I am all lopsided after my mastectomy. My clothes don't really look right, and I'm self-conscious about it. A prosthesis, or "falsie" was in order. My surgeon happened to have brochures for a couple of "mastectomy boutiques" and I took them home, happy to be able to do something constructive. There were three places where I could begin. I like to make these sort of trips into adventures, just to make them less boring and dull. I imagined Indiana Jones and I, on the hunt for an artifact of some sort. The Sacred Falsie, I secretly named it.
Just like Dr. Jones pored over ancient texts and maps before he set off on his trips, I actually read the brochures. I specifically looked at the hours of operation. I drove to the closest 'boutique' on the list, soaring music accompanying me on the car radio. I briefly wondered if Indiana Jones would mind riding shotgun. I was the only one who could drive the car, however; him being imaginary and all.
On the brochure this was the "Northeast Location" of a company that was on the other side of town. When I finally located this particular address, the door had a tiny sign that indicated "By Appointment Only". Dr. Jones could not recall if he had ever been thwarted by the Nazis in such a manner; he decided to search his notes. In the brochure the only mention of appointments was indicated to be "after hours"; the place was supposed to be open 9-5 Monday-Friday. Annoyed, I looked up the address of the next business, put my car in gear and got back on the road. Even Indiana Jones did not find his treasure on the first try.
I arrived at the next business at exactly 12:40, only to read that the place closed for lunch from 12:30 to 1:30. Beneath that was a notation that "Friday's" were appointment only. I reread the company's brochure, while Indiana Jones repeatedly referred to his notes. This particular business was supposed to be open from 8-5 Monday through Thursday. No mention of lunch hour. Professor Indiana Jones would have used his whip for such an egregious error on the front door; I offered to let him borrow my red pen instead. We were both concerned. If a person running a medical business did not know the difference between a possessive and a plural, what sort of prosthetic might I end up with? We shuddered at the thought.
My husband, the keeper of many sacred vinyl artifacts, advised me via text to call the third place, located on the other side of Texas, before I traveled much further. I did just that. While verifying that they were open, I mentioned that I had first attempted their "Northeast Location", only to find it closed.
"Oh, that location has been closed for some time," the receptionist's tone was condescending. Indiana Jones suspected that Nazi shenanigans were afoot. I took a deep breath and calmly indicated that it did not indicate on the brochure that the location was closed.
"Well, we give new brochures to the doctors all the time, " the receptionist said. "It's not our fault that they don't give out the correct ones."
My eyebrows shot clear up into my hairline. I visualized Indiana punching a bad guy right in the face, said thank you, and hung up the phone.
At the location of the Sacred Falsie, I found myself in what appeared to be a doctor's waiting room, with a small window on the other side where patients might sign in or hand over their insurance cards. Indiana Jones likely would have leapt through the glass in the tiny window and helped himself. I merely waited. Several minutes passed before someone actually appeared behind the window and slid it open.
"You really should have made an appointment," the receptionist chastised me as soon as she opened the window.
Indiana Jones and I had had quite enough. If I'm told that I have to make an appointment, I will make an appointment. I'm perfectly okay with making an appointment. If I know that I am supposed to make an appointment. It wasn't on the brochure. It wasn't online. It was not inscribed on the walls of any ancient tombs. How I might have been made aware of the need for an appointment?
I asked the receptionist that very question. Indiana Jones asked me if I wanted to borrow his bullwhip.
"You need to make an appointment because it's going to take at least 30 minutes," the receptionist was attempting to deflect me by not answering my question. Indiana put his bullwhip away and handed me his gun before gingerly taking two steps back. But I was determined to get the prize. I wasn't leaving without the Sacred Falsie, and that was that.
I did not punch the receptionist in the face, as recommended by Dr. Jones. I did not drag her out the little window and throw her underneath the nearest truck, which was his next suggestion. I did not shoot her. Instead, I sat and waited for twenty minutes while they ran all my insurance information through to make sure that they would get paid. While Indiana Jones waited discreetly out in the hallway, I was fitted for a piece of foam that will fit inside a bra so my clothes will fit better and I can pass for what passes for normal.
On my way out I was again chastised because my doctor did not complete the prescription correctly. Insurance won't pay if the prescription isn't correct, I was informed, as if I were trying to cheat them out of a piece of foam and two bras. I simply smiled; I had claimed the Sacred Falsie, and need never return. Indiana Jones and I drove off, soaring music blaring, to hunt for treasures on another day.