The Way We Do Things Here

How a doctor showed me that efficiency can be another word for the sin of impatience.

I recently moved to a city without doctors. Well, there are doctors, just not any taking new patients. The situation is so acute that the government has set up a province-wide website for registering the backlog. You enter your name and contact info and then hope that some physician has an opening—someone moves, or dies—and picks you to fill it.

It's kind of like e-Harmony for sick people.

Normally this wouldn't bother me. I'd rather set my own bones, disinfect my own wounds, than seek a doctor's help. It's not that I don't like doctors; I don't like waiting.

But then I had to change my driver's license. This should have been a quick 10-minute procedure and a quick $100. As of this writing, it's been a two-month ordeal. The problem is, I needed a doctor. My class of license requires a medical exam to renew or transfer. The doctor must vouch for my eyesight, hearing, reflexes, mental stability, and overall health.

I tried using ...

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