After we left Dr Grasee’s office, we headed to Noblesville to visit Dr Birhiray at the hospital up there. The directions his office had given me were pretty vague. Basically, they got us to the hospital and that was about it. Once there, we were on our own. We went in a door near the entrance for the professional offices, thinking that might be where he was. Rather than wander around, I stopped immediately at the information desk and asked the volunteer where I could find Dr Birhiray’s office. In his 70s, missing a few fingers (ex-machinist, perhaps?) and laboring to breathe, the volunteer in question looked at me quizzically and said, “Beer hurray?” Yes. Then he asked what kind of doctor he was. It was when I explained that he was an oncologist that the pitying looks and the unsolicited reassurance began. All the while, I’m thinking, “Can you please just tell me how to get to where I need to be?” Finally, our friendly volunteer gave us the absolute most convoluted directions in the world, slowly, and punctuated by many laborious breaths. (Good thing we were early) By this point, we’d pretty much deduced that the place we needed to be was on the extreme opposite side of the hospital. Rather than traipse all the way through, we asked the volunteer what door the office was closest to so that we could just drive around and park near the entrance.
With that information, we drove around and parked near where we needed to be. Sort of. We still had a ways to go. Having learned nothing from the previous experience, I again stopped to ask the two old ladies at the information desk where I could find Dr Birhiray’s office. Once again, I was met with blank stares as if they’d never heard of him. They even asked me if I was sure he had an office there and not in some other building. I assured them I was, and they asked me what kind of doctor he is. Here we go again. When I said he was an oncologist, there was this strange vibe that came over my two helpers. It was one of shock and pity. Please. Cancer is not getting ready to kill me, but frustration just might if I don’t find somebody who can tell me how to get where I need to go. They give us directions to “the cancer ward” (which sounds like someplace no one ever returns from—or as Don Henley put it, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave) and we are on our way.
Arriving at the end of a hallway, we come upon an entire flock of these volunteers sitting and drinking coffee, and shooting the breeze. Apparently, there is no Hardees in Noblesville, so all the oldsters hang out in the hospital every morning “volunteering”. Maybe it’s because there is no Hardees, or maybe it’s because at the hospital, the coffee is FREE. I glance quickly from left to right to try to determine, without assistance, which way we need to go, but it’s too late. “Do you need help finding something?”
Aw crap, here we go again.
Me: “I have an appointment with Dr Birhiray.”
Oldster #1: “Who?”
Me: “Dr Birhiray. Oncology.”
Oldster #2: “Oh, <insert pitying looks and tone of voice> you need to go left and the cancer ward is on the left.”
(Meanwhile, some of the others cluck softly amongst themselves, no doubt about what a shame it is that I’ve got one foot in the grave.)
Me: “Okay, thanks.” (walking away)
Oldster #1: “They have really nice doctors down there.”
Chorus of Oldsters: “Uh-huh, they do.”
As I power walked away, I could hear them murmuring amongst themselves. I don’t know for sure what they said, but I’d guess it was something along the lines of, “That’s just so sad—dying so young!”
Once I found Dr B’s office, everything was normal again. Sort of. Instead of waiting and hour to get in, it was only about 10 minutes. It seems that up at that office, there are fewer distractions, less interns, and things actually run on time. Who knew? Doesn’t make me want to go up there again and have to run the pity gauntlet, though. So, I scheduled my next appointment back at the usual place.