Yesterday I was at the doctor's office, sitting on the examination table for quite a long time when I heard voices of two men outside the door. The older man sounded upset, and I realized it was my doctor arguing with one of the interns. Their voices were pretty loud, enough for me to hear every word, which was weird because I was on the opposite side of the wall, in a room with the door closed. The doctor was obviously on his way in to see me. He told the younger man, practically yelled actually, that he had no right to embarrass him in front of his patients.
"How dare you ask if I'd like to speak to the girls' mother. Her 15-year-old daughter just got out of surgery and you really think I'd rather make dinner plans than speak to her mom?"
I moved on my table to face my ear to the door, feeling slightly guilty about being able to hear their whole conversation, but also relieved to get outside of my own mind and listen to someone else's issues for a while.
"I saw a private number on my cell phone," the older doctor continued, his voice rising. "Do you have any idea how many attorneys and athletes call me every day? Do you? That call could have been anyone--how was I supposed to know it was a personal call?"
The other doctor mumbled something about not trying to imply anything--that he just knew the mother was worried. The older doctor didn't like this response one bit.
"You really think I don't care, don't you? I looked for her in the waiting room, I went to the cafeteria, I called her on her cell and she didn't pick up. I couldn't find her."
At this point the younger doctor said something about patient complaints and the older doctor simply flipped a shit. I sat in the room staring at my shoes, rotating my ankles, and drawing the alphabet with my toes, still a little embarrassed, but also intrigued. I never think of doctors having fights or even problems for that matter. I'm sure they have a lot of issues to contend with, way more than the average person in fact, and yet seeing them in their clean, white coats with their "Dr." pins on their chests, it's like they're perfect angels, drifting along in a sea of hand sanitizer.
The doctors continued their arguing, and like a real self-involved person I started outlining the review I would write on Yelp if I was so inclined to go home and type it. Something along the lines of "very nice secretaries, top-notch facility, treated famous athletes, but left me in the exam room for twenty god damn minutes to argue with an intern about dinner reservations."
Suddenly the door clicked open and there stood my doctor--his white jacket, his clean pants, his "Dr." pin, and part of me wanted to say something along the lines of, "I guess I'll forgive you." But instead I stood up and with his hands on my hips, bent over to touch my toes.