"So, what's the word?" asked Dad when I got done with my doctor's appointment.
"The word," I replied after a moment, "is 'Ka-Ching'!"
"Ah," Dad said with a tone of commiseration in his voice.
After all, Dad once spent several weeks in the hospital, and is fully cognizant of "Ka-Ching" visits. While he was there, we'd often see doctors come into his room, pick up his chart, say, "How you doing today?" and leave, all in the space of less than a minute.
Doctors, by the way, that we'd never seen before. Doctors who had never seen Dad before. Doctors who, for all I know, may have just entered the wrong room or who were just going from patient to patient like some bizarre medical game of "Trick or Co-Pay."
We'd look at each other, then, in unison, blurt out "Ka-Ching!"
None of these visits were less than eighty bucks on the itemized bill Dad received much later.
So the "Ka-Ching" visit made its way into our normal vocabulary. Outside the hospital environs, such visits are characterized by the doctor A) not telling you anything you didn't already know and B) telling you to keep doing what you're doing and call if it gets any worse.
Oh, and telling you to "lose weight," "gain weight," "quit smoking," "take up smoking," "quit drinking," "take up drinking," or other sage bits of advice that generally fall under A) above.
And then you go pay your co-pay on the way out.
The worst kind of "Ka-Ching" visit is where you have something going on like internal bleeding, massive pain, appendages about to fall off, coughing up blood, or other kinds of things that you'd really hope a doctor would have something useful to say about.
But they don't.
And you're left hoping that whatever it is that's going on won't kill you before your next scheduled appointment -- around six months from now if you're seeing a specialist and if you're lucky.
On the other hand, my doctor is now well on his way to another Lexus payment.