Monday, 9 December 2013

Doctor Santa

     I don’t believe in doctors.  I really-truly don’t.  And if that sounds kissing cousins with something nearing religion, it’s cause it is.  I do not believe in them the way you probably don’t believe in Santa (sore subject this time of year, I get it) or the Tooth Fairy.  Yes, it’s probably fear-based, childish pain aversion, for sure.  Deep psychological blocks no doubt, that would take far more time than I have left on this planet to iron out, and as this belief—or rather, non-belief—doesn’t bother me in the slightest, I have bigger psychological fish to fry before I’d ever drum up the will to tackle my aversion to all-things-medical.
     It’s been awkward for me, the whole Health Care debate.  Having lived for nearly a decade in the UK, I know for a fact a National Health System (along with a National Theatre) is a true sign of a healthy society.  Having said that… I don’t really care, (for myself, for myself) cause I’m not playing!  I’m not going!  This will sound harsh, but quite honestly, I’d rather get whatever it is they’re testing for than the test itself!    
     This hard-core lunatic-left-wing stance I take visa-vis the medical world presses buttons in many people, especially in those close to me.  It’s eccentric, I can see that.  And as I get older I’ve found I’ve had to make a few exceptions.  I do go to the dentist.   And last week, I broke down and went to the eye-doctor.
     “Correct me if I’m wrong,” I said, trying to keep from sounding too defensive (well, the doctor was laughing at me.  She’d just asked who my regular physician is, what medications I take, and when my last eye exam had been…the answer to all of it was: ‘none.’).  “Listen Missy, (I didn’t say ‘Missy, but my tone did), I believe the eye is composed of muscles.  Therefore, by not wearing glasses it’s like going to the gym for my eyes, they’re getting a daily workout.  Am I right?”
     She snorted. 
     That was her only response.
     And this is why I don’t go to doctors, I thought.
     And then she started talking to me like there was something wrong with my brain as well as my eyes, slow and calm:  “This might all be a little over-whelming for you, as it’s your first time.  But… you are far-sighted, you have astigmatism, and you have a few floaters.”
     Floaters?  FLOATERS?  That is something found circling the toilet bowl, surely, not your cornea.  Floaters.  It’s impossible say that word with a straight face.  
     And I didn’t.  
     And then I was hustled out fast, handed over to ‘Stephanie,’ the assistant in charge of helping blind people (or nearly-so) make fashion statements with eyewear.
     And this is where I turned a corner. 
     Suddenly I was in.  Suddenly I had to try on every pair they had.  Suddenly Stephanie and I were laughing, bonding.  And I knew I needed not only reading glasses, but driving glasses too, AND dark glasses.  And computer glasses, why not?  I’m a writer, for God’s sake!  I need glasses, I need them, the way Imelda Marcos needs shoes!
     I came away enlightened.  Humbled.  I had no idea going to the doctor could be so much fun. 
     I was blind, but now I see…
     Next up: mammograms.

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