Almost every chair had been taken in the spacious waiting room when I arrived for my 10:00 appointment. I checked my watch. Yes, I was early, and so were about twenty other patients ahead of me.
This was just a check-up, and since I didn’t have a virus or a fever, I was content to wait my turn. The other patients had settled into their waiting modes with magazines and whispered conversations.
Traffic continued one way as patients kept signing in. One elderly gentleman accompanied by an adult son eased through the entrance and to chairs near me. The son signed in the father and was handed the customary clipboard and pen.
He sat next to his father and began asking questions from the clipboard. “What’s your social security number?” No response. “What’s your social security number?” Again, no response. Then in an amplified voice, the son leaned toward his dad and shouted, “What’s your social security number?”
The father reached in his coat pocket, pulled out some forms and in the same amplified voice answered, “ It’s right here.”
I tried not to look, but it was impossible to miss out on any of their questions and answers. The father was 82 years young, still enjoying life, but was to see a doctor about hernia surgery. The receptionist and everyone in the waiting room can verify my story.
However, as the two men continued filling in the spaces, the waiting room was transformed into a classroom. I saw an exemplary demonstration of respect for a parent, and I was given a review in “Good Health Appreciation.”
When the questionnaire was completed, the hernia sufferer continued to talk to his son in a voice any politician would envy.
He was to the point, and he was loud! As he surveyed the large waiting room, filled mainly with senior citizens, he turned to his son and said, “What’s going to happen to all of these old folks?”
He was probably thinking about his own health struggles and the maize of paper work and records associated with health care and hospitalization. The debate over healthcare reform wasn’t helping his frustrations either. His mind must have reverted to younger and more hopeful years because he blurted out, “Thank God for Roosevelt.”
As most of the waiting room audience turned to the senior citizen and smiled, I could almost hear a strain of “Those Were the Days . . .” But Roosevelt is helplessly etched in history, and I don’t know of any political leader on this planet that can alter our nation’s dark descent. That’s why I looked up and said, “Thank God for Jesus.”
About Chris Elkins
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