By Fred Moreno
April 1 is the day I have chosen this year for all my doctors’ appointments. I mean all. This ritual reminds my family of the exercise class at Curves, but instead of going from one exercise apparatus to another, I go from doctor to doctor all in a matter of 12 hours. To explain how this works, let me give you my itinerary from last year.
I strategically book the appointments in July so I get the exact date and times that are necessary for me to complete the circus—I mean the circuit. Last year, I began with my gastro doctor because one of the blood tests involved fasting; that appointment was the earliest at 7:30 a.m. A few buildings away on Stewart Avenue, I had my cardio appointment at 9 a.m., then it was on to my primary care doctor at 10:30 a.m. Next, I drove down the road to Hempstead Turnpike for a quick check by my podiatrist at noon. I say “quick” because I can’t take this guy too long. He thinks he’s funny, but he’s not. Every year he tells me the same stupid mistletoe and tow truck jokes. Yeah, I get it. Now scrape my bunion.
From 12 to 1 p.m., I treated myself to a special lunch to celebrate the fact that my blood test was over. I scarfed down a bologna sandwich and Twinkies making sure I drank at least three bottles of water because my urologist appointment was next at 1:30 p.m. Now my urologist is my favorite doctor because he is funny. He has me you know what in my pants every time I go there.
I was scheduled to see the ENT doctor at 2:30 p.m. Since that office is usually the most crowded, I allowed a gap of an hour and a half between him and my next stop. I made my ophthalmologist appointment at 4 p.m., knowing that he was going to dilate my pupils and I didn’t want to be driving too long wearing three pairs of sunglasses.
By 5:30 p.m., I was at the local pharmacy where it took me a solid half hour to go over the 16 prescriptions I amassed during the day. I remember the pharmacist saying that filling them would take hours so I should come back “in the distant future.”
The biggest mistake I made in my planning was leaving my dentist off the list—and I paid for it. When I finally arrived home, one of my fillings fell out in the driveway. I knew my dentist’s office hours were long over and was considering taking the train and ferry to his home in Connecticut if he was willing to see me. Unfortunately, the ferry back to NY didn’t run after midnight.
I entered the house at approximately 6:30 p.m. and it took me another half hour to update my checkbook. 7 p.m.! My goal was accomplished in 12 hours almost to the minute. I saw seven doctors, had my blood pressure taken four times, was weighed five times and wore three different colored gowns—all with the opening in the back.
In addition, I came home with 18 lollipops for my grandchildren and a dozen tongue depressors which I “borrowed.” They’re perfect to use under unbalanced restaurant tables.
Now for those of you who love my idea of seeing all these doctors in a 12 hour period once a year should know that it is more exhausting than it sounds so I would recommend a stress test before embarking on this medical circuitry. My family thinks I’m nuts doing this every year and suggest I include in my travels the doctor I need the most—a psychiatrist. Perhaps this year I will, as long as I could get an appointment after 7 p.m.. Make that after 9 p.m. See, I was forgetting the dentist again!