As I sit there in what has become my usual seat, I notice the sterile, chilly environment of the waiting room around me and cannot ignore the fear I have associated with places like this. The playroom for the children is a small room a short distance from where I sit, and as I stare into the vacant room with its small tables and chairs I get the same eerie feeling I always do. A short, plump lady materializes out of thin air, it seems, just beside the corner and calls out my name. I note that every employee I have encountered in the hospital since I stepped in the door has been both female and overweight, and I find myself wondering if doctors talk to people about their overweight status like they talk to us smokers about our own filthy habit. After she takes my blood pressure and so on, and makes pleasant small-talk (as much as that empty ritual can be pleasant, anyway), she leaves me in that room, at the end of the examination table, and tells me the doctor will be in shortly. Which kills. This is the part of the check-up I detest the most. Staring at the instruments on the tables and the walls, the body weight index, the jar filled with extra-long Q-Tips, I feel like running away. Like hiding. If I didn’t require a refill on my Effoxor and Buspar I wouldn’t take a step near this place. Being left in that cool, sterile, and frighteningly silent room alone, awaiting the doctor, listening to the muffled voices from beyond the room: for some reason brings up the most agonizing anxiety in me.