Our First Virtual Exam

This piece is to prove to my children (one of whom has accepted a 30 day writing challenge) that you really can write about anything…

The house phone rings. “Hi, is this Calyn’s mom? I am going to start your visit today.” The usual check-in questions are asked confirming insurance, address, and pharmacy, except rather than looking at a receptionist through a glass panel, I am speaking through the telephone in my house. “Okay, you are all set. Calyn should go to the MyChart App and click begin visit. This will bring you to the waiting room and the doctor will be with you shortly.” This is all very strange, but okay. We go up to my bedroom where the often nosy brother and sister won’t interrupt. As Calyn clicks the correct button, our faces appear on the bottom half of the screen and a blank space is on the top. We don’t speak for fear of being caught, but try different phone propping arrangements. Should we turn the phone vertically or horizontally? Horizontally we can both fit in the screen and agree on this arrangement. Following the most awkward wait in a waiting room that I have ever experienced, an unfamiliar man appears sideways in the blank space and introduces himself.  (Oops, let’s put the phone back vertically.) It seems like we are shouting to make sure we are understood. The doctor asks a series of questions and then directs Calyn to do a number of exercises, most interesting is to walk across the screen. When I continue to try to hold my phone up to his face on the screen to show him the pictures I have taken, he says, “Why don’t you email them to me. It might work better than screen to screen.” Of course I think a bit embarrassed. There are moments of frozen screens, apologies for missing information, and plenty of repeating statements. The visit ends with reassurance that there is nothing to worry about and we will follow up in the fall. Even ending our visit is a bit clumsy. Who should hang up first? The doctor exits the room and there is an awkward pause like Calyn should get dressed again and gather her things before heading out of my bedroom.

One day when virtual appointments become the norm, it might be nice to reminisce about our first.

8 thoughts on “Our First Virtual Exam

  1. You capture the awkwardness of many “firsts”. The doubt and uncertainty about what to say, how to place the phone, how to hang up were felt as I read. I hope this slice helps to prove you can write about anything – even watching a dog do a poop dance..that one oughta help your case! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You really got the strangeness of the the whole experience in this piece. I think the way you wrote it moment by moment, from entering the room to holding the phone to the doctor entering sideways on the screen and even not knowing how to end the whole thing, made me feel what you and Calyn were feeling. Here’s to a new reality.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This all reminds me of episodes of Star Trek that I watched as a child – so futuristic, so science fiction. Once again I marvel that truth is stranger than fiction … this really is our reality! I suppose in time that we will be as “polished” with our virtual communication as the Enterprise crew was with all their tech stuff – truth is, we’re on a huge learning curve. You’re so right – writing is everywhere, and so is story. Sharing our stories is how we learn from each other – your words here offer great insight for others about to encounter the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true- some of those shows are not so unbelievable now. I was telling my kids about the Jetsons and how the faces of people calling them used to pop on the screen. That seemed so crazy when I was young and now we have Facetime, Zoom etc. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

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