Monday, March 12, 2012
Things Jews Don't Do, Pt 14
It's been a while since I've posted an entry in the Things Jews Don't Do Series. Not because I haven't been doing things most Jews typically don't do, because I have: I built an Ikea bed weeks ago and I hardwired some outdoor lighting for the garden.
But those activities felt more like Things Jews Occasionally Do. We have standards here at roundseventeen, albeit arbitrary ones.
Last week I found myself seeking the unique medical attention of Dr. Anthony Catipay, who works out of the steel-gated storefront pictured above. The store is located on Pico Blvd. in the shadow of the 405 freeway. It is so close to the 405, that in the very early hours of the morning, between 6:17 AM and 6:23 AM, this ersatz 'medical' office literally is in the shadows of the 405.
I went to see Dr. Catipay in order to 'manage the pain' brought on by my recently discovered heel spur, who I have named Hurty for those of you who follow this blog regularly.
Typically, when we Jews seek healthcare we abide by the unwritten mishpachah rule. Meaning we tend to seek out doctors and specialists with Jewish surnames, your Goldbergs, your Feldmans, your Silversteins. Chalk it up to our annoying clannishness.
We also tend to shop our doctors, and our dentists, and our lawyers by their addresses.
And most of those folks are found in Beverly Hills or the tonier neighborhoods of Santa Monica or West Los Angeles. Not shabby storefronts wedged between the Billingsly Steakhouse and the Sawtelle liquor store selling Courvosier for $13.99 a bottle.
So it was with a little trepidation that I walked into the 'office' with the blacked out windows and surveillance cameras. I was greeted by the 'nurse' and instructed to fill out a new patient questionnaire. I took a seat in the austere waiting area that felt very much like the DMV. No magazines. Cheap folding chairs lined up in rows of 5. And a musty smell like the place hadn't seen a whiff of ammonia in months.
I grabbed a clipboard and began answering the questions. Clearly, Dr. Catipay runs an efficient operation on a shoestring budget with no margin for niceties. I noticed the ball point pen had been double-chained to the clipboard. Probably to deter his clientele from running off with the goods. For all I know there could be a huge black market for 38 cent pens in this neighborhood.
After the formalities, the nurse led me back to the 'examination room'. This is when things got surreal. I was led through a hallway to the back of the store...uh... office. And was introduced to the 'doctor', a squat Filipino man with a thick tuft of jet black hair that was swirled over the front of his scalp. I was so engrossed by his combover that I almost didn't notice his unusual surroundings.
His office looked like it used to be the closet that housed the store's water heater. It was barely 5 feet wide and 8 feet long. When I walked in, the doctor was watching a soccer match on the TV he had hung above the medical files but below his doctor's degree. I didn't recognize the name of the university that gave Dr. Catipay his sheepskin, but in terms of medical schools this was the equivalent of the DeVry Institute.
The 'examination' did not last long. And apart from the introduction when he shook my hand, he at no time touched any part of my body. For which I was very grateful.
It was, by far, one of the strangest experiences, I have ever had.
Why subject myself to something like this, you may well ask?
There are 420 reasons.
And alleviating my 'chronic' pain was one of them.