Matters of Justice

You will be shocked at the story I have for you today. And I’m not being facetious. I was shocked. Just stay with me here. You’ll see.

Remember how I told the story of my “Adoption Physical?” Well Tyler had his also around the same time as mine mine.

When I asked him how it had gone he said, “Fine. The doctor was kind of weird.” He wasn’t thrilled that the only opening they had was with a female doctor. I wasn’t surprised at his summation.

“Weird?” I asked.  I giggled a little inside as I asked, “Did you have to–”

“No.” he said. He knew what I was going to ask. We both were hopeful our physicals would be nice and simple: Blood pressure, pulse, lungs, done. None of that socks-off-foot-assessment or any other *ahem* uncomfortable examinations.

He said matter-of-factly, more amused than offended, “She did ask me ‘Why don’t you want to just have kids the normal way?'”

Why-don’t-you-want-to-just-have-kids-the-normal-way????

I was incited. How could a physician — a physician — ask such a question?

I try to be understanding of people who ask this question out of ignorance that 1 out of every 8 couples will struggle with infertility.

I try to pretend I can empathize with someone who says “I am so done having kids.” or “When he looks at me, I get pregnant.” or “I cried when I saw the positive pregnancy test.”

I know they love their kids and they don’t realize the sting I feel. I know that I am probably ignorant of their life circumstances, and how another child will add to the level of stress or chaos in their household.

But a physician? A physician likely will have had patients suffering from infertility in the 25+ years experience this lady had. Justice must be served!!!

Now before you think that was the shocker of the story and move on to the “Which Modern Rock Star Should I Date?” Buzzfeed Quiz, take a quick sip of  coffee and keep reading.

So when Tyler told me this, I made up my mind that when I went back in to get my TB test read I would see if there was anyway to give some anonymous feedback to this particular doctor. I knew Tyler wouldn’t do it and would probably try to talk me out of it, so I was just going to not make a big deal out of it.

I stopped by the front window on my way out and asked the receptionist, “Do you guys have comment cards?” She seemed a little surprised by my question. Oh boy, I thought, maybe I should just drop it. 

“We have these ‘Rockstar’ badges.” she said as she held out a star-shaped paper with lines to write words of affirmation.

“Does that go on a wall somewhere, like publicly? I asked.

“Yeah” she smiled.

“Oh…” I said. This was getting uncomfortable. Why can’t I just be chill like Tyler? (“Chill”? Can’t I think of a better, more age-appropriate word? Apparently not…)

“Well…. that’s not quite what I was thinking. I guess it’s not a big deal. I just wanted to give some anonymous constructive feedback to a specific individual.”

I could tell it clicked with her, so she offered me the office manager’s business card.

I accepted it and thanked her and went on my way. The card has been sitting on my coffee table for 2 weeks now. I should have just thrown it away and let it go (Please resist the urge to break into song.) It’s not like she is our regular doctor.

Then yesterday Tyler got a letter in the mail. “Dear Tyler: It is with great sadness that we are writing to inform you of the sudden death of Dr. M. N.”

Little did I know that the day after I took that business card to email her manager about being more sensitive, she passed away.

I was shocked. I felt awful. But was so glad I hadn’t passed along my feedback.

I guess what I learned from that is to have a little more grace with people. Before I go picking out the speck in someone else’s eye, I need to think about the log in my own (Matthew 7:3). Because I am sure not perfect and have said ignorant or offensive things myself that I truly didn’t mean. And I’m sure Dr. N did not ask her question for it to sound like “What’s wrong with you?” or “Why would you want to adopt?” Or maybe she didn’t realize what a great gift adoption is, both for us and for this baby that will be ours.

Regardless, all that really matters is that matters of true justice are given supreme priority. Like caring for orphans, feeding the hungry, supporting the shut-ins, and giving aid to victims of disaster.

And as for other matters, a humorous approach is probably the best:

 

 

The Examination

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?!

IMG_20150329_151206752

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.”

Seriously? 

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.