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As Long as We Remember...

November 6, 2005

Mom and the Bozo

Tom McLaughlin

Humor by Tom McLaughlin

"Who is the head clown in this circus" I yelled after banging on the glass separator between the receptionist and the patients in mom's heart doctor's office.

"I am the office manager," said a girl who I swear was 12.

"I don't want to see you, I want to see the head medical Bozo," I yelled again.

"That would Dr. Cuthbert (names have been changed to protect me from a lawsuit) she said, eyes getting wider.

"Send that clown out to see me," I continued my tirade.

They all scurried to the back room to cover their butts and get the stories straight. Meanwhile, the other patients in the waiting room all nodded their heads approvingly. All gave me the thumbs up and indicated I was doing the right thing.

I waited for about five minutes and told the other patients I had to return to the emergency room where mom had been rushed a few hours earlier. I asked them to give Doctor Clown the message. I used the word "clown" quite frequently to avoid spewing gutter language that I felt was more appropriate.

I had taken mom's blood pressure and pulse rate almost every morning. Today the pulse had jumped to 130 (normal is around 70) and continued to climb. I had tried to call the above-named heart doctor's office but received no answer. The Home Health nurse came in and called on the back line, a phone number reserved for health professionals, but it was either busy or no answer. Finally, she called 911, over the protests of my mother, and related medical terminology to the dispatcher.

We had just gotten a very small Yorkshire puppy, about 13 weeks, to cheer up a rather drab and depressing cancer scene. As a joke, I put up large "Beware of Dog" signs on the outside of the townhouse.

The paramedics came in record time and the first group rushed in towards mom asking me where the dog was. Since I didn't know, I yelled at senile Dad to find the dog. They kept looking around warily as they got the I.V. and Oxygen into mom.

Next came two police cars blazing along with animal control. I kept yelling for Dad to find the puppy. Then, we found her peeing on the carpet after many efforts to paper train.

I yelled "No! No! My Ya," just as the police came in also looking for the dog, who I believe the paramedics thought was an untrained pit ball or Rottweiler because of all the yelling between Dad and me.

The dog fit easily in the palm of my hand. After relief spread through out the five or six members of the Ocean City emergency services, they brought mom down two flights of winding stairs into the ambulance.

Before all this occurred, I was at the same heart doctor's office to get refills on important heart prescriptions. I had brought the list to the receptionist, who was a little older than the 12-year-old above. I made sure she understood that I needed the medicine by Friday (this was Wednesday) and would she please call CVS and have them ready.

I told her three times to make sure she understood, and thought about talking to her in Chinese as well, but she reassured me over and over again there would be no problem. I gave no further thought until I went to pick up the medication on Friday evening.

You guessed it. The pharmacist was very helpful as we dialed every number available for the heart doctors but kept getting the recording "if this is an emergency, dial 911." And something about office hours.

Luckily mom had a refill for the prescription we needed most, so the crisis was averted. On Monday, I went to the same office and gently told them of their error and to please give me the scripts for the medicine.

The doctor had not yet come in, he was due at 9 and it was 10:30, and neither had anyone from his eight member group. They just didn't care.

This was the fuel for my launch above. During the wait, I walked around to the back of the building where the doctor's sneak in to avoid the waiting patients and saw the door close just as I got there. The hood of the $100,000 Mercedes was still warm. I fingered a key in my pocket but a cooler head prevailed.

I am now looking for clown costumes and when I have time, will walk back and forth in front of the office informing the patients they are better off going to Ringling Brothers than this bunch. But I just don't have time.

Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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