Today I want to talk about doctors. The good, the bad and the terrible. Doctors, for the most part, are fine individuals. They are wanting to do good, to help people. They spend years and years studying to become what they are. I admire that.
The last few months I have met a lot of doctors. With what the husband is going through, we have seen and talked to more doctors than I can keep up with. They have been kind, considerate and some are even downright funny. I also realize doctors are people too, just like you and me. They have a past, a family, friends, embarrassing moments. All of it. Even if some don’t want to admit to that time in college when they went to that one keg party and completely became inebriated and passed out on the neighbor’s lawn. Naked. With a stuffed purple Barney.
Personally, I have met some great doctors. I have also met some terrible doctors. Those are the ones I want to talk about today. The terrible ones. The ones that have terrible ‘bedside manner’, if not down right bad hygiene. Yeah, those doctors.
In my many years of living I’ve met a whole lot of doctors. In my case, most of them were bad. Maybe not bad in being a doctor, but bad in being a person. I seem to draw the worst luck in that aspect. You’ll see what I mean.
Let me go back to the first one I remember. Way back in the time machine to when I was about ten years old. Just a little girl. I developed what was later found out to be a kidney infection. I remember it hurt bad. Terrible pain. Back then most people didn’t go to doctors. You only went if the home remedies didn’t work. Or you were dying. Well, I thought I was dying. My mom must have finally realized that, yes, I was in terrible pain and needed a doctor. So she took me to one.
We lived in what was called in Milwaukee back than as ‘the inner core’, which basically means we were living in the slums. Poor people lived there. Of all colors. My mom and I walked to the doctor’s office. My dad had to work and we had no money for bus fare. As for cabs? That was for rich people! Not us. It was like the walk from Hell. We finally get to the doctor’s office and it’s two flights of stairs up. It’s in an old three-story building. I remember those stairs because it was just pure agony walking up them. I cried all the way up. Slowly.
We reach the doctor’s office and go in. The doctor was the only person there. Sitting behind this big wooden desk. She motions us in and we sit in two hard, dark wood chairs that I think came from some school. The doctor was this tall, stately woman with short grey hair, wearing slacks and a blouse and no-nonsense shoes. She also had a no-nonsense look on her face. She never smiles. I remember that too.
She asks my mother whats wrong with me. My mother tells her. She looks at me and frowns and asks to come over to her and show her where it hurts. So that’s what I do. Scared to death I was. She was formidable. The doc sends me back to my chair and starts asking my mom a bunch of questions. Both my mom and I finally realize where the doctor was going with the questions. She thought I was pregnant! At ten years old!
My mother was livid. I think that’s the only time my mother came to my defense. My mother puffs herself up and says firmly….”My daughter is NOT pregnant!” She reminded me of a banty rooster. I was proud of her, but scared to death. The doctor backs down and tells her that she would be amazed at how many young girls come in complaining of things and it ends up they are pregnant. Which was probably true in our neighborhood of poor folks. There was a lot of drugs, alcohol and sex abuse going on. My mother was a bit clueless back then.
Anyway, turns out I had a kidney infection. I was put on penicillin and got over it. That was the first bad experience with a doctor, but not my last.
The next one was a real winner. I was married to my first husband then. Young and so naive. I got pregnant for the second time. (I lost the first within weeks) I knew I was pregnant. I always did. We went to a doctor so I could get examined. Now I was a bit overweight that time. Not much. About twenty pounds. On my small frame it looks more than it is. I get in the room and was told to undress by the nurse.
I wait a good twenty minutes or more for the doctor. He comes in….reeking of tobacco. His white coat didn’t fit over his protruding belly. He examines me. Asking me a few questions. Didn’t take but a couple of minutes. He tells me to sit up and he puts his hands on his hips and states….”I can’t tell if you are pregnant because you’re too fat!” I sit there shocked. I try not to take too deep of a breath because the man stunk so bad.
He goes to wash his hands and as he’s washing them he tells me that maybe I should step away from the ‘trough’ more often. Yes, he used the word trough. Like a pig would use. I stood up. Got dressed while he was still talking about diets and crap and never said another word to him. I wanted to slap him. I walked out on him mid-sentence and never went back. Two weeks later I miscarried. Bastard.
Now this last one I’m going to tell you about was a real winner. I still shake my head. It was a few years later. Still married to the ex (but not for long) and was working for my sister-in-law. I go to work feeling tired and worn out as I found out the night before that my husband was cheating on me….again. We fought, he became enraged and well…lets say it wasn’t pretty. I went to work and a few hours later my face feels weird. Numb. The last customer looked at me weird when I smiled at her. Something wasn’t right.
I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. My face was off kilter. The left side was weird-looking. I smiled in the mirror and only half my face moved! I pinched my left cheek and didn’t feel anything. I thought I was having a stroke. At thirty-seven years old. I called the only person I could. My ex. Told him what was going on. He came and took me to a walk in clinic. And that’s where I met him……the octopus doctor.
I go into the room and only have to wait a few minutes for this middle-aged doctor to show up. He looks me up and down and smiles a huge smile. He introduces himself and takes my hand in both of his and wouldn’t let go. He asks me whats wrong, I tell him. He looks all concerned and cups my left cheek. Alarm bells are ringing, but low. Then he says he wants to listen to my heart and lungs. Fine. Most doctors would.
He unbuttoned my first two buttons on my shirt so my cleavage is showing. He listens to my heart and lungs when I suddenly notice his other hand is resting on the side of my breast. Bigger alarm bells go off. I move just enough so that his hand isn’t on my breast. He walks away a few steps and starts writing something on my chart and asks me when he can give me a through exam. Huh? I shrug my shoulders and don’t answer. By now the alarm bells are deafening.
He laughs and walks back to me and tells me he would LOVE to give me a head to foot exam. I just try to smile and say nothing. He takes a piece of kleenex and tells me to close my eyes. Oh crap. I do it. I think if he does anything wonky I will deck him. Suddenly I feel the kleenex against my good cheek. He wants to know if I feel that. I say yes. A few seconds later he wants to know if I feel that, again. I say I don’t feel anything.
Suddenly what I do feel is both his hands sliding down my chest! I open my eyes and stare at him. He smiles and starts talking like nothing just happened. I couldn’t get out of that place fast enough!
He tells me I have Bells Palsy and what to do. As I’m leaving with a prescription for steroids he tells me not to forget about that physical!
So yeah, I’ve had my fair share of bad doctors. How about you? Got any good stories? Let me know!