As Good as It Gets
6 minutes early. Lovely.
Without looking up from her screen, the receptionist, wearing a black and white sleeveless leopard print top, red rimmed glasses and the yellowest, yellow hair tied back painfully tight asks for Max's DOB, next of kin, doctors address...all fine, “take a seat”. Still no eye contact. I hold fast stubbornly until she finally looks up confused and asked me to take a seat again. It’s the principle of the thing and I’m feeling like I need a bit of a win today. An easy win granted, and an almost unnoticeable win but the joy is in the small things right? So dear receptionists, just so it’s clear, eye contact is not time consuming it isn’t exhausting it just makes us feel human, it matters. And so here we are again. Max is already back on his ipad. Minecraft calls and he sets fire to a tower with a newly selected lava block.
The magazine pile is eclectic as usual in the Maxillofacial Clinic. One National Geographic (I read that edition last time), Gardeners World Magazine, Patchwork and Quilting, 8 copies of Classic Scooterist (I wonder which doctor donated that little aspirational stash?), 2 copies of My Weekly, Puzzles Galore!, Simply Knitting, Select Sudoku and the compulsory tattered copies of Woman’s Weekly. However, I do think Military Modeling and French Property News are a little lateral even for Cambridge. I wonder if hospital magazine piles vary from area to area? I’d love to know.
2 minutes late now. This appointment is to check Max's bone graft and his new blue braces. Every time we've been in this particular waiting room before, Max always asks the same two questions...Will I get back to school in time for lunch? And will it hurt as much as last time? A big hug instead. I don’t answer either question, I never do. I don’t like to break promises.
8 minutes late. Today the chairs are set up in rows all facing each other. Characters of note include a round woman with a two tone haircut. She needs to get her roots done but I don’t think it’s a priority, she doesn’t look happy. She has a walking frame and a shockingly old looking dog with enormous eye brows. There is also a little boy who has yet to learn how to use his “inside” voice. I'm guessing he's quite new to all of this because his mum is catching everyone's eye and smiling politely as new patients take their seats. This is not the approved etiquette.
There is something perfect about a waiting room because until they call Max’s name my delicious fantasies can keep swimming through my mind like an overloaded washing machine.
The first one is a classic…The consultant takes off her glasses, puzzled, “I’m not sure why Mrs Marek but everything has magically corrected itself.”
A research team huddle around Max’s bed, “There’s a new treatment Mrs Marek with extraordinary results, completely pain free too.”
Or…well you see what I mean. I think that’s why people buy lottery tickets. They know they won’t win but it’s the minutes or days that you have until the draw that allows you to dream that everything’s going to be OK. The minutes I’m currently stealing in this waiting room are also allowing me to imaging that it’s all going to be OK.
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