Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shut Up and Heal!

Angie and I are not morning people by any stretch of the temper, but with Angie I would definitely capitalize the NOT; I might even underline it as well. I'd probably then encrypt that statement and only fork over the decryption key after her second pot of coffee. And all this is under the silly assumption that we actually get the five hours of beauty sleep that we've grown accustomed to over the past seven years of childatude.

The fact that Tommy was up for three hours last night coughing, crying and, for the grand finale, throwing up meant that neither one of us were exactly perky, let alone peachy and keen. In addition to the many, many joys of parenthood, one of them is flipping the coin on who gets stuck on sick duty. As a former squid, my knack for deck-swabbing somehow volunteered me to man the mop and bucket. Thanks, babe.

Before leaving, Angie actually had the audacity to ask me to make her a coffee to go. One telling glare later, Angie was quickly and silently closing the front door. Sans coffee.

After two cups of coffee for me, I called up Angie's address book on the computer and looked up the doctor's number. Organizing a doctor's visit in Germany is never fun and can often take hours to even get through to someone with a pulse, so I allowed myself a third cup before making the call. I was pleasantly shocked and awed when a human picked up on the second ring.

'Hi, my name is Johnson. My son Tom is sick - can I make an appointment?'

'I'm sorry, Mr. Johnson. We have a Peter and a David, but we don't have any record of a Tom. Has he ever been in for a visit?'

'Yeah! Try every second week for the past three years.'

'It doesn't matter, Mr. Johnson, just please bring in his medical card and we'll add him to the system. We don't have any appointments left, but if you come by at 4.30 we should be able to squeeze him in.'

So, yeah. I showed up at the doctor's at 4:30, as prescribed.

'Can I help you?'

'No, but you can try and help my son, Tom. I called earlier - Johnson. I was told to come by around 4:30.'

'I don't know who would have told you that - I've been working all day and we are completely booked. You don't have an appointment?'


'Ummm, okay. Please have a seat in the waiting room, Mr. Johnson.'

After an hour of hanging out with vertically challenged sick-o's, I stormed back to the front desk.

'This is ridiculous! If you couldn't see us, you should have just said that instead of telling me to come in.'

'But I didn't....'

'Look, stop the games, lady! I've got to get back home to my family. Can the doctor see my son today or not?'

'Tell you what - just take a seat over there and I will try to squeeze you in the next time the doctor comes out. Just please don't tell any of the patients in the waiting room.'

As we were waiting, Tommy broke down into a slobbering mass of cranky sickiness. I did what any sane father would do when confronted with such a public display of tears and embarrassment and promptly shoved two sticks of sugar-packed gum into wailing boy's mouth. Yup, that worked.

Eventually, the sacred door to the doctor's room opened and we were ushered in like we were in the witness protection program on the eve before testifying against the Godfather. Not surprisingly, he gave us the expedited version of a check-up and gave the whopping diagnosis that Tommy had 'a cough'. The wise doctor wisely ignored my loud clapping and applauds and instead wrote a prescription for cough syrup. As we were leaving, he kneeled down in front of Tommy and mistakenly tried to be funny.

'You were such a good boy - I would have given you some gummy bears, but since you have a mouthful of gum, there is probably no room for...'

With that, Tommy spat his big wad of gum out. It landed with a splat next to the surprised doctor's boot. The doctor looked at me, not exactly happy. I shrugged, trying my damndest not to crack up. Wisely, the doctor motioned to his nurse, who rushed over wearing latex gloves and scraped up Tommy's response. He then forked over a couple of gummy bears and we left.

After running to the pharmacy, we got home at the same time as Angie. As on any given weekday, Angie made a bee-line to the computer to check her number of friends on Crackbook. That's when she let the hammer drop.

'Why do you have Dr. D's number up? We haven't been there for years.'

It only took a second for the complete hilariousness of it to kick in. I had called our old doctor, who of course had no entry for Tom, since we had moved away long before he was born. I had then threatened and bullied my way into an appointment that we didn't have with our current doctor by trying to convince his innocent receptionist that she must certainly be losing her mind.

My first thought was that I absolutely had to hide this minor screw-up from my wife. My second thought was that I needed to apologize to Dr. W's assistant. I often have second thoughts, so I delivered a box of chocolates to the poor receptionist who was now questioning her sanity. As for Angie, I'm guessing this blog will pretty much let the cat out of the bag. Hi Sofa, long time, no see.