Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thoughts While Sitting in the Doctor’s Office

--I am okay with the old-fashioned formality that used to attach to the doctor-patient relationship. I want my doctor to be authoritative and wise, and to the extent that calling him “Doctor” furthers this notion, I am not put off. I don’t want to be his friend. I don’t want to call him “Todd.”

--Doctors are explorers, mapping uncharted land. They are 49ers, prospecting in faraway territory for something priceless and elusive. Doctors are spelunkers. (“Let’s go down there! And bring a camera!”)

--At a certain point in your life, you are going to end up entrusting your physical health to someone who was riding a Big Wheel during the Reagan Administration. At first it seems fabulously risky, but you get used to it. It is a strange rite of passage, one of the first times you are able to acknowledge that someone younger knows more than you do.

--It is impossible not to look at other people in the waiting room and wonder what is wrong with them.

--I wish the nurse who takes my blood pressure would stop talking about her son who is doing Jazz Studies at Chico.

--On the exam room wall: graphic illustrations of normal sinus cavities, written exhortations to get your colonoscopy, a sign reminding all health-care practitioners to wash their hands. There is nothing to read except a back issue of “Modern Maturity.” I don’t read it because it might be germ-y: a sick person might have touched it last. In doctors’ offices, I push open doors with my shoulder and slather anti-bacterial cleanser on my hands when I get back to the car.

-- It is inordinately important to me that my doctor believe I am smart. I am sure this has something to do with the fact that my father was a doctor. (I couldn’t care less what my accountant thinks of me.) When he says, That’s a good question, I beam. It is just nuts.

--I never take the elevator at the doctor’s, if I can help it. Germ-y air.

--I love my doctor, but I am always so relieved to be finished talking to him. Is there another person in my life I feel this way about? Can’t think of one.

--A lot of people are sick. A lot. It is easy to forget this if you and your family are healthy. When you go to the doctor’s, you are immediately reminded. It is touching and sobering. I hate being sick more than anything. (The only thing worse is when my kids are sick.) Going to the doctor’s makes me want to be compassionate and kind. I want to hug all those people in the waiting room and tell them it will be all right, except that, of course, I don’t know that it will be all right. (And also, the germs.) For some of us, it will be, and for some of us, it won’t. And that is just brutally awful, something I never get used to.

--A lot of things I go to the doctor for are things people died of seventy years ago. Now there are new drugs and therapies and technologies. It makes you think of all the things we are still dying of that someone will someday cure. Who is she, and what is she doing now? Probably sitting at the kitchen table, coloring.

1 comment:

  1. Gina - I love your blog and I've added you to my 'blog roll', or whatever they call it.
    I envy your life in Santa Cruz - maybe someday when the kids fly the nest! :)