You have to feel sorry for doctors, don’t you? Or rather, you don’t but maybe you should. They are about the only people that get absolutely no sympathy when they’re feeling a bit unwell. A doctor calling in sick sounds ridiculous even before you hear the excuse. And although it’s nice to have a doctor who is experienced, you don’t want them too experienced in being sick. You don’t need to hear a stream of maladies by way of qualifications when you show up for an appointment.
Your doctor says, “You have stomach ache, eh? Well let me tell you, I am almost completely intolerant of onions. Give me a dreadful bloat, you see. See that? Let me show you. Bloat, that is. Maybe a little rash there too, do you think? Hmm..wonder what that could be. Anyway, did you eat onions by any chance?”
No. Your doctor must, above all else, never get sick. In fact, you want your doctor to always appear to be exactly the same as the last time you saw him or her; it’s comforting for them to never age, either. Ideally, they would be sitting in a closet somewhere in their office, waiting for you to require their assistance, at which point they’d pop out and pick up where they left off last time.
So doctors should be fit and healthy, with no obvious infirmities. They can even be a little sporty, but not so much as to intimidate. I don’t want to know if they work out every morning before surgery, and I certainly don’t want to hear that they have always enjoyed a perfect diet and never done anything more than indulge in one too many tomato juices. It’s just too high a bar; your doctor’s lifestyle shouldn’t be that far removed from your own, its just that they shouldn’t get sick like you do, at least not when you are looking for a consultation.
There’s always the exception that confirms the rule, of course., and occasionally you might look for a little inside information beyond what’s currently recommended by the Center for Disease Control. “Hmm…your numbers are a little high,” your doctor might say. And the best thing she could follow with to make you feel better is not “Better keep an eye on that”, or “Let’s hold off on medication and see”; no, it would be “Mine were too, but I don’t worry about it, you know.” But they never say that. They are never sick, so they think only of your numbers and the current professional opinion on what to do about them, without any need for over-sharing anything personal.
Social media makes all this more difficult, especially if you doctor insists on a friendly page for his practice that includes pictures of their happy work environment, their exotic vacations, their waterskiing, their perfect family, well-groomed animals and so on. You don’t want to be envious of your doctor; not only is that sinful, it’s just plain depressing when your life seems so far removed from theirs. “Maybe that’s why I’m sick and she never is” you might think, “I need a prescription for their healthy, balanced, happy life.”
But there is no such prescription, or if there was, it was issued when you were very young and by now it’s expired. Too late. Missed the perfect life boat, I’m afraid.
Maybe you too should have become a doctor, then you wouldn’t have to worry about any of this.