i abhor waiting. the reason i don't normally go see doctors thru my HMO or not go have check up at all if i can help it. torturous images of waking up early at ungodly hour of 7am on a weekend, hopping from one clinic to another that are buildings apart, filling up various forms till my fingers get arthritic, endless waiting line after line for my turn starting with the elevator, HMO office and then to my appointment with the almighty physicians. i don't know where i stole the patience, but this time, i sucked it all in till i turned blue.
when i was in grade school, i wanted to be a doctor. everyone either wants to be a doctor or a lawyer. it just seems to be the most prestigious profession then - save lives, make people well. what can beat that right? *later in life i will learn that making people healthy and rich is far more important* come high school, our family experienced the great depression and i faced so-called reality. it forced me to rethink my doctor dream. araw araw ba naman galunggong at sardinas kinakain mo, e hindi ka ba naman mapapashift ng career plan? nope, hindi ko naman naisip maging mangigisda. hehe. i downgraded my dream from doctor to nurse. *wag pong mao-offend ang mga nurse friends ko pls. peace tayo :)* tuition is cheaper and can easily work abroad (or so i thought). when my UP dream was within reach, i had to decide again. mamili ka, nurse sa others na school or non-quota course basta UP?
fast forward and am still in this godforsaken line of waiting. after UP, i thought i've seen the worst in pila. obviously i haven't tried riding mrt/lrt then. the pila of all muddahfuckenbahdtweep pila.
when the doctor's assistant finally let me in the room, time stood, arms crossed. dim lights not for effect, but just poor lighting, yellowed diplomas laminated on wood, slightly tattered on the edge synthetic maroon leathered seats, waxed dark red floor if not vinyl design fading, huge varnished wooden table topped with thick clear glass and various wornout notes underneath. one must not miss the black and white sepia toned grad pics of their grown up kids, grand kids and of spouses in filipiana outfits. everything looks, feels and smells dated. i had this eerie feeling i'd be looking meryll streepish by the time i leave the room.
the doctors rarely have computers in their office. and when i replied that i work in IT, they are quick to admit they didn't really adjust to the tech stuff yet. the doctor patiently listened to my nonsense sounding complaints i call symptoms. he meticulously examined my breathing, sight, ears, vitals, etc. unhurriedly wrote down whatever was useful from my blabbering. he took time understanding my concerns. and by the time he shared me his findings, it was with clarity and credence that i kinda felt silly for even making a big F of my minor ills. he clearly explained the purpose of each item in the prescription making sure i am crystal with the instructions. i felt so taken cared of i would have hugged him and called him dad if i were the tactile kind. sniff. sniff.
i shook his warm, veiny hand and realized, the doctor and i, we are galaxies apart. i live with my brain cells and skin pores always racing for the multitasking i've been programmed to do. slowing down i am convinced will make me sicker. the good doctor lives in his universe of thoroughness backed not just by science but by remarkable patience anchored on decades of experience. for his case and his patients, slow is good. i opened my bag to put in the prescription. with it i also opened a question that will remain open for a long time. life is finite if not short, so what am i rushing for?
i left the doctor's room, nostalgia still rubbing on my skin. walked past the pissed, the angry, the sleepy, the worried, the busy, the hungry, the wondering faces that make up the long line. stopped by the restroom before finally going home. i looked at my face. it bore not the face of meryl streep as i had initially feared, but that of someone who finally learned the wisdom of worth the wait. =)