Last week, I was experiencing some chest pains, so I called my doctor to schedule an appointment. Normally I wouldn’t worry about stuff like that, but it’s probably better to be safe than sorry now that I’m approaching middle age.
As it turned out, my doctor was out of town and wouldn’t be back for a week. But his office gave me the number of another doctor to call. So I called it, set up an appointment and on Thursday went to the new doctor’s office.
“Hi,” I told the receptionist, “I’m here to see the doctor because I’ve been having these chest pains that …”
“Photo ID,” she interrupted.
“Beg your pardon?”
“You have to show me your photo ID.”
“Oh, sure.” I handed her my driver’s license.
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“As I was saying, I’m having these chest …”
“Insurance card,” she said.
“Right.” I handed her my insurance card and she handed me a stack of forms.
“Fill these out and return them to me,” she said.
I took the forms, turned around and noticed, for the first time, that there were no chairs in the waiting room.
“Uh, there don’t seem to be any chairs,” I said. “Where am I supposed to sit?”
“Did you request a chair when you made your appointment?”
“Well, no, I just assumed that there would be some.”
“If you want to sit down, we can provide you with a folding chair, she said. “There’s a $17.99 co-pay.”
“You charge $17.99 for a chair?”
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“We also have lounge chairs in the business class waiting room for $35,” she said.
I paid for the folding chair, sat down, filled out the forms and returned them to the receptionist.
An hour later a nurse came along to say the doctor was ready to see me. She led me to an examination room, told me to strip down my underwear and sit on the examination table.
Half an hour later she returned.
“You’ll have to leave,” she said.
“Wait, what?” I asked.
“The doctor has another patient to see and the rest of his day is booked, so you’ll have to leave.”
“But I have an appointment,” I said.
“Sir, I’m asking you to leave.”
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“I don’t understand.”
“Sir, if you’re going to be belligerent I’ll be forced to call someone to remove you.”
“I shouldn’t have to leave.”
A moment later, two other nurses burst in, grabbed my arms and dragged me out of the examination room.
“What kind of an operation are you running here?” I shouted as they forced me through the waiting room and out the door. “You can’t treat people this way.”
“Why not?” one of the nurses shouted back. “It works for the airlines.”