Doctor will see you now.


The sun is out.

It is surprising how it has turned around. Years ago, if one was crook, doctors would do home-visits. Before doctor’s arrival, Mother would give the house a peremptory clean-up with the toilet-brush swirling vigorously around the bowl, then a quick flush. All was aired. The kitchen given a quick scan and dishes put away. The patient, one of us children, would lie prone in bed wearing a suitable pallor, indicating the illness was genuine, dispelling any doubt he or she could have gone to the Doctor’s Practice instead.

Most doctors now have moved into collective groups and in my own case it’s almost like going to the pictures. One enters a large building with doors sensing patient’s arrival opening up, before your trembling hand is even within reach of the glass. Germs are well contained within the patient’s own bodily confines. This collective groups of doctors are now called ‘Medical Centre,’ all housed under the same roof. One almost expects the possibility of the Centre  to address other issues as well, perhaps selling vacuum cleaners or prosthesis’.

For the over seventy-five, the driver’s license can only be renewed after an obligatory medical test. One of the questions I faced a few weeks ago was; if nurturing ‘suicidal thoughts’ were obvious. I can’t imagine a patient entering Doctor’s office with a length of rope scanning the ceiling for any suitable hooks to hang oneself from. How does one nurture suicidal thoughts ‘obviously?’

Of the few times I see a doctor, there are always rows of patients seated next to each other in the waiting-room. I am idling some time away trying to figure out their ailments. A bandage here and there makes this guessing easy. It get’s a bit tricker when nothing apparent is visible. Last time I noticed a woman with a very red face as if she had been the aim in a beetroot throwing party. She could have high blood pressure. With healthy men I wonder if they are seeking a repeat prescription for Viagra, especially if they look a bit tense or shifty. I believe Viagra ordered on-line is risky. There have been cases where the Viagra was just an aspirin with the patience of the partner finally running out and romance flagging so sadly.

My Medical Centre waiting room had a number of rooms attached in which the different doctors would see their patients by calling out their names. Of course, with average patient’s age ripening, the hearing aids feature plentiful. That’s why doctors now call out the names much louder than let’s say 10 years ago. It won’t be long and doctors will hold high, boards with names on it.

My waiting room has an aquarium with listless gold-fishes just swimming around oblivious to any ailments or physical shortcomings of the surrounding people. At the bottom of this aquarium nestles a Tudor castle and some plastic trees. What disturbed or factious genius thought up building a castle underneath water and then proceed to drown trees? No wonder the gold-fish are listless. Above this  watery oddity is a TV screen giving patients now a second options in loosing their minds. This TV is showing the local temperature interspersed with a quiz testing medical knowledge. One question asked if flu was caused by bacteria or virus? Most of the questions gave three or four possibilities or answers. One had to guess correctly by answering  a, b, c, or whatever.

The TV is not really looked at. Even the elderly are checking their iPhones now, bent over little screens, little sighs sometimes escape.  Getting old is not without sighs.

Years ago we held wild parties. I remember a woman coming out of our bedroom, totally dishevelled at 4am. She had crashed out on our bed. She woke up and ambled into the lounge-room where some of us were still going on, rambling about politics or the state of the Vietnam war. ‘Is there another cold one in the fridge,’ she asked? We never even knew who she was or what she was doing. That’s how casual it all was. It did not matter, she had played the piano earlier on. Not a care in the world.

Now, I am sitting in a waiting room at a Medical Centre also wearing hearing aids. What’s going on?


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17 Responses to “Doctor will see you now.”

  1. leggypeggy Says:

    Luckily our doctor’s surgery is still at the local shops.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Peggy. I believe some doctors still plug along outside the large corporations which now seem to have taken over a lot of healthcare. Many years ago our family doctor had his surgery inside his own house which gave it all a rather cosy atmosphere. Of course that was sixty years ago. The term ‘family doctor’ has a rather quant ring to it now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. auntyuta Says:

    I very much enjoyed reading all this, Gerard.
    Some fifty years ago or so, when one of our children were a bit sick in bed. we would call the doctor for a home visit. I remember distinctly, that I always took care to make sure a fresh, clean towel would hang next to the wash basin, for I knew, the doctor would always wash his hands after seeing a sick patient!
    I noticed that in our Medical Centre there is no waiting time at all for patients that are obviously in a very sick state. If someone turns up with a very feverish child for instance, the child is being looked at by some medical personal immediately, say in the medical treatment room where there are always some nurses and they can call out a doctor for advice.
    Fish in an aquarium, what a beautiful sight! And so extraordinarily relaxing! In the Sydney Holistic Dental Clinic, that we used to go to, we would be led passed some huge aquarium on the way to the dental surgery. This aquarium always made an impression on me. From the seventh floor of the dental surgery you had a magnificent view across towards Hyde Park. That was really something.
    And as far as long nights go, yes, we’ve been through all this too. From memory, we must still have been in our twenties when sometimes we would not go to bed till 4 am or so.

    Liked by 3 people

    • auntyuta Says:

      Correction: Peter just pointed out to me that the Dental Clinic is actually on the 17th (not the 7th) floor. This certainly makes for a lot more viewing. You can see St Mary’s Cathedral across from Hyde Park!

      Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        I have had some dental work done, Uta. It was the ‘family dentist’ and for 4 fillings plus some de-scaling of gums and jaws, it came to $ 2900.- I am now busily spending lots of time brushing maniacally to try and maintain my healthy mouth.

        We could have gone to Bali for 4 weeks on that money!

        Liked by 1 person

      • auntyuta Says:

        Ditto, here, Gerard. I avoided seeing a dentist for quite some time now by “busily spending lots of time brushing maniacally to try and maintain my healthy mouth.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Same here, Uta. Medical centres generally work very well and most times one is in and out at a surprisingly quick rate. My latest piece of whimsical writing has to be looked at for what it is and hopefully it amuses.
      I do worry though when so many Medical centres are run by huge corporations listed on the stock market. Was it last week that I read that dentists too are now being asked to churn over patients, and are given financial incentives to perform unnecessary procedures in order to increase profits?
      And then the 4 corners ABC program on ‘retirement villages’ and now this class action against Johnson & Johnson by hundreds of women seeking redress on a surgical procedure that left them crippled.
      The best incentive to stay healthy is to enjoy a busy life and eat plenty of fish and veggies.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Amy P Says:

    Amusing account of an often less-than-amusing experience! I can relate to so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I have an appointment today at 11am at the ‘Medical Centre,’ Amy.

      I have a mild thyroid problem (Hypo) and I suspect I need to get it checked again. I seem to fall asleep too often during the day plus a kind of weariness settling in.

      It might just be a result of enduring Australian politics. So much is not being done and yet so much needs doing.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. gerard oosterman Says:

    And the scandals concerning disability services continue. What to make of this?
    Profit before health and care isn’t a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Robert Parker Teel Says:

    I like your essay, and the photo, too. Keeping your sense of humor is good for your health.

    Here in the U.S., we have huge numbers of doctor’s offices, group practices, outpatient centers, “urgent care,” “prompt care,” “immediate care,” “walk-in clinics,” etc. and you need to be on your toes – insurance might not cover it, if you pick the wrong one. It’s all a fortune, too – – even if you have health insurance, the doctors’ bills are now the #1 reason people file bankruptcy in this country. 17% of the GNP.

    A gang of doctors oversees my grandmother, all of them writing prescriptions right and left, a whole of lot of cooks tossing things in the pot. Sometimes they call them “scripts” and I guess they do direct how she acts sometimes. She takes this soup of chemicals, medicines, and psychoactive drugs and has all sorts of entertaining side effects. Luckily I have an aunt who tracks all this and sometimes strong-arms the doctors into conference calls, and brings up drug interactions. So even if you don’t stay up as much, drinking and playing the piano, you can perhaps have some fun hallucinations!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. gerard oosterman Says:

    My thyroid tablets don’t make me hallucinate the slightest but my brain-scan yesterday might explain why. Despite being rolled in this giant micro-wave equipment twice it failed to detect any brain activity.

    I told the secretary behind the desk (there were three of them) I wasn’t going to fork out $125.- for a brain scan if it could not find my brain.
    She let me go and just shrugged it off. “It’s a pretty rare condition,” she mumbled. I thought it was a no brainer no payer, and ran off!

    Glad you’ve got an aunt keeping the doctors in check re your grandmother.

    As for all those American health options, it’s the same here, Robert. They keep going on how we are oversubscribed, but the pills keep on coming. Some chemists sell chocolates and stool softeners at the same time, yet, they are supposed to look after our health. It’s all so much out of control Disney-land now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Robert Parker Teel Says:



  8. vivienne29 Says:

    Good one Gerard. Great finish. I’m lucky – we have a solo GP in our village. His wife is the receptionist and there is a qualified nurse to assist and do the routine checks for scripts. Also a part-time ex-retired GP (who looks a bit like you). You see the entire range of village types – no one ever in a suit. Everyone just pops in. Mrs Doc knows everyone by name and speaks loudly (always has). The TV is always on some dumb commercial station. It’s pretty darn good (except for the TV). This Doc took over from the first ever in the village who finally retired aged about 84. Fortunately they were/are good doctors. We also have a twice weekly pathology service. Sweet.


  9. shoreacres Says:

    I’ve often said that if I needed truly good care, it might not be a bad thing to engage the services of Dixie Rose’s veterinarian. Not only is his bedside manner engaging, he listens to questions, and then answers them plainly.

    Coincidentally, my kitty has been prescribed the very same drug my mother once was prescribed. It seems that gabapentin (aka neurontin) is good for post-shingles pain in humans, and anxiety in kitties. Before I take demon cat in to the doc, she gets a tiny dose, and becomes placid and accomodating. If we have to evacuate for a hurricane this year, she’ll get a dose before that, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      That’s not a silly suggestion, Linda. Often veterinarians have higher medical standards than doctors.
      An animal specialist also has the benefits of euthanizing a beyond help and long suffering animal. Something that has yet to happen here where against all odds someone obviously suffering and begging to be done with, is refused that final benefit and kindness afforded to animals.
      I finally have found a good doctor. He actually goes around in a wheelchair and quite old. He just wants to continue on during two days a week practicing his medical skills. He is inquisitive and I like him.


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