A friend of mine threatened me with physical harm if I left the story unfinished from the other day (which would be fine with me since she would have to come over here to do it). I will attempt to do so now, but my muse is already sleeping. It is past eleven, and I should not be at the computer but in bed.
I finally made it to the ortho guy, no thanks to the x-ray man. I still don't know where he told us to go, but we wound up going back to the GP and talking to her, and then she told us another ortho-guy to go to, even called to set up an appointment. She hung up the phone and said I would be number twenty, not to go for a couple of hours.
A couple of hours later, I walked in. Piles of people filled the hemorrhoidal benches lining the hallway. I sat down, somewhat painfully since hurting my foot doing something stupid had been immediately preceded by hurting my butt doing something stupid. I had brought along the book, A Tale Of Two Cities, to read, and I was soon immersed in the emergent plot. Jarvis Lorry was just bumping along the Dover road talking to a ghost when the door swung open. I saw everyone look at the number in their hands, and someone walked in.
"I ought to get me one of those numbers," says I to myself. Probably at the front desk.
"Nu!" She smiled at me pathetically and handed me the number 20 on a card. Wonder how she knew I was the American who was going to be coming in? She then spoke something else to me in very slow Romanian that I understood no better than anyone else's fast Romanian, and she pointed at the door where the doctor was letting in another patient. When I looked sufficiently confused, she said, "THREE. DOOR. THERE."
I thanked her and walked back to my bench. On the way, I asked someone what number they were on. An old man and woman simultaneously answered "six" and "seven." They began arguing about which number had actually just been called when I said it didn't matter, that I was number twenty. They looked at me either with a look of deep pity or, more likely the look I get often that says, "What on earth did you just say?"
In a small recess in the hallway I found some padded chairs. Since I was going to be there a while, I thought I might as well be comfortable. It seemed unlikely that I would make it in before closing, and I began wondering if I should hold on to my number until the next day or perhaps come early enough to jockey for a better position. The benches began clearing after an hour or two. I moved into the hallway proper, closer to the door. Still about four or five people waiting. The front desk lady came walking down the hall and seemed surprised to see me there. I guess she said something like, "What are you still doing here?!"
It made me feel like I had done something wrong.
She immediately poked her head in to the doctor, then poked her head back out to me and told me to do something that I did not understand but thought it best to smile and agree with. As she walked away, the man next to me, number 18, was motioning for me to go in. I poked my head in and interrupted some private meeting, it looked like. They told me to wait. I sat back down next to 18. I tried to explain to him that, sine he was #18 and I was #20 (I now felt like we were inmates in a French prison camp), that he should go first. He just smiled and shook his head. Then that other Romanian look that says, "You really just don't get it, do you?"
Look. The last thing I wanted was to be the American who got special treatment at the orthopedic office. A nurse opened the door from within and said something I took to mean next. I motioned to the other guy and he motioned to me. Somehow he communicated that he was more serious about this than I, so in I went.
It is my bedtime. I will have to finish this later.