Waiting for the minutes to crawl by until my time to enter the waiting room. I stare at the screen, push the green box, and wait for the nurse, whom I never see, only hear, and try to remember how she looked when I last saw her seven months ago. Her voice asks for my blood pressure and pulse, available on machines I keep at home, then asks if any meds have changed. Even though I say no, she goes through the list of medications, allergies, appointments, and tests coming due, seeming determined to find something I’ve forgotten. Done at last, she assures me the doctor will see me on my computer screen as soon as he finishes with his current patient. He is busy. I wait again. I pick up a pen next to paper, jot down my thoughts. More minutes pass. His face and chart finally appear as he has to see me, sick or not, every six momths. He smiles as he reads the nurse’s notes, seems pleased, then asks the usual questions about old symptoms I’ve had and new ones familiar to COVID patients, but not to me. He asks about my daily routine and I describe my life in quarantine for twenty-eight weeks, with family zooms, OLLI classes on webinar, virtual trips to other countries, work on my novel, short stories, and new poems. He asks if I’m depressed, an epidemic among seniors. I want to say I have no time to be depressed. I do not. He says he’s never seen me look better and tells me I am doing everything right, to keep up the good work, to call if I have symptoms I no longer remember. He smiles again, pulls up his mask, waves farewell, and moves on to a patient in his office. He has a packed schedule. A job. I do not, but he does not know that while biding my time, I wrote a narrative focused on waiting for minutes to crawl by. Now he has his chart, but I have a poem.
This poem is a description of a telemed visit in which the patient has a checkup with a physician online. While feeling disempowered by the wait times involved, the author took control by penning this poem.
About the Artist
Margaret Duda, Centre County
Published: August 19, 2021