It isn't as easy to see a doctor as it used to be. I discovered this when I received a message from Dr. Kastner last week. He wanted to see me to check up on something or other.

I called the next morning and told the nurse Dr. Kastner wanted to see me.

She said, "How about November 15?"

"That's good," I said, "but since he wants to see me, could we move up the date?"

She said, "Just a minute. How about November 10 in case we get a cancellation?"

"Has the doctor any plans for me if something happens between now and November 10?"

"Most of our patients have to wait longer. I'm squeezing you in because you have health insurance."

"This is my problem," I told her. "I know after the doctor checks me out he's going to send me to a specialist. When I call the specialist, he will tell me that he can't see me until December 30. So, in truth, I won't see the doctor for two months."

The nurse said, "Everyone has to take his chances. Dr. Kastner may send you to a different specialist to check you out with X-rays. In that case we'll have to get you an appointment with the lab. The last time I tried that they couldn't see anyone until the summer."

"Thanks a lot," I said and hung up.

Then I started to think about my condition. I knew there was nothing wrong with me at that moment, but Dr. Kastner can always find something that needs to be looked into. That's why I figured he would want to see me in October.

So I called back and said to the nurse, "This is Mr. B. Did anything open up since I spoke to you a few minutes ago?"

"Let me check. How does November 3 sound to you?"

"Sounds okay. It will be great to see the doctor."

"It's not an appointment to see the doctor. It's for blood tests. Also, don't eat any breakfast on November 10 and bring somebody to drive you home."

"No problem," I said. "And I'll see the doctor that day?"

"He's attending a conference in Fort Lauderdale. I have to reschedule everyone. Can we talk about November 20?"

"Of course we can. I'll try to stay well until we do."