By April 12, 2020

The Strange Case of the Doctor With No Patients


By Chris Prickett — We’ve all experienced it. We punctually arrive for a doctor appointment, only to wait 45 minutes so the doctor (or maybe just the physician’s assistant) can give us the 5-minute once-over, then it’s off to the next patient. 

Sucks, huh? Well, you know what’s worse? You’re about to journey into… COVID-Zone.

I expected the routine visit to my hip doctor to be canceled due to all the physical distancing, but no, my doc was still seeing patients. I arrived at a patient parking lot that was empty, though the employee lot on the side was full. As I walked through the door, I observed both sides of the waiting room were empty. OK…

The receptionists (three of them) all greeted me like bank tellers on a slow day, practically pleading for me to sit at their station. I chose the middle one, as to seem neutral. Once checked in, I barely had time to sanitize my waiting room chair before being whisked away to the exam room. 

A very friendly, and somewhat chatty nurse got my vitals and commenced with telling me more about the history of sphygmometers than I thought I cared about. Sensing she was losing me, she shifted to recalling her recent family vacation. 

Fortunately, the doctor walked in just as she was setting up the slide projector.

Since I usually see the PA, I hardly recognized the guy who installed my hardware. I’d previously only met him twice, and one time he wore a mask. Pleasant fellow. 

We discussed, at length, my progress and prognosis, all while he was drawing me cool pictures and graphs. “Wow, he’s being very thorough!” I thought to myself. 

Thirty minutes in, he starts talking about the wonders of meditation in healing, and it occurs to me that this poor guy is just lonely! He usually has a full schedule of surgeries and appointments, being a specialty doctor. But while healthcare professionals in hospitals dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks across the country are overworked and putting their lives on the line, this one is just sitting on the sideline hoping his coach will call his name. 

I figured I could do my part and spend time with the guy. It was a nice long visit. Turns out the poor fella always wanted to be a clog dancer.


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