Thursday, May 1, 2008

Living Large

While my husband is eating, in the executive dining room, a daily hearty breakfast of toasted bagel with lox, tomatoes, onions and capers, fresh squeezed citrus juices, yogurt and who knows what else he’s cramming down his mouth, I’ve used our executive health services twice in the last 3 months.

I can only rave about the refined VIP services. They must be mistaking me for somebody else, but I like to play along. Let me describe how today’s visit went.

I called at 11:30 and got booked for a 12PM appoint – the same day! As I walk in, I’m surrounded by hardwood floors and Pottery Barn furnishings. After a few minutes of sitting on an abundantly cushioned sofa reading Town and Country magazine, someone politely interrupts me to apologize for the wait. The doctor will be with you shortly, she assures me.

A few minutes later, the doctor comes into the waiting area, greets me, shakes my hand and introduces herself and I’m almost pissed that I didn’t get to finish reading/daydreaming in the article about how Georgio Armani’s niece furnishes her apartment in Milan. In a regular doctor’s office, I’d be sitting on crappy, stained and un-cushioned industrial furniture with exposed bolts, reading a wrinkled pored over copy of something like Reader’s digest, waiting for an hour until some loud, obnoxious and uncheerful employee shouts and mispronounces my name with unmistakable irritation.

Back to my executive health nirvana -- There are no forms to fill in or long checklists of ailments to complete because the doctor asks specific questions, listens to you and takes down notes. Then the doctor takes your vital stats, not a nurse or assistant so there’s no time lost in “changing of the guard” as different employees parade in and out of your exam room.

Then I go to have blood work done. The phlebotomist wants to know if I prefer blood to be drawn from my left arm or right. She tries to reassure me because I don’t like being pricked with a needle. While she inserts the needle, she engages me in a banal conversation, she wants to verify that I’m wearing cashmere and how soft she thinks it is. After that’s completed, I’m invited into the wait area to eat or snack. This is where I hit pay dirt big time. Grilled vegetables, salmon, fresh squeezed Valencia orange juice, an array of cheeses, sesame crackers, non-fat apple muffins and on and on await me. I munch on some California roll, help myself to some shrimp kebabs and crunch on some steamed vegetable medley- cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. It’s like I’m at a spa. I can’t finish my food so I decide to carry out the leftovers. Someone asks me if I want a bag and I feel like a total chazer.

After I’m done, I check out with the receptionist, who provides me with the bill, perfectly folded in a ecru envelop, as if I just spent $10,000 on knick knacks. My tab? $15.

The only thing that can dampen the situation is how much information is released to your employer. I’m going to assume that it’s private but you never know. It’s obviously subsidized, insurance could never endorse or reimburse for the refined, service-oriented experience.


js said...

Do you think you'd have the option of going just for the buffet - skipping the "service"? And if so, would they still charge you $15?

frank said...

Can you believe it? This blog can make a hugely entertaining experience out of life's happenings simply because she is so OBSERVANT. Her feelings of being 'out of place' are subtle, but obvious too, in the way she depicts the difference between an ordinary 'office' visit and one for pampered execs. But do you have to pay the $15 on the spot? In cash or with a credit card? That part is a little tacky.