Thursday, February 11, 2010

the doctor will see you now

i'm usually so good about making and keeping annual doctor appointments, but for some reason this year i cannot motivate. i know i should be excited about having my teeth scraped at the periodontist and my breasts shmushed for my mammogram and my cervix....ok, you get it. and this year i'm 50 and a new test gets added - the colonoscopy. hard to imagine why i'm not running to these appointments.

from a tender age, women are poked and prodded, shmushed and kneaded, and i'm just not in the mood. of course i will make the appointments, but i need a little time. maybe it's that i've been speaking with women about the interesting and sometimes odd relationships they have with their doctors. the intimate relationship a woman has with her doctor usually starts at a very young age with her first gynecologist. this relationship can make quite a lasting impression. i vividly remember my first gyno: middle aged, white man, who preached about abstaining until marriage. 

i was 16, far away from having sex and certainly not thinking about marriage. we were not a good match. after realizing this, my mother found a woman gyno who unfortunately was as cold as the speculum. the search was back on to find another doctor. i returned to the middle aged man model, but this time he had a sense of humor and a toupee. i stayed with him for many years and then decided that there is a reason why women gynecologists understand us better. for the last few years my gyno has been one of the funniest and smartest women i know and makes the poking and prodding part of the visit as pleasant as possible.

wwcd: start penciling in all the appointments


  1. Interesting that we see our Doctors as either know it all miracle workers who sometimes give us results we would rather not hear about or professionals whom we detest to go see no matter how much we approve of them. If you are lucky to find great doctors who possesses wonderful skills and a great personality then you have struck gold. Sometimes one has to 'shop' a long time to find the perfect fit. Taking a friend to these appointments is sometimes beneficial. Partake in lunch, perhaps a drink and then take a trip to Victoria's Secret. Make the day worthwhile no matter what level of pain is experienced and these procedures may not seem so bad after all.

  2. This is a strange balance between a kind of deep intimacy and an impersonal professional relationship. It seems to me that as we age, it becomes even more of a challenge to balance our own sense of what is responsible health care with the constant insistence of insurance companies that market prevention, symptom suppression, rejection of natural aging processes, and procedures deeply connected to avoiding malpractice lawsuits. No wonder doctors have trouble negotiating these relationships too. I am happy to have a couple younger women physicians who are willing to advise and look after me when I need them.

  3. Dear Casper:

    Was just scanning your blog and read this entry. I highly recommend Dalton alum Nicole Kafka for your colonoscopy. (Mozilla seems to think that is not the correct spelling.) She did mine, and was very professional and thorough. I had previously had a sigmoidoscopy, years ago, which had been an uncomfortable procedure. This was a breeze. The hardest part was the prep, and Nicole's website has a link to a great Dave Barry column about that process.

    All the best.

    Matt G

    P.S. I know this is a public comment rather than an email, but what the hell...