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Laura on Life

Doctor’s Orders

November 3, 2010
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When I went to visit my doctor the other day, I didn't expect it to be a pleasant experience. It wasn't. It was an annual exam, a habit I hope all of my readers will develop. It may save your life one day. Yes, it's expensive to go to the doctor, even if you are not ill. But nobody complains about paying for car insurance, which is really paying for an accident that hasn't happened yet. Consider your annual exam your real health insurance. We all know the drill. That's why we put off such an important preventative measure. It seems like a waste of time to sit around in a waiting room, waiting for someone to tell you that you are fine, but you need to lose weight. Who knows what creates such long waits? I think it might be that the appointment-maker books appointments before the doctor stops hitting the snooze button. So it certainly isn't the doctor's fault. Most doctors want to spend at least fifteen minutes with each patient, as is our due. It isn't the doctor's fault that the appointments are booked every three minutes. I suggest you bring a book and a snack. If Murphy's Law worked in the opposite direction, and you are prepared for a long wait, you will be seen three seconds after you settle into a comfortable arm chair. Fear not, though, you will most likely still need your snack in the examination room. The waiting will simply continue in a different room. The only difference will be that you will be noshing on your cheese doodles while wearing a paper toga and the chair will be cold pedestal covered in paper with no back support. You will soon be wishing you were waiting in the waiting room again. There is no elegant way to greet your doctor. It is uncomfortable at best. Your doctor is afforded liberties you would never allow anyone who hasn't paid for your dinner first. But they have bazillions of dollars in student loans that prove that they have paid for that privilege. Sometimes when I go visit my doctor, she tells me something I didn't know. This year, I was told I should be taking vitamin D and that I needed a tetanus booster. That was a lovely surprise. I had prepared myself for having blood sucked out of my arm, but the tetanus shot was a bonus, I guess. Children are conditioned to be afraid of the doctor because, for the first few years of their life, they have to get shots nearly every time they go. By the time their twelve-year boosters are due, they have convinced themselves that doctors are dungeon masters skilled in the art of torture. My boy, who is nine, saw his pediatrician last week as well. He didn't need a booster shot and it was hard to convince him that he wasn't going to get a shot. Unfortunately, the first thing the doctor asked me was, "Do you want me to give him a flu shot today?"She was playing dirty. If she had said, "He needs a flu shot," I could have simply nodded and blamed it on the doctor. I had just finished convincing him that he doesn't need a shot, so if I answered her question, "yes," which would have been the right thing to do, I would have been a traitor, not to mention a lying SOB. He was spared this time, but now I'll need some divine intervention to protect him from the flu. My son was on a medication that has a side effect of making him eat like a bird. The pediatrician thought he needed to gain some weigh. She prescribed ice cream daily taken orally. Yes, that's what she said. How else would you take it, I wonder? I was in shock. Trying to get my kids to eat things that were good for them had been my life's work. The doctor had just turned my world upside down and made a lifelong friend of my boy. He, in delight, and I, in dismay, said in unison "Really?" "Yep," she said. Then she gave him a high five and quipped, "Who's your doctor, huh?" I wonder if she takes older patients?

Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at Or visit her website for more info. Laura is a syndicated columnist, author, & speaker. You can reach Laura at Or visit her website.



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