My first mistake was making an appointment to discuss cognitive function and memory loss. My second was to show up on time.
Tata: I have to ask a delicate question.
Receptionist: Why are we whispering?
Tata: Because I have to ask a delicate question. I had a 2:30 appointment with the clinician. A little while ago, he appeared in the doorway and a creepy guy sitting near me got up and followed him. It’s now 2:50 and if the creepy guy was not seeing the clinician, where did they both go? Is it possible the clinician double-booked his appointments?
Receptionist: I…I will go find out for you what happened.
The look of horror on her face told me a few things I didn’t expect to hear. She got up and disappeared down a hallway and a minute later the clinician appeared through the leaves of a potted plant near me. He said something astounding.
Young Doctor: Can you stay for a 3:15?
Tata: Absolutely not.
Young Doctor: You can’t? We’re very busy.
Tata: No. You can call me in the morning at my work number, if you think we should reschedule.
Young Doctor: I’m seeing people every fifteen minutes to accommodate everyone.
Tata: Nathan, we are not off to a good start.
My knitting and I flounced off in a huff. A few hours later, Nathan called on my cell phone. It was not morning and I was not at work. This time, I was prepared to torment him properly.
Tata: Nathan, if you make an appointment with me, you should be ready to see me at that time.
Nathan: I’m very sorry.
Tata: If we can’t agree on that, there’s no sense agreeing on anything else.
Nathan: You’re right, you’re right. I’m very sorry. Sometimes technology gets away from me.
Tata: Nathan, I burned a vacation day to see you.
Nathan: You did? That makes it worse.
I did not say, “Pumpkin, I had 50 of them and my department head has lectures me about dragging my ass outside and vacationing like I mean it.” What, are you kidding? I’m training this kid to take his patients seriously.
Tata: Fine, what sort of time commitment are we talking about for this appointment?
Nathan: The first one is a brief interview, then there are two three-hour tests. We should probably spread those out. The first one we can do by phone.
Tata: That sounds great, since I can recline and eat bonbons. At which, I am great.
Nathan: I get out of clinic at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Is that a bad time to speak?
Tata: That is an excellent time to talk on the phone since I am guaranteed to have discouraged everyone else from talking to me on the phone after dinner. Unless someone’s dead. That better be the reason someone calls me at night.
Nathan: Let’s call it 8:45, then.
Tata: Wednesday, 8:45 it is. Now there’s just one last thing about this cognitive testing you’ll have to know.
Nathan: What’s that?
Tata: You’re going to have to forgive me if I forget to answer the phone.