“I don’t take blood pressure medicine anymore. Ever since you got me in shape and running, I’ve been able to drop my old prescriptions. You know that. Why don’t you know that? Is there something wrong with you?”
“You’ve asked me if something is wrong with me twenty-two times in the past week,” said Patience, setting his muffin and smoothie in front of him. “I’m beginning to feel insulted.”
“Well, you keep doing this—asking me things you should already know about.”
“What I know is that when I arrived, you were taking seven prescriptions: two blood-thinners, two cholesterol reducing drugs, a medicine for gastric distress, and two blood pressure medicines. Thanks to the excellent care that you receive from me, we have been able to eliminate six of the seven—all except for the one blood pressure medicine.”
“But I haven’t been taking it.”
“You have been. I just put it in your food.”
“What do you do, roll it up in a piece of cheese, like I was the family schnauzer?” Mike growled.
“Don’t be silly. I crush it up and put it in your salad dressing.”
Mike took a sip of his smoothie and frowned.
“You’re out, you see,” said Patience.
“Well, call in a refill. You seem to do everything else without asking me. Do that.”
“Dr. Mercer wants to see you before he’ll refill your prescription.”
* * * * *
“Mr. Smith, you can come on back,” said the robot receptionist.
She held the door open for him and he walked past her into the large room beyond. Here he met a woman with short brown hair and glasses, dressed in blue scrubs. She gave him a thin smile and pointed to the scale. He stepped on and watched the digital readout run through numbers to stop on 163 lbs.
“My goodness. You’ve lost sixteen pounds since the last time you were here.”
“Well, I’ve taken up running, and it’s been a while since I was here.”
“That’s good,” she said. “You know, rapid weight-loss can be of concern in someone of your advanced age. Now turn around and I’ll scan you.”
She ran a handheld electronic device about the size of Mike’s phone over his body.
“No temperature. Your blood pressure is up a bit.”
“It wasn’t when I got here,” said Mike. “I thought all the nurses were robots now.”
“I’m not a nurse,” the woman said indignantly. “I’m a PA.”
“What is that?”
“I’m a physician’s assistant.”
“Don’t nurses by definition assist physicians?”
“It’s not the same thing. I can prescribe medication.”
“Well good,” said Mike. “All I need is a renewal for my blood pressure medicine. Write that up and I can get out of here.”
“Dr. Mercer wants to see you first.”
“So you can’t prescribe my medication?”
“Come wait in exam room three,” she said.
“Whatever you say, nurse.”