In all the hubbub over the past two years of meeting Dr. Husband and falling in love and getting engaged and moving in together and getting pregnant and getting married (and getting nauseous and getting fat and getting varicose veins) I neglected to remember one thing: doctors don’t like me. Or maybe it’s that I don’t always like them. In any case, I’m the type of person with a note on file at one doctor’s office that reads, “Patient is very [emphasis theirs] skeptical of Western medicine”—because I declined her offer of Prozac samples to treat my lifelong habit of crying when I'm sad.
I just had my first bad OB trip, one of those visits where everything everyone says is wrong—so much so that you have to wonder, is it just me? Am I being overly sensitive? Should I have taken some Prozac this morning?
The crimes of the nurse and doctor are too numerous (and boring and inane) to chronicle here, so I’ll just give you a sampler, like a box of Whitman’s.
Nurse [suddenly interested—on my, like seventeenth visit—in my professional life]: Oh, you’re a writer! Are you published?
Need I say more? That question is like asking a doctor, “Have you killed anyone?”
Okay, it’s not really the same—but neither is it the end of our disheartening exchange!
Me: Uh…yeah…in some literary magazines and Seattle Metropolitan and—
Nurse: No books, though?
Me: I’m working on that.
Nurse: Do you write baby books?
Me [taking a moment to parse what she means]: Um…no…not really…my stuff has pretty much been for grownups so far.
Nurse: Oh. Well if you write a baby book, you’ll have to let us know! You’ll be the first writer I know!
Me: I’ve have this excruciating pain in my pelvis [and some other even more personal regions I’ll refrain from naming here] the past few days that I finally self-diagnosed as varicose veins.
Formerly Beloved Doctor [slipping on a pair of latex gloves]: Let’s have a look.
Me: Um… I’m actually latex-sensitive… not that it’s a big deal, but apparently it’s better if I don’t have a lot of exposure to—
Formerly Beloved Doctor: What are your symptoms?
Me: Well, itchiness.
Formerly Beloved Doctor: An allergy would be highly unusual.
Me [trying my hardest not to slip into apology mode]: Oh. Yeah. Um. Well… my last gynecologist told me it was better not to be exposed to latex if I’m sensitive to it because it could develop into an allerg—
Formerly Beloved Doctor [slipping on a pair of non-latex gloves]: Be sure to remind me at each visit. It’s habit to reach for the latex ones.
Me [in my head]: Right! Because that exchange went so well! And isn’t there a place somewhere on my chart for such tidbits?
Me [out loud]: Okay.
Formerly Beloved Doctor [peering between my legs]: Yep. You’re right. Varicose veins.
Me: Any suggestions?
Formerly Beloved Doctor: I’ve seen worse.
Me: But any suggestions for making this case less painful?
Formerly Beloved Doctor: Oh, they usually go away when you give birth.
Me [in my head]: Usually! Usually! I don’t even recognize my nether-regions anymore but that’s okay—these things usually clear up eventually?
Me [out loud]: So I just need to toughen up?
Formerly Beloved Doctor: …
The problem with being married to a doctor is when you have a doctor’s office visit like this one, he takes the mean doctor’s side! “She was probably just having a bad day” indeed!
I want apologies! I want do-overs! I want suggestions for how to make my crotch stop killing me! I want a nice, soft, squishy midwife!
But, yes, I still want an epidural, dammit.