Mom had several appointments today that I chauffeured her to. There was more blood work to be done, another damn MRI and some X-Rays.
What an adventure.
Said adventure took place in the South Jersey Medical Maze and Pop Corn Emporium just off the Highway to Hell in beautiful Congestionville, New Jersey.
Our first fun-filled moment was finding the first office which was located in a labyrinth of other offices that all looked the same. Like a house of mirrors, every door, every walkway, every brick of every building seemed to be an exact replica of the other. Were it not for the kindly woman who worked in the office we were looking for, I fear we'd still be driving the parking lot.
Once we located our destination, we parked and made our way forth.
Inside the sterile, crowded waiting room a television bolted to the wall played nothing but FOX news (why subject sick people to this crap?). Mom's nine-o-clock appointment seemed like nothing more than a tease since they did not call her name until almost ten. Nonetheless after providing the dull eyed receptionist with all of the appropriate insurance cards and whatnot, she was ushered into another room and I was left waiting.
The only thing to read in this place were two year old copies of Time (it's funny when you read outdated news magazines - you kind of feel psychic).
After about twenty minutes, mom emerged, her arm covered in band-aids and we headed off to the next office in the same medical park.
Which of course was all the way on the other side of the massive complex. Thankfully this cookie-cutter building had some prominent signage.
This office provided no television, but serenaded it's patients with easy listening music...oh god If I hear one more Celine Dion song, I might shove hot nails into my ears! Be that as it may, mom had her MRI while I sat next to a man who seemed not to understand that there was this delightful invention out there called, deodorant. Seriously, this guy stank like a salami sandwich left out in the noon day sun! I finally moved away from him and found a seat by the front door. That was OK except for the fact that the door opened in, so every time someone came in, my leg got slammed.
Since this crowded waiting room provided no where else to sit, I wandered outside for a bit, wishing I had some coffee. As I stood staring off into space, I started to smell cigarette smoke. I was shocked to see a confab of doctors, nurses and others huddled about puffing away. After all, this was a medical complex affiliated with a major Cancer hospital ... is there something they know that we don't? Fuck it, I figured, and lit up.
About forty five minutes later, mom was back and said to me, "I'd kill someone for a cup of coffee about now".
"One more stop, and we are Starbucks bound", I assured her.
Back to the car one more time, and this time we made our way to the final office, which as fate would have it, was situated right next to the first office where we had started our day.
Figuring that we were making good time, I thought that since all that is left is some X-Rays we should be done shortly - yeah right.
Yet another dull eyed receptionist who seemed irked by our presence insisted that they did not have my mother set up for an appointment that day. Mom provided the cow behind the desk with the paperwork from the doctor who had set up the appointment, but Missy Udder was having none of it. She said to us, "If it ain't on the computer, it ain't happening." I was sure that this bitch was at the top of her class at the DeVry Institute.
Mom took a deep breath and leaned in close to the woman and said, "Listen, I don't want to be here, but I have Cancer, and have no choice. Now would you please check again, or call the doctor!"
Cow Lady sighed and just then another one of the office staff came up to the desk, so I looked right at her and said, "Hi, sorry to bother you, but this obnoxious woman here says that my mother's tests are not scheduled for today, and that can't be. Do you think you could double check because this woman here is too busy to oblige us. Thanks."
Well new lady shot a look that could have killed at Cow Lady and guess what? Mom was ushered in for X Rays ten minutes later.
About a half an hour later, she was done. Cow Lady was no where to be found - probably out grazing somewhere I assumed.
"Christ," mom said as we walked back to the car, "It's like riding a damn roller coaster."
"More like a house of horrors", I added.
Yes, we did stop at Starbucks, and after we loaded up on a couple of high test cups of joe, I took mom home and during the ride she told me that she did not know what was worse, having Cancer or having to maneuver the crazed medical system. I told her that she should write a book all about this when it is over.
"A book?" She looked over at me incredulously, "When this all over, your father is going to take me on one long expensive vacation!" And then we both laughed, and as if on cue, the clouds that had been hanging heavy in the sky all day broke and just a little bit of sun shone through.