I stumbled through the door, clumsily and one-handedly maneuvering 30 pounds of son/carrier across the threshold while catching the diaper bag with my other hand, just before it leapt off my shoulder and spilled its contents all over the filthy floor.
While I understand the establishment of Well Child and Sick Child Entrances at our pediatrician’s office, I despise the times I’m asked to use the Sick side. Not only does my poor little boy already have a weakened immune system—you are asking me to bring him into an environment sure to be teeming with What’s Hot in the Child Sickness Community. I tried to touch as little as possible as I made my way to reception.
Having checked in, I was about to take a seat, but was struck by a lightning bolt sent by Zeus, god of the brainstorm.
“Excuse me, I was just wondering, do you have some sort of card I can get punched or stamped or something?”
“You know, like a frequent flyer type deal, like they do at sandwich and frozen yogurt joints? Just asking because this is my fourth time here in the last month, so I thought maybe my fifth visit might be free.”
“Um, no, sir. We don’t really do that here.”
“Oh, okay. Just thought I’d ask. You know, maybe you should bring that up with your supervisor. You can say it’s your idea.”
I turned to take a seat, but was once again graced by Zeus’s Wisdom.
“Sorry, I just had another question.”
“I’m not sure if you have this down there in your files, but my son’s a twin.”
“Well, I was wondering if you have any promotions. Like, for multiples. Possibly a buy-one-co-pay, get-one-free? I mean, I know I only have him today—his sister’s with my mom—but this is just for future reference.”
“Um, no, sir. We don’t really do that here, either.”
“That’s cool. No big deal. Just wanted to ask. ‘Cause I’ve been burned before. I’ll get home and present the bounty of supplies I’ve procured to my wife and she’ll look at the receipt and ask if I got the ‘twin discount’ and, of course, I didn’t, because I didn’t ask. Then, I gotta go back to the store and get the discount at customer service. Because we’re on a budget. See, I’m a stay at home dad, so we only have one income.”
“No. We don’t have a multiples discount.”
“All right, no problem. Thanks so much.”
“Okay, sorry, I know you’re busy, and yes, I do see the line forming behind me.”
“What if I decided I wanted to pay more now for certain benefits later?”
“I don’t know.”
“Like a FastPass, like at Disneyland? Let’s say I give you—I don’t know—a hundred dollars, and whenever I come in, I get jumped to the top of the list because I have a FastPass.”
“Sir, we have an appointment system, so we can’t move people’s appointments around.”
“Sure you can. You do it all the time. The last few times I was here, I waited with my sick kids undressed and freezing in the cranked-up AC for an hour, after waiting out here in the waiting room for a half hour, which means I saw the doctor an hour and a half after my appointment time. Plus, you guys can do whatever you want. Have you ever seen that Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry complains about—”
A voice from the patient room door called, “Pseudonymous?” It was the moment every parent waits for—a set of cartoon-themed scrubs actually calling their child’s name to see the doctor.
“Well,” I smiled. “That’s me. Thanks for your help. Good talking to you.”
I nodded cockily at the other waiting parents. My turn, suckers.
When I got in the beach-themed patient room, I was asked to strip down my son except for his diaper. I pulled out a blanket from the diaper bag, wrapped him up, and waited for 45 minutes.
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If not, don’t wait for 45 minutes in the freezing AC. Just check out some other ones. Consider this your FastPass.