From Wrist Slap to Forehead Slap

My doctor invited me back to her office this week so that she could share with me the results of my annual checkup.  I knew this invitation was coming, so I prepared by looking up the results on the Alberta Health website. I saw that my blood test was mostly OK, but my urine sample provided a long list of unsatisfactory results.

Image from Steve Woods via

This did not surprise me.  I am notoriously bad at providing the necessary amount of urine with the appropriate degree of translucence, so I was expecting to have my wrist slapped. The first time her office called I shamelessly declined the invitation with the excuse that I was housebound. The second time, though, I agreed to come in.

After I had arrived, checked in at the desk, and sat in one of the six socially distanced chairs, I watched as several people came up to the desk, left to go into one of the examination rooms, or left the clinic to join the outside world. It is a very efficient front desk, so I was surprised when an extended conversation developed with one potential patient.

He was a young man, probably in his mid-twenties, wearing khakis and carrying a big hiker’s backpack. None of that matters, but it is all I had to look at. He initially asked if the clinic was accepting new patients and was assured that they were.

Hikers With Packs via Wikimedia Commons

I couldn’t hear all the conversation, but it caught my attention when he said that he had changed his name in 2019. Then he showed some ID to the desk clerk and said he was waiting for his revised birth certificate. My guess is that the information on his ID did not match the information on his Alberta Health card.

The reason I was intrigued is because my younger son changed his name a few years ago and, although it took longer than expected, it was only a matter of months before he got his revised birth certificate. It did not make sense to me for it to have taken so long for this young man. 

Shortly afterward, I was called in to meet with my doctor and I let that ID/birth certificate mystery sit in the back of my mind for a while. My doctor did not, in fact, slap my wrist, but said all was well. I need to eat less sugar and fewer carbs, but otherwise she thought I was in good enough shape.

After I got home, I told my older son about the incident concerning the young man in the clinic and he gave me a knowing look. What he said was “Lots of people are being paid to get Covid-19 vaccine shots for other people.” It was a forehead-slap moment when I realized what he was saying. He suspected that the backpack man was likely using someone else’s health care card to get the vaccine for someone who needed to prove they had been vaccinated but who did not want to get it themselves.

I must be too trusting. That had not occurred to me.  Ah well. It’s better to get a forehead slap than a wrist slap.


  1. I’m going to assume backpack guy is a traveling man without a permanent address and that’s why he hasn’t received all of his paperwork. Although I am also sure there are vaccination shenanigans going on as well.

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