Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Move Over, Bonnie and Clyde


Last week, Brooke went to the dentist for a routine cleaning, which is a pretty big deal. Because when it comes to doctors Brooke harbors a level of distrust normally reserved for auto mechanics and street magicians. Not only does she find their inclination to dole out prescriptions suspicious (“If the meds really cured you, doctors would go out of business”), but she is convinced that, like every other blue-blooded capitalist venture, doctors are out to make a buck any way they can. Which isn’t to say that they’ll steal your wallet while off making a urine sample, but when it comes to costly tests, procedures, and medicines, their prescription is always the same: Apply liberally.

So when she made the appointment to see the dentist (going against another of her mantras: “Why go to the doctor if nothing’s wrong?” – as though we didn’t just watch the episode of “House” last night where a small boy comes in with a simple cough and nearly dies from something auto-immune), I was happy.

She left right after lunch, turning to me halfway out the door to say goodbye.

Me: “Good luck. Call me if you need anything.”
Brooke: “The dentist is stupid.”

After an hour, I began to get worried. Not that something was wrong, but that Brooke had been sitting there in the waiting room this whole time, her distrust growing more and more (“They sit you out there surrounded by sick people so you’ll be more inclined to sign off on unnecessary tests once they call your name!”) Finally, I got a phone call.

Brooke: “Hey.”
Me: “Hey! How’s it going there?”
Brooke: (on edge) “Can you do me a favor? I need the phone number for our insurance company.”
Me: “Is everything OK?”
Brooke: “Yeah, I . . . uh . . . I just need the number.”

From 1-10 on the weirdness scale, it was a 7. Still, she didn’t say “Edie” – the code word we devised if we ever needed to alert the other person that we were in danger. As in, “Oh, everything’s fine here. I’ll meet you later at EDIE’S like we planned.” So I went back to work and waited.

Over an hour later, Brooke came home. She walked through the door gingerly, as though she had just experienced something traumatic. Without saying a word, she sat at her desk and said, “I have some work to catch up on, but I’ll tell you about it later. I did something bad, something you can’t ever tell anyone about. But it’s OK now.”

In my head, I pictured the grizzly scene at the dentist’s office: blood, slain dental assistants everywhere, Brooke’s dentist tied to his chair by miles of dental floss, overdosing at that very moment from a sweet-air gas leak, a copy of Brooke’s heavily padded invoice stuck to his chest with the sharpened end of a toothbrush. It was disturbing.

That night in bed, Brooke revisited the topic. Scared that this conversation would quickly turn from pillow talk to aiding and abetting, I treaded lightly. “No need to tell me! It’s late, and everyone should have secrets.”

But she insisted.

“Listen, I’m not proud of it, but . . . OK, so I’m sitting there in the room after getting my x-rays done and some chippy dental assistant comes in with my chart. She starts saying that I can’t just get a regular cleaning, I need some special cleaning.” (Oh, no.) “She proceeds to pull out this laundry list of things that I need: tests, anesthesia, special toothpaste." (Dear God, I hope she didn’t have children.) "So immediately, I tell her that I need to talk to the doctor about this.

So the nurse leaves the room and I’ve got a bad feeling about the whole situation. I think, ‘I could just leave. I should – I should just leave.’ But then I remember that they already took x-rays and did a consultation. I signed all these forms, and they have my insurance information. So now I’m scared that they’ll find me if I just leave.

But then I notice that the nurse left my chart when she went to get the doctor . . .” (Cut to scene of me stuffing clothes in a duffel bag, checking the bus schedule.) “It just – it all happened so fast. I needed to act quickly because the door was open and the doctor would be in any second, so I just grabbed the chart, emptied out all the identifying forms, and stuffed them in my purse.”

Besides the fact that I’m pretty sure this sort of thing (i.e. stealing medical records) is frowned upon, if not straight-up illegal, I was concerned. Mostly because my girlfriend’s adorable quirkiness just went into overdrive. Like if her adorable quirkiness was the equivalent of a puppy playing with a kitten, this act was now a puppy pushing a kitten down a slide made of rainbows, while a mini-pony sat on a nearby stump playing an acoustic version of Feist’s “1-2-3-4”. Batshit adorable quirky.

She was quick to continue:

“But it’s OK! The doctor came in a few seconds later and explained everything to me. She was really nice. It turns out a lot of the stuff was optional, and she was just being safe with the special cleaning. So I told him that I needed to call my insurance company to see if they covered the special cleaning – and hey, they do! – so when she left the room again I quickly stuffed the papers back into the file. Except I forgot to replace this” (produces yellow envelope from purse) “which I was worried might have been my x-rays, but it turns out it’s empty! So everything’s fine!”

And while I do question Brooke’s liberal definition of the word “fine,” I’d be lying if I didn’t think it was totally hot that my girlfriend tried to lift her medical records from her dentist during an attempted escape from the office. Not that I’m planning a career shift to confidence man anytime soon, but if life is one big bit and you’re the proverbial mark, then having a partner in crime can come in pretty handy.


Blogger Marinka said...

I love this post. And my husband and I have a code word, too. It's "the".

September 10, 2008 at 5:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth on the Rocks said...

code word...not a bad idea! and really the records belong to Brooke, so it wouldn't be *stealing* per se. the dentist is so traumatic though. i'm glad all is well.

September 10, 2008 at 5:22:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahaha... Brooke is awesome. Put a ring on this girl's finger asap.

September 10, 2008 at 5:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Deezee said...

funniest couple ever.

September 10, 2008 at 7:52:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Camels & Chocolate said...

That. Is. Awesome.

And my bf and I totally need to implement the whole Edie's thing.

September 10, 2008 at 8:28:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jessica mae said...

my bf and i have a code word too. the only problem is that i can never remember it.

September 10, 2008 at 9:18:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous ChzPlz said...

You didn't do so good with the " I did something bad, something you can’t ever tell anyone about." part.

September 10, 2008 at 9:46:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous ms cute pants said...

Holy smokes! She's a criminal alright. Not even I could go through those lengths, as much as I hate dentists.

And I'd have tried that code word thing with my husband, but I guarantee he would either never remember it or it would go right over his head if I really used it in a time of need. He can barely remember his password, for Pete's sake.

September 10, 2008 at 11:11:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Katie said...

I am downright inspired. If I weren't so concerned it'd turn out way more Ivan Denisovich for me trying this sort of thing in China, I'd do it. Brooke needs a *#W(*@# cape already.

September 11, 2008 at 5:57:00 AM EDT  
Blogger [mother] said...

The anon comment was not me - although....

September 11, 2008 at 8:13:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Peter said...

Oh man, the awesomeness all over that story.

Have I asked before if Brooke has a sister?

September 11, 2008 at 8:27:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing funnier than your post - your [mother].

September 11, 2008 at 9:31:00 AM EDT  
Blogger BSH ADMIN said...

Are you dating Elaine from Seinfeld?

September 11, 2008 at 10:08:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i used to have a dentist who would look at my xrays in a separate room and never show them to me, just schedule more work to be done. i now have a dentist that shows me my xrays and doesn't yell at me when i'm crying because the novacaine is wearing off.

September 11, 2008 at 12:53:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Dana said...

Are you guys writing a book together? Because you should be.
She's the modern day Lucille Ball, only a lot better looking -- and with any luck without that annoying bray. And now that you're in Miami, it's just like Episode 159 Dang. Your super doesn't wear his pants directly under his chin by any chance?

September 11, 2008 at 1:25:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous orange said...

:D i'm still laughing.

i totally agree with brooke about doctors/dentists. one time, i didn't go to the dentist for 7 years. every six months is such a scam.

September 11, 2008 at 7:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger sid said...

Brooke's cute. And I like the fact that you fine her insanity cute.

September 12, 2008 at 3:45:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Chardsy said...

I think anonymous might be Brooke. I'm just sayin'.

I think Brooke is my long lost best friend.

September 12, 2008 at 2:56:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She does have some nice clean teeth.

September 12, 2008 at 4:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Meg said...

I just found your blog and I have to tell you...I think I love you both! Really, I do.

October 1, 2008 at 3:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Meg said...

Oh, and I voted for Puppy. Yay Puppy!

October 1, 2008 at 3:40:00 PM EDT  

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