Man, medicine sure has changed since I was younger.
I know, I know—I sound like an old fart.
That’s only because I am.
I needed a physical, and since my old doctor quit the profession and moved to Bora Bora, I went to a new doctor. New to me, that is; although they all look ten years old these days.
At any rate, I was ushered into the examining room after only a ten minute wait. “This is pretty good,” I thought.
The doctor came in directly.
“Don’t you want me to take my clothes off and put on one of those hospital gowns?” I asked.
She looked at me as if I had just suggested something filthy.
“That won’t be necessary.”
“Well, how can you do a complete physical if you can’t see my body?”
“That won’t be necessary,” she repeated.
“But suppose I have a mole on my back that’s turned black with cancer? If I leave my clothes on, you’ll never see it.”
“Do you have a mole on your back that has turned black?”
“If it’s on my back, how am I supposed to know? Isn’t that your job?”
She laid a George Dubbya smirk on me and replied, “Let’s begin, shall we?”
She put on three pairs of surgical gloves, a pair of mittens and over that, a pair of chain mail gauntlets, then picked up her stethoscope. She placed it against my back and asked me to inhale and exhale repeatedly.
I also find it interesting that they keep whatever information they glean from such procedures completely to themselves unless you pry it out of them.
“So?” I ask, as she puts the stethoscope in her pocket.
“So how do my lungs sound?”
Next, she stands as far away from me as she can and looks into my ears.
I refrain from further inquiry this time, keeping my growing irritation to myself.
The blood pressure cuff next.
“Hmmmm,” she hmmmms.
“Your blood pressure is a little high.”
She walks across the room and sits at her computer, typing away.
She has not checked my glands, looked at my throat, examined my breasts or weighed me.
I’m beginning to question if I’m even there. What she’s done so far is avoided touching me at all. I feel diseased.
The visit was doing nothing for my self-esteem, let me tell you.
Once she gets her nose out of the computer, she prints off and hands me a sheaf of paper…a big sheaf of paper.
“For what? What’s wrong with me?”
“I have no idea.”
Suddenly, I have an awful thought. “Are you the receptionist?”
“No. I’m the doctor.”
“Because, so far, you have barely looked at me, are treating me like I have Ebola, and haven’t asked about my medical history. Is this the way you deal with all your new patients? Is there something about living, breathing humanity that you think requires genocide to cleanse the planet? What the hell is going on here?”
She sighs and shakes her head. “Please take these referrals and make appointments with the specialists on them, then get back to me when you have the results.”
“Don’t they send you the results?”
“That won’t be necessary—you’ll have them.”
I paged through the half-ream of paper she gave me. “Let’s see…cardiologist, even though, had you asked me, I could have told you that there is no history of heart problems in my family. Endocrinologist…uh, I think I’ve probably stopped growing and am of a normal height. Pulmonologist…I ran the Boston Marathon this year and came in second. Dermatologist…my acne days are rather far behind me. Rheumatologist…not a bit of arthritis, either.”
The list just went on and on.
“So what you’re saying is that you want all these other doctors to do your job for you, while you get paid to play World of Warcraft or whatever you were doing on that damned computer. Christ, you didn’t even draw my blood!”
“That won’t be necessary.”
“Oh, right, because I have to go to a specialist for that, too, right?”
“Where, exactly, did you get your diploma? McDonald’s?”
I gathered up my paperwork and left.
When I went to the front desk to check out, the perky little blonde asked, “Would you like to make your next appointment?”
“That won’t be necessary,” I replied.