After facing an illness, kicking it’s butt, and then… No, wait I spoke too soon. Let’s try again.
I faced an illness which cleverly performed a tactical retreat, waited a few days, and then beat the shit out of me. Don’t you hate it when stories start like that?
Mrs. Curmudgeon, for the fifty seventh time, told me to go to the doctor. I consulted my chart. I’m a nerd. I accept that. I have a little crumpled piece of paper. I’ve been tallying my temperature and attempts to self medicate. (I have a terrible memory. If I take medicine and don’t write it down, twenty minutes later it’s a total mystery if I did or did not take it. You may laugh but without my crumpled piece of paper the only way my addled mind would know I’ve overdosed on Tylenol is when my liver sends me a postcard from hell.)
So what do I gather from my review of my crumpled paper? Temp goes up, temp goes down, took Tylenol here and it worked, took Tylenol there and it didn’t do shit, this other day I said screw it and took whiskey instead, seems like that did no better or worse than the Tylenol, temp goes up, temp goes down, lather, rinse, repeat. Conclusion? I’m going to die.
“I will go to the Doctor.” I croaked. Mrs. Curmudgeon smiled and fled the building.
First of all I live in the hinterlands so there’s no chance in hell I’ll ever get to see an old fashioned doctor. Do they even exist? The best I could do was hope to wheedle an appointment at a “call in” clinic in a nearby town. The alternative is to drive many miles to the nearest “civilization” where I’d wait in line four hours while sick children drooled on me and tattooed freaks noodle with cell phones until my name is called.
Ring ring. “Corporate morass clinic, how can I help you?”
“I’d like to see a doctor.”
“We don’t have a doctor.”
“OK fine, then I’d like my truck’s front end realigned.”
“Um… we’re a clinic.”
“You have no doctors. You have… clinicians? I’m not sure what a clinician would do?”
“The doctor only comes on Mondays. Would you like to see a pediatrician?”
“He’s an educated man, I think he’ll deduce my age.”
“It’s OK, almost half of his visits are adults.”
“So you have a pediatrician to treat adults?”
“If it’s nothing too complex.”
“Can he listen to my lungs and make sure I don’t have bronchitis?”
“Sign me up. Also…”
“Does this mean I get a lollipop?”
The clinic was as divorced from fiscal reality as the rest of America in 2015. Brand new building. Brand new lot. Tall expensive overhead parking lights (on an unlit road?). Spiffy parking lot on which you could land an aeroplane. Nicer siding than any house in town. Well lit sign.
No doctor. No customers.
Obviously somebody got a big ass grant for rural health and wellness through the government or laundered thought the “keep the rednecks alive charitable fund and political PAC”. There are many such edifices all over America. When you’re in a town that could fit in a minivan and the local Post Office is 6,000 square feet it seems the other shoe is forever waiting to drop.
Continued in part 2, where I act like a wiseass.