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Amy O’Leary

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As if the last month of the year is not jam-packed enough for me with a busy work schedule and trying to get ready for Christmas, I have 3 annual doctor visits that happen every December. It's my health exam trifecta and I keep my fingers crossed that each doctor's visit leaves me with good news.

I have my annual breast exam, or Mamo Jamo Gram as I call it. I either hop on the bus that parks in the Valor Health parking lot, or go inside an office for the exam. So far, the girls are fine, thank goodness. Next up is my annual OB-GYN wellness appointment. At this visit, my doctor sits down with me and talks to me one on one. She exams my business district, asks about my mental health too (I still have most of my marbles!) and then I have blood drawn for standard tests.

The third annual visit is to the dermatologist. This too is a wellness exam where my epidermis is checked over for any irregularities. I look forward to all three of these appointments because I am proactive in my quest for maintaining good health.

When I called to set up my dermatology appointment, they said they had one opening left before the end of the year, and it would be in Boise with a doctor, different than my usual doctor that I normally see at their Eagle office. And it would be at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday after Christmas. I was fine with that arrangement. And I received no fewer than six reminders about my appointment: 3 text messages, 2 e-mails, and 1 phone call. I assured them that I would be there, on time, and that I knew where the office was.

I made it to the appointment with time to spare. The weather cooperated and traffic was light. I chatted with the doctor's assistant, Amanda, changed into a robe, and was assured that the doctor would be with me shortly. Fifteen minutes later, Amanda came into the examining room and announced that the doctor, unfortunately, got caught in traffic and was running late, but as soon as he got there, Amanda would send him right in. No problemo.

Just because I was lucky enough to have smooth sailing on my early commute, doesn't mean that the good doctor would too. I reached for my phone and read the news. Then I checked my messages. And then I started whistling Broadway show tunes. Twenty minutes later, Amanda came back into the room and said that the doctor, unfortunately, had a family emergency that, unfortunately, they were just learning about. Would I like to come back later or reschedule my appointment? I couldn't help myself. I looked at her, puzzled by not 1 but 2 excuses that seem to contradict each other, and laughed. It reminded me of when my kiddos were very young and making up excuses on why they couldn't do their homework/clean their rooms/eat their veggies. I told her, "That sounds like gobbledygook. Either he got stuck in traffic or he has a family emergency. Either way, I'll wait for the doctor."

30 seconds after the door closed, music was piped into the room. It was soft rock, as though REO Speed Wagon would make things better. I couldn't help but chuckle. I fully expected Amanda to come back in and announce that the doctor now had amnesia and didn't remember where his office was. I couldn't help but think of the patients who had appointments after mine. They would all have to wait. Sheesh! I pulled out a pad of paper and a pen and did what I always do when I need to occupy my mind: I started writing down the names of the 50 states. As I was trying to figure out which 5 states I had forgotten, the door burst open, and the doctor was in!

He apologized for being late. He had a nice bed-side manner - chatty and upbeat as he asked me a few questions, then got down to business, giving me a thorough exam. He took care of what I thought was skin cancer on my hand, but wasn't (yay!). He gave me a clean bill of health, which was what I had hoped for.

Doctors visit can be stressful. I guess doctors are human too. And so is their staff. Even though sweet Amanda needed to learn how to pick a lane when it comes to giving excuses for her boss, real or imagined, I didn't mind the wait, and I didn't allow myself to get bent out of shape. If I would have simply been told that the doctor was running late, it would have been fine. I didn't need to hear about traffic, family emergencies or that the dog ate his prescription pad. The older I get, the more patient I have become. I don't mind waiting. Especially if it's good news. Good news is always worth waiting for.

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