Awaken. Song stuck in head that apparently was the soundtrack of a dream. Remove mask of CPAP machine used to treat sleep apnea, by undoing the clasps. Typically morbid sense of humor reminds self of being on a hospital respirator. Rub sleep out of eyes.
In between bites of breakfast, consult calendar. Regular specialist visit will be today in the late morning. Due to the timing of the appointment, public transportation will be clogged with morning commuters. Expect to be standing the whole way, with no chance for a seat.
Following breakfast, catch up on e-mail, Facebook, latest YouTube viral video, plus general internet cleverness. Wonder what in God’s name I’m going to write about today.
Walk to bus stop. Crowd consists primarily of professionals in suits and ties or dresses and high heels. They nervously pace back and forth, as if grimly preparing for battle. Half tilt their heads downwards, concentrating with observable effort on their Blackberries. The other half are completely silent, no doubt contemplating a busy day at work.
Bus arrives. Upon entrance, the unmistakably astringent smell of urine wafts through the inside of the vehicle. The source is a homeless man, who constantly talks to himself or at least to no one in particular.
The homeless man is eventually informally diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic off of his medication. He becomes loud and bellicose, demanding to be let off the bus immediately. Afraid for the physical safety of the riders, the bus driver swiftly acquiesces to his demands. As the bus pulls away, jettisoning the man in the parking lot of a gas station, he flails his arms wildly, still screaming threats.
Arrive at scheduled doctor’s visit. While crossing the street, observe a near-accident between two cars in one of DC’s famous traffic circles. The driver of one of the cars was confused about which green light was hers. It’s a not-uncommon occurrence.
Wade through a sea of chattering college students present on all sides. Wonder for the eight millionth time if I ever looked that young, conceding quickly that I simply must have.
The medical center elevator is slower than Christmas, or at least not much faster. A backlogged crowd gathers, having waited somewhere between five and ten minutes to board. They pack in together as tightly as sardines.
Checked in, I wait for my name to be called. A large television monitor broadcasts cable news. I feel nervous and jittery somehow, for reasons I do not understand.
I am escorted to an exam room. First, however, my weight is measured, as is my blood pressure. The nurse, while exiting, draws a curtain across the entrance to the room. This signifies that the room is occupied by a patient.
The specialist finally arrives. He arrives with a doctor-in-training, a woman of Arabic descent wearing a headscarf. I take care to seem as though I am talking to both of them simultaneously, engaging the two in dialogue.
An impromptu ultrasound is scheduled. A slimy, colorless gel is smeared on a part of my extremities. The machine’s wand records a general picture of what the specialist wishes to see more in detail. It’s a messy, sometimes uncomfortable process, but fortunately passes quickly.
Information from prior tests conducted a week or two in the past have already been discussed by now. New tests are scheduled. New tests are always being scheduled. I am to return two days later to the lab downstairs. I always get lost while exiting the building, but find my way out of the maze eventually.
My wallet is already overflowing with appointment cards. One more seems sadly appropriate. I count seven already tucked into one of the folds.
Back to the bus stop. I allow myself a brief moment of self-pity. When will this ever end?
I board the bus, which then quickly accelerates, nearly throwing me towards the rear of the vehicle. This sort of behavior is a DC trademark. Everyone’s in a hurry.
I’ve returned home. Today is Monday. I will have appointments scattered throughout the rest of the week, like usual. The cycle will repeat itself.