Shaindle reflects on a past doctor's appointment.
Shaindle Schmuckler spreads her energy and humor as a regular contributor to the Atlanta Jewish Times.
Once upon a time, on a lovely spring morning, I was reading House Beautiful magazine while waiting to hear my name called to visit with my doctor. The wait lasted long enough for me to read the magazine from cover to cover and lose all track of time.
Suddenly, a mysterious unmarked secret door opened. A nurse stepped out with a pasted smile on her face singing (a bit off key, I might add). “Mrs. Smuker, Mrs. Shumaker, oh I’m so sorry,” she says in her sing-song off-key voice. “How do you pronounce your name?”
I respond in a way that my sweet deaf cousins could understand, slowly and clearly, “It’s Sch-muck-ler,” I say. “It’s a mouthful, I know,” I add apologetically. “Wait until I tell you my first name!” I say smiling through gritted teeth.
Right then and there I am happy I lied about my age on the form I fill out every single time I go to a doctor’s office. Yes, I lied, so whatcha gonna do about it!?
In the room where we wait for the doctor on the examination table, which is so high I must climb up as though I am a little girl sitting in a high chair again, a room which is usually so cold I could make a snowman, the nurse transfers the information from the form I have diligently completed to the computer.
By the way, her chair is much closer to the ground, and it’s a spinning chair no less. One day I will boldly sit in that chair and spin around, with my feet straight out in front of me.
Now I ask you: Why don’t they have a form that automatically feeds the computer? She asks questions that I have memorized from the millions of times (OK, maybe one hundred times) other nurses have asked these identical questions. But I am nothing if not polite, so I respond with a tight little smile.
“The doctor will be right with you” she informs me. Who is she kidding? The doctor will certainly NOT be right with me. The good doctor might be with me eventually, but not RIGHT with me. Thank goodness I swiped a magazine from the waiting room, so I would have something to do while I am waiting for the doctor to be right with me. Usually I can complete the “five books.” Today however, I barely get through the article on spring decorating ideas.
The doctor arrives. We greet each other; he sits on his rolling, spinning stool checking the information on the form. I see a little smile creep onto his face, and I watch it grow bigger and eventually into a little guffaw.
What’s he laughing at I wonder? What’s so funny?
“Are you mathematically challenged?” he asks me. I look at him aghast! “Mathematically challenged?” I repeat, stalling for time to think. “No, I don’t think so, why do you ask?” “Well,” he replies, “I see you put your age as XX.” (You thought I would slip up and divulge the number didn’t you dear readers? Be assured, I did not just fall off the turnip truck!) “However,” he continues, “there seems to be quite a disparity between the date of birth and your age.”
I don’t get it! My friend has never gotten caught. Do I have a neon sign that flashes Pinocchio nose on my forehead?
Every year my sisters Maggie, Joycie and I have sister reunions. One year we were at Maggie’s home, where we cooked, ate, hiked and watched movies every night. We are all lovers of movies as was our mom. Almost every day after school we would come home and the four of us would watch “The Early Show” movies on TV.
One morning at Maggie’s during breakfast, I proposed a toast to us. Included in my toast was a request to officially change our birth orders. We talked about this life-altering topic with the appropriate reverence.
After the coin flip, I became the youngest.
I think it may be hereditary. I inherited this gene from my Mom z”l, who I feel sure gave whatever age she felt at that moment when filling out her forms.
We know she died at a young age, but just how young is not quite clear.
So, for the last time, don’t ask because I won’t tell.