I was finally able to see a family practicioner today…after months of trying to find a doctor accepting new patients here in “middle earth” Alabama. It’s almost like a mantra….I say it at least once a day, perhaps more, since I moved to Huntsville Alabama a year ago now…..”I have lived many places but this is the first time I have encountered….FILL IN THE BLANK.” The whole fiasco of trying to find a doctor accepting new patients is still so fresh in my mind; suffice it so say I am a bit negative about living here and the difficulty in trying to find a doctor only validated what I believed about “middle earth’ in the first place….”Alabama sucks.” I’m sure its not the most accurate assessment –I’m reminded every day by the Alabama folks just how wrong I am–but live in my shoes a bit and you might say the same in a fit of frustration.

Anyhow, I was already leary the moment I stepped inside the office of Creekside Family Medicine. After all, the walls were adorned with framed pictures of various types of leopards and bobcats. I thought this strange decor for a family practice but hey….as I have said on more than one occassion since moving to “middle earth’, this is Alabama and, in my humble opinion, everything (or nearly everything) is strange here. The waiting area is clean and neat but the decor is really a bit drab…really downright uninspiring. Truthfully, perhaps its unfair that I am comparing this office to my Southern California, Beach Cities living experience.

I closed my eyes for a nano-second trying to recall the lovely office decor of my knee doctor at Beach Cities Orthopedics back in Southern California. Ah yes….The wall-sized image of a spectacular blue ocean wave –Nirvana for die-hard surfers– modern furniture, and high-tech everywhere, from the reception desk to the exam rooms with wall mounted computer screens…..or, even my general practicioner doctor at South Bay Medical…..fresh, ocean-themed, and modern decor.

As I was filling out the patient information forms I stopped momentarily to survey the surroundings. Everyone in the waiting area was older than I by at least 15 years. Most of the folks were also considerably less physcally fit. One lady sported a bouffant of bue-gray hair and one of the front desk receptionists literally appears to have stepped out of a 60’s movie…her hair and makeup vaguely reminescent of the Doris Day era. Yep, I feel I have gone back in time by at least 30 years….maybe more.

I finally met the doctor and am, in a word, relieved. He’s in his 40’s, lean, pleasant to look at, and not frumpled in his attire as the dentist I saw a few months ago was. This doc was easy to talk to, made eye contact, and he listened. I’m not sure just how competent of a doctor he is (I’ve no referrals or testimonials to rely on) and certainly it is difficult to judge solely from an initial 15-minute consult appointment. But I’m feeling a tad more at ease this evening knowing that I have cleared a hurdle by finding a doctor and I’m finally attending to my basic physical maintenance needs. Add to that…. I’m feeling mighty plucky that my blood pressure, at 118/76, is still great despite the dramatic change in my fitness level.

So….tomorrow a fasting blood test….yipee…and a referral to a dermatologist. Woohoo!

Now if I could only find a decent hairdresser here I might be pursuaded to say some REALLY good things about living in middle earth….maybe…..