Among the many things we had going this week, we were most dreading our “Adoption Physicals.” After spending 2 years seeing a doctor at least 4x/month for fertility treatments, I have felt entitled to a lapse in my physician-monitored life. Therefore, I really haven’t had an actual physical in… 5 years? And the PA I liked is gone, so I had to schedule with whatever doctor was available soonest.
Dr. W walked into the exam room and introduced himself. I did likewise, all-the-while examining his white hair and tall, thin frame, deciding if he seemed trustworthy to me.
He sat down and turned the laptop towards him, eyeing the readings the Medical Assistant had entered for my weight, blood pressure, and pulse.
“Did you eat breakfast this morning?” he asked.
“Yes.” I proudly replied. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Score 1 for me! This was going to be easy.
“What did you eat?”
I was a little caught off-guard by this. “Cereal” I stated.
“What kind of cereal?” he prodded.
“Uhh, Honey Bunches of Oats.” I answered, more meekly this time.
“Ahhh, sugar cereal.”
My defenses went up. Who was this guy to think he could come in here and accuse me of eating sugar cereal?! We don’t even know each other! And I’ll have him know I do NOT buy the “sugar cereals” with the cartoons on the front. I read the labels, ok?!
But all I said was, “I guess… I think it only has 6 grams of sugar.”
“Still sugar.” he told me.
Alright I thought, if it weren’t for you having my future child’s destiny in your hands right now, this visit would be over!!!
But I kept my feelings inside and hoped I could satisfy him enough to give me a pass for this “adoption physical” hooey.
He moved on to the next items. “Blood pressure looks fine, weight looks…” (he hesitated) “stable. Alright, let’s have you take your socks off.”
I have never had to take my socks off for a physical before! It is March in Michigan and I’m not going anywhere for Spring Break, so you can guess how excited I was to take my socks off for him. We might as well have just done a PAP. And P.S., Dr. W., I heard your hesitation before declaring my weight “stable.”
I peeled my socks off, inwardly grumbling and pronouncing my imminent purchase of Trix, just to spite him.
And then – and THEN!
He took my feet and looked between each toe!!! I realized all semblance of dignity had been removed with my socks. I was utterly horrified. Not even my husband has such privilege with my toes.
Ok, this is starting to sound really weird.
Well contrary to how I just made it sound, I sincerely do not believe him to have a foot fetish. In fact, as the examination continued, my respect for him grew. He listened to each artery – “for blockages” he told me. He assessed my posture and the movements of all my joints. He asked that I do a cholesterol and thyroid test. None of which are on the “Adoption Physical” paperwork.
I realized that this physician really cared about his patients’ health. And that it didn’t matter if I felt entitled to my “sugar cereal” because it wasn’t as bad as smoking. He was going to be honest with me about how healthy my choices were, period. Even though we had never met before that, and may never meet again.
In an age where everything is about efficiency, I actually found it refreshing to be with a doctor who – after decades of practice – treated me like my health was his utmost concern. True, the only warm fuzzies in our exchange was whatever may have been hiding between my toes (but, dear Lord, hopefully not there either). But at the end of the appointment I decided I liked him.
Plus, he’s already seen between my sad March-in-Michigan toes. I think we are now eternally bonded as patient and physician.