With demeanor fitting someone ill Mac waits in line to present himself before the clinic receptionist. Earlier, the inspiration to come here had given him a kind of warm settling feeling, as if he'd found some lost object the moment he stopped looking for it.
Sarah's clinic building was the result of a donation, a former elementary school, and so not cheerily equipped, yet large and supplied well enough. Past the receptionist's bay, where there were rows and rows of movable, packed filing shelves, he gets a glimpse Sarah herself passing, speaking in low, pleased tones to several subordinates in lab jackets. Quickly she moves out of view.
After multiple rounds of confusion an aging black couple finish their paperwork at the desk. Mac advances and makes his request. The receptionist, a face he can't recall ever having seen before, takes perfunctory information, makes a few phone calls to verify unemployment, and asks him to be seated. He waits two and a half hours. Then he is shown to a small room with children's cartoon characters on the wall, where he sits for another hour.
A nurse in an outfit that looks like flowery pajamas comes in with a folder and spreads it upon a tall counter. The folder has only one sheet of paper in it. Mac sees his named typed upon a label. She remains standing. "So what's your problem today?" He says itís his ears, not elaborating. The nurse leaves without comment.
After yet another hour a short curly haired man with very black eyebrows enters brusquely and introduces himself as the doctor. Mac is confused. He inquires as to the Reverend Dr. Sarah. He's told that Sarah has already left the building. "Can I come back when she's here, to see her?" It is explained that at this stage whichever Physician is on duty sees the patients on a rotating staff basis. There are no regular correlations, hours. Sarah is often now not in actual practice, preferring the fundraising activities required to keep the clinic going, or missionary practice.
Mac sits quietly, absorbing the facts.
After a while the doctor prompts the supplicant for what he needs, then listens to Mac stumblingly explain the problem.
"What you're saying, is, you want to hear voices, but you don't?"
Mac's silence functions as a complex positive.
"But you hear me talking to you, right?"
Consciously, awkwardly, the doctor examines Mac's inner ear canals. "Probably just loose, hard wax, which I see a lot of here." With a scratchy pen that he has to shake a lot he writes upon a pad. "If you arenít able to purchase this, just use a wash of warm saline. Don't stick Q-tips down there."
When he seems to be waiting for a response Mac says "Uh-huh."
"Maybe that will help."
The silence prompts doctor to ask if there are any other problems. Mac, deflated, has to think a moment. "Uh, yeah--I get this feeling, this bad itch, you know, down there (he points), like thereís bugs biting me." The doctor writes on another slip of paper. "Take this down the hall to your left."