Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A good patient

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.


Heth said...

Wow Julie. I just love how you tie all these thoughts together. That is just crazy about Dr. A. Oh, my goodness.

We are lucky that I have a wonderful family dr. who has delivered most of my babies and sits with my husband chatting about all kinds of things. It is getting to the point that he pretty much lets Nate deliver the baby. Kind of scary.

Karen said...

My OB-GYN is the 'McDreamy' of the hospital I was admitted to. So much so that by the time I had my 2nd baby, people were stopping me in the lift when they saw on my son's tag who his doctor was.

"Isn't Dr ### meant to be the really good looking one?" they'd ask me, in hushed tones like he was the returning messiah.

Nothing said about the cuteness of my recently expelled child, however!!

Anonymous said...

LOL at the Jiffy Lube doctors - I think I have been seen by them. I delivered my first child in your neck of the woods. Loved the hospital I was at, the nurses were wonderful, but my doctor was HORRID! Thank goodness, my new doctor is amazing. I am tempted to have another just because I would love to see her again :) !!

And why is it that half of the doctors I see know less about whatever condition I am there for than I do? I think my insurance company should send me a check.

Glad your boot is off. I am sure you are eternally grateful to have two good feet now. Are you making bread anytime soon?

Anonymous said...

Yea, that was my experience giving birth in Utah Valley. Every OB appointment the doctor kept me waiting at least one hour and then when I finally went into labor I was going fast and he didn't show, and he didn't show and he didn't show. The nurses kept having me hold the baby back until he got there. I'm not nearly such a pushover nowadays, I would have told the nurses what-for and then had the baby myself and told the doctor to just try and collect his fee.

But I've had better experiences up here. I think it's the massive birth rate of Provo.

meno said...

I don't think oyu have bad luck with ob-gyns, i think that the majority of them flunked bedside manner in school.
Congratulations on the bootlessness.

allysha said...

If you have another child, I can give you the name of the Women's clinic I went to for my first two kids. Certified Nurse Midwives. I loved them. I miss them desperately. In some ways New York is a very odd place to have a baby. They treat children here in such a funny way. I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, those are some of the worst OBGYN stories ever. He didn't tie your tubes, did he? How incredibly, incredibly frightening.

But congrats on getting the boot off, and I'm glad your orthopedist is a better doc than your OB.

Be careful with the bread baking ;)

jane said...

I loved my CNM too! I'm sure there are bad ones out there, just like bad doc's, but I chose her specifically because I wanted someone who would stick around diring the labor and answer ALL my questions at my appointments.

Anonymous said...

I am going through the "should I jump ship"phase right now. My dr is impossible to get in touch w/. When I was 34 I went to her because I was having a hard time getting pg. She told me I was too young to worry. A year later she says things like, "At your age we should be concerned!" Hello! How much difference would those 6 mo. have made to help me then? And now how have those 6 months changed things. Disgusting! Now I just don't want to loose any time by switching.

This one hospital by me has a dr. on call at all times. YOu don't get to choose who you get at all, but you get your own midwife who is with you from start to finish. Now that sounds great.

Anonymous said...

You should live in the Bible Belt, they love us LDS mothers-we're consistent customers. ;>)

The Lazy Organizer said...

Oh my goodness! There are just too many things here to comment on!

First of all are you feeling exposed without your boot? Yay for your naked foot! I wanted to say something about your losing any extra Holiday weight that you might have gained but it’s not coming out right so never mind.

I love my midwife. She does everything I tell her to and those are always my favorite kind of people! Although where was she when my husband was hitting me with a hammer during labor? I don’t know but it’s a good thing my sister was there to step in and strangle him.

Every therapist I have ever known has been in serious need of therapy so you must be right.