” to my list of symptoms.
Okay, I’m off to vacuum my vents.