Diagonal to the laptop and resting on the back wall are two black chairs, with padded backrests. When he is seated, Dr. Ted’s extended right hand can reach for syringes, Band-Aids and tongue depressors from a six-door cabinet hung on the side wall. A motion-activated hand sanitizer dispenser is screwed to the mid section of the cabinet.
Patients who require abdominal palpation lie down on a brown examination table against the wall to the left of Dr. Ted when he sits on his black swivel chair. An apparatus for weight and height measurement occupies part of the space between the doorway and the exam couch.
‘Last patient, twenty-five today,’ said Ted with a sigh. His breath pumped and deflated a broad chest beneath a checkered shirt, buttoned to the top of his collarbone.
Each day at the practice, Dr. Ted Pit looked forward to going home. The time at the bottom of the laptop now showed 6.15 pm. Physicians’ fatigue in practice is proportional to the number of patients seen each day.
The last patient, a three-year-old girl, threw up once a week ago. Her mother brought her here to get a medical note to return the child to daycare. On entering the consulting room, the mother occupied the black chair against the wall while the three-year-old loitered in the maze between the exam table, a plastic trash can and the swiveling chair.