I’m Going to Procrastinate–When I Get Around to It

Procrastination is my go-to method for dealing with things I don’t want to do –procrastination for as long as possible. 

Going to the doctor is one of the things I most want not to do. It started when I was a kid and Dr. Green gave me my first shot and a green lollypop. I hate green lollypops. Today, I’m a grownup and I have choices. The answers I choose for when will I make an appointment with a doctor is,

I’ll get around to it.”

My back went out. I complained – a lot – to everybody. “Go to a doctor,” they said.

“I will,” I said, “when I get around to it.”  After weeks of pain and whining, I took a step. I asked around and got the name of a doctor who was touted to be the best in the field. But I didn’t call it, even though I wanted to trust her. I spent some days giving myself affirmations. “The doctor is qualified. She went to medical school. I won’t hate her. She won’t make me wait in a room full of coughing, wheezing, sick people and germ-infested magazines for an hour. She will make the pain go away.”

With my bolstered resolve, I dialed the phone. Her receptionist answered.

“I’m Ruthi Birch and I’d like to schedule an appointment because I’m having back pain.”

“Sure. When do you wanna come?”

“Well, if she’s available, this Thursday would be good for me.”

“She’s open pretty much all day. You want 10,11, 1,3?”

“One o’clock.”

“Okey-dokey. Bring your ID and insurance information.”

Sensing she was about to hang up, I asked, “Do you want my name and contact information?”

“No. I have your name, Ruby Birch.”

“No, it’s Ruthi Birch,” I spelled it for her, and gave her my email address to send a confirmation.

“Okay, got it.”

I hung up the phone feeling doubtful. This doctor didn’t seem to have a lot of patients if she could see me any time, but my back hurt and she was supposed to be able to fix it, so I rationalized. Maybe she wasn’t busy because it was a Thursday. Restaurants are slow on Mondays. Maybe Thursdays are slow for doctors. 

On Thursday morning, I realized I hadn’t gotten an email from the doctor’s office, so I called just to make sure there was no change, before I’d leave work and drive forty-five minutes to her office. The same woman answered.

“This is Ruthi Birch I’m calling to confirm my one o’clock appointment.”

“Sure. Can you hang on a sec?”

She didn’t put me on hold, so I could hear her conversation with someone who asked, “Do you want falafel for lunch. I’m ordering.” She said. “Sure. Let me get my wallet.”

When she came back, she asked, “Can you spell your name for me?”

I could spell it, so I did.

“I don’t see you on the schedule.”

“I believe it was you I spoke with on Tuesday and I thought we set the appointment for today.”

“I guess it’s my bad,” she said, in such a cute way. “I must have left it off the schedule, but no problem. You can come anyway. She’s not busy.”

“I guess I’d better come. My back is getting worse.”

“Your back?”


“Oh, no. You can’t come for that today.


“You’ll need an x-ray. We can’t do that today. The machine’s down. We have to reschedule. When do you want to come?”

“Thanks. I’m not sure. I’ll have to call back.”

I took two aspirins. I decided to make an appointment with a different doctor – when I got around to it.

October 14, 2019