I spent a long and discouraging day seeing a series of ear and sinus specialists. It seems I have an unusual knack for encountering oddballs and asses in the medical profession. Today, it was the later.
If you think I am prone to exaggeration let me take you back to one of those stories that falls into the categories – it could only happen to me and too strange to be true. It happened a few years during an allergy appointment. At that time, I had been seeing a woman allergist for a number of years, who shared a practice with her husband. I was not fond of the woman, deeming her one of the oddballs, but since I only had to see her once a year to report on the progress of my allergy shots, I let it slide. One of the things I found annoying was the woman’s reluctance to allow anyone to accompany me into her office. I like to have someone there with me to hear what the doctor says and to remind me should I forget anything. Yet, on the occasion that I tried to have my mother join me, I was warned first by the receptionist and then the nurse that the doctor liked to see patients alone. When I spoke up and said that I would prefer that my mother be there, the Doctor adamantly ordered her out of the room.
The doctor was an older woman, stern with a commanding air. I was intimidated, but I held my ground and my mother stayed, but this scene was repeated each time I visited her office. I mentioned the behavior to my primary care physician at the time, who became very quite and seemed uncomfortable, but said nothing. I continued to see the allergist because it was necessary to continue my course of allergy shots.
As I said, this continued for a number of years. The visits came to an end, however, one November when I went to her for yet another progress report. We were told once again that the Doctor did not want anyone coming into the office, so my mother remained in the hall between the Doctor’s office and that of her husband, also an allergist. I went in and after the usual formalities, the doctor said she needed to give me a shot. This was highly unusual and as I started to question her she breezed out of the room. A moment later she returned, shot in hand. At that moment, her husband appeared in the hallway and called in a question. She turned and said, “Honey, dinner will be ready soon. I’m basting the turkey!”
That was it. I was out of there. I returned to my primary care physician a few days later, reported what had happened and learned on the q.t. that the Doctor was retiring and may have been experiencing some dementia. It seems a number of people in the medical profession were recently in the know, but were letting her serve out her final weeks out of respect for her stellar career. Given her behavior over the last few years, I wanted to tell them this career had been a little less than stellar and maybe the onset of dementia went back a little further than they thought. I know this story is scary as well as humorous and could even have had legal ramifications, but it’s so typical of my medical experiences that I have become immune. It also set the bar. To me a good medical experience is to escape the appointment without being basted. If someone has to be a turkey, let it be the doctors and not me!