Today is the day of the appointment that I have waited six months for — that’s how often the doctor wants to see me for a check up.  I get the feeling that he never really ssees me.

I am only 16, but I have the body of a 61-year-old so I move slowly behind the nurse into the examination room.  I take out my list that has a date from six months ago; perhaps I can get to items number three and four.  I hear activity outside the door, finally.

“Tell me about htis patient,” I hear a voice say to the one in the short coat.

“This is a 16 y/o female with a 5 year hx. of SCFE presents for f/u, currently c/o of moderate to severe pain in both hips and one knee. She is on ibruprofen wihtout relief and states that she has had to withdraw from high school secondary to pain and limited mobility.”

Did I say all that?  So they do hear what I say.  He sits down across from me.  I hurry to pull out my list, but before I am done I just get a rush of questions — “I hear you’re having pain, where is it?  One or both knees?  How about your hips?  We can increase your medication now or try a new one.”

“I need something stronger for the pain,” I say, “I can’t walk more than a couple stepps without pain.”

“We will put you on vioxx.”

“What is vioxx?” I ask.

“Do you have any ulcer or kidney problems?”

“No, what is vioxx?” I ask again.

“It’s like a stronger ibuprofen you don’t want to get messed up on the other stuff like codeine.”  But I do not feel that I can get any more “messed up.”  “You really should go back and finish high school.”

I scan my list a he says that — “that reminds me I need you to sign this note for a correspondence GED course.”

He stands up, tall above me and states, “I will see you in six months, earlier if there are any problems,” as he walks out the door, back to me.  “This nice student doctor will write your prescriptions and fill out any forms,” he says.  And he is gone.  Leaving me needing and wanting.  Again.  For another six months.


Oyebisi Aremu, Class of 2000