Egad! They are all younger than me! How did this happen?
My last contemporary doctor — Yesterday I had an appointment with my cancer surgeon. I have an annual check-up with him and have been his patient for 10 years. He is the only doctor who is my contemporary.
When we first met, we were both in our mid-50s. Yesterday I asked if him if he was thinking about retirement. His response was “in a few years.” I will miss him. There is something soothing about him. We relate in some way that works.
Another one bit the dirt — My dentist retired about two years ago and my new dentist is almost young enough to be my grandson. He’s a great dentist but is at a very different life stage.
I knew my old dentist well from being a longtime patient. He would talk about his family while he had his hands in my mouth. (Why do they do that? Sometimes they even ask questions while their hands are in your mouth!) He had funny stories about his grandkids. Sometimes there were photos to share.
My new dentist doesn’t take the time for that kind of connection and quite honestly his practice is too busy. He probably connects with patients his age who have similar interests.
The older ones — I remember when I was a little girl. I went to a doctor who was a kindly old grandfather type. He handed out awful candy. (Hadn’t he heard about the merits of chocolate?)
I would always pray that I didn’t need a shot. That was the worst (or so I thought) outcome of a doctor visit. “Please God, let him give me pills instead of a shot,” I would pray in the car on the way.
They got younger — In high school, our family doctor was closer to my parents’ age. I didn’t mind getting a shot but still preferred pills as the resolution to my ills. He was very different from my older doctor.
You would never call him nice or kindly. He was all business. He would yell at you (yes, yell — he was the original House) if you didn’t follow instructions precisely. He didn’t do house calls and he was a lot more likely to send you to the hospital for blood tests or x-rays if he didn’t know what was going on. I credit him with resolving a long-term problem I had that turned out to be chronic appendicitis. My symptoms had baffled several doctors.
Then they are my age — Somewhere in my late 30s and early 40s I realized that my doctors were my age. My gynecologist was the kid in 5th grade who was fascinated with lady parts. We thought he was a pervert and here he is, brilliant in his field. It was still a little creepy.
Now they are younger than me — I saw another transition a few years ago. My current family doctor is much younger than me but not quite as young as my dentist. He is “nice” and competent and connected to a network of similarly aged doctors. I envision them discussing challenging cases but in reality, they probably play golf and quaff a few brews.
My gynecologist is in her 40s. We connect really well. Perhaps I remind her of her mother or maybe she is that kind of doctor.
You show me yours and I’ll show you mine — There is something weird about showing your body parts to kids so much younger. I had a complete cardiac workup about two years ago. I swear the specialist just started shaving. How could he possibly be a cardiac specialist? It didn’t help that he was drop-dead gorgeous either. There I was, sweaty on the treadmill. It didn’t really matter though. I was definitely an old lady to him.
Medicine is such an evolving field that “young” isn’t bad. It takes the combination of experience from the older doctors and the new ideas and methods from those fresh out of school to make change.
If you can stand body fluids (which I can’t), it’s an exciting field to be in.