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When I was 28, I moved out of Philly down to Media, PA. As with any move to a new area, eventually you get around to choosing a new doctor, dentist, eye doctor, etc. See I said eventually and not immediately. I happened to wait up to the last minute and went scrambling for a doctor when I came down with bronchitis. I plunged into the spare bedroom still filled with unpacked boxes frantically looking for my health benefits guides. I needed a doctor and needed one fast! Finally after what seemed like a dozen boxes, I found my benefits guide listing doctors available in the area.
Flipping page after page, I needed to find a doctor close by. I then remembered that Riddle Memorial Hospital was only a mile down the road, so I figured I would pick a doctor from there. I looked down the list and saw 'general medicine' and chose Dr. Morty Zimmerman. He sounded nice. So Dr. Zimmerman it was! I called immediately and set up an appointment later that day.
Upon arrival at Dr. Zimmerman's office, I checked it with the front desk. The woman was polite, but I do remember her giving me a strange look. Now paranoid, I asked for the restroom and checked my teeth for the remains of lunch. There was nothing. Okaaay, maybe I just imagined her odd look.
I sat down in the waiting room and a couple other people came in and sat down. I grabbed a magazine on Senior Citizen Travel and decided to plot where to spend my retirement while waiting for the doctor. 10 minutes passed. An elderly man came into the office with his walker and had difficulty transfering to a chair, so I helped. I grabbed another magazine, AARP, and started reading about senior citizen discounts available to me once I reached 65. Wow! You can sure save alot, I thought.
Finally Dr. Zimmerman, who looked vaguely like the cartoon Mr. Magoo, came out and called my name. He must have been 80 years old! I got up and strode towards him and got a funny look. Do I look that bad? I thought. I must look really sick!
After examining me, he prescribed an antibiotic. Before he left, he turned to me and asked, "Son, how did you find me?"
"Well," I began, "I looked you up in my health benefits guide under "general medicine" for Riddle Memorial Hospital."
He laughed. "Son, I'm not under 'general medicine', I'm under 'geriatric medicine!'"
"What's the difference?" I asked,
"About 50 years," he retorted and he left the room.
I sat as I got changed and thought about it. Geriatric ... 50 years ... AARP ... senior discounts ... Holy CRAP! I picked a senior doctor!
Once changed, I walked through the waiting room now filled to capacity with senior citizens from 70 to 100. Walkers, wheelchairs, and even a couple of oxygen tanks abounded. I shook my head and laughed quietly. I couldn't believe my mistake! But you know what, I went back to him until he passed away 4 years later. Sure I got funny looks from the other patients 50 years my senior, but he was one of the best doctors that I ever had.