Yesterday I visited my doctor and am officially boot-free. Wahoo! My foot is healing nicely and my Olympic dreams are alive once again (What should I compete in? Any suggestions? Perhaps the 1 meter dash-for-the-baby-about-to-fall-off-the-bed. I’m good at that). So anyway, my doctor told me what a good patient I have been and she even gave me a hug. This is in stark contrast to my OB-GYN who barely remembers me from one visit to the next. This may be because his practice is located in the birth capital of the world and he probably delivers 100 babies a week, or it could just be that he doesn’t care. I think it’s a bad sign when, as I’m being wheeled down the hall for my C-section, he says (in all seriousness) “So while we’re in there, I’m going to tie your tubes, right?” I had to hold onto the gurney to keep from falling onto the floor in shock. What I wanted to say was: “Hello?? Did you listen to me at all during any of the three separate conversations we had about this when I said no, no and no way?” What I really said was: “Dude, do not tie my tubes. And while we’re clearing things up, please remember that it’s my right leg you’re amputating, not my left.” Sheesh.
I haven’t had the best luck with OB-GYNs actually. I switched to Dr. "While we're in there" from Dr. C who had the bedside manner of a Ginsu Knife commercial. She was always in a big rush -- despite the fact that I consistently waited an hour to see her which may have led me to believe that she had been spending extra time carefully answering her patients’ concerns, but then I’d have been wrong. The last time I saw her, I had a list of questions but couldn’t get a word in before she was out the door with a swift stride and the sentence fragment “four weeks.” It took me several minutes to figure out that she meant “I’ll see you in four weeks” not “you’re four weeks along” which I knew wasn’t right at all.
Before that was Dr. B who belonged to the local consortium of OB-GYNs who run their practice like a carwash. That is if it’s the kind of carwash where they deliver babies instead of wash cars. They were a business first and a group of doctors second. It was all about getting people in and out. They probably hated the fact that babies take 9 whole months to incubate because it limited their productivity. Also at the Jiffy OB’s, I never knew who was going to be on call. It could be the one nice doctor I liked, or it could be the loud boorish one who told me giving birth is almost exactly like having a bowel-movement, or it could be the nervous teenage doctor with the shaky hands who, if pressed, was likely to break down and scream “But Miss Scah-let, I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ babies!” So when I discovered one day that the reason I always waited forever (along with a mob of other people) at the office was because they triple booked their appointments, I never went back. And sadly, they never missed me.
It all started with my first OB-GYN who delivered Ethan. Dr. A was a fine doctor who even sat and watched a football game with my husband through much of my labor (I’m sure if you asked Ken, he could tell you the teams and the final score). I would have stuck with Dr. A for all of my kids except for the fact that he had the nerve to suffer a mid-life crisis, buy a red Ferrari, have an affair with his nurse, lose his medical license and commit suicide in the desert of Southern Utah. None of this was my fault, by the way. I have always been a good patient. I know this because my foot doctor told me so.
Speaking of doctors, I mentioned yesterday that I’m reading a book about The Portrait of Dr. Gachet by Vincent Van Gogh. One reason why the painting has always been so valuable is that Vincent painted it just a few weeks before he killed himself. Dr. Gachet was Vincent’s last desperate attempt to find sanity. But the irony was that Dr. Gachet could do nothing for Vincent and likely suffered from serious “melancholy” of his own. Vincent wrote in a letter to his brother “I think we must not count on Dr. Gachet at all. First of all he is sicker than I am, I think, or shall we say just as much, so that’s that. Now when one blind man leads another blind man, don’t they both fall into the ditch?” Haven’t we all known cases of doctors who need a dose of their own medicine or psychologists who are blind to their own neurosis? Physicians heal thyselves.