Bed Side Manner and Other Matters

There are some things you just don’t want to hear or see from the person who holds your health in his or her hands. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your doctor, dentist or lab tech. Sometimes I think these folks have no idea how much power they wield or how in their hands I am like putty.  Their unknowing smirk, crossed eyes or “uh oh” can take on Mount Vesuvius-sized implications when emitted at an inopportune time.


I visited my gynecologist for my annual chamber of horrors exam, fittingly right before Halloween, and we got to chattin’ like we always do. She and I go way back, so it’s safe to say she knows me inside and out. We’re close in age, and often share stories of children, grandchildren, vacations and politics. The conversations occur after the exam. I’m not sure how we’d proceed with our doctor-patient gig were we to disagree on a topic. I’d be in a precariously compromised position, wouldn’t you agree?

Dr. G: “Have you gone on any interesting trips lately?”

Me: “Yes, just got back from a safari in Kenya.”

Dr. G: “Good for you. I’m not that brave. I’d never have the courage to go on safari.”

Me. Gulp.

Thoughts gallop through my head like thoroughbreds. Wait a second. I thought I knew you, Dr. G., but it seems like your simpering ways eluded me. This changes our relationship, and not for the better.

I want my doctor, and especially my GYN, for some reason, to be brave. She enters my inner most sanctum, without benefit of seeing where she’s going. I don’t know about you, but I think that entering dark places without guidance is pretty plucky. Especially when those dark places are me. So for her to confess a lack of bravery is unnerving.

Since my last visit, I’ve been rethinking the qualities I want in a doctor. Being intrepid just became number 1 on my list.

The test? “Hey doc. What do you think about safaris?”


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