Blog: See a Doctor

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Burt Ross

A few months back I saw a friend of mine outside of Ralph’s, and she was walking with a noticeable limp. I had polio when I was 7 years old, and I have been limping ever since, so I take note of limps.  “What’s wrong?” I asked my friend.

She explained that her hip was giving her a lot of trouble and causing her pain. “So what are you doing about it?” I inquired. She responded with a litany of cures she had tried. You name it, she had tried it. She had meditated (not medicated), tried acupuncture, seen a reflexologist, whatever that is, and did yoga. I think she drank carrot juice also.

“But what is wrong with your hip?” I persisted. She seemed genuinely confused by my question. “What did your doctor say?” I continued. There was silence. I didn’t mean to cross-examine my friend or to badger her, but something did not make sense. Finally I asked the all important question, “Have you seen a doctor?”  She looked at me with utter amazement as if I had suggested she see a plumber for her hip.

Probably because my daughter Kate is a doctor, and because doctors have helped me throughout my life, I do not distrust them, and see them when my body tells me there is something wrong. I have encountered a few friends in my lifetime who refuse to see doctors no matter what. Perhaps they fear the doctor might tell them what they must already know—something is definitely wrong, especially if they are in pain and limping around.

My friend confessed that she feared a doctor might tell her she needed surgery. “That’s a possibility,” I agreed, “but then again, the doctor might have another solution. Did you think of that?” I postulated.  “Well, I don’t like taking medicine,” she confided. She had now ruled out both surgery and medicine. It was becoming clear why she had no use for the medical profession. I finally realized I was obviously barking up the wrong tree. 

A few days ago I saw my friend again, and she was limping worse than ever. “Did you ever get around to seeing a doctor?” I asked. She ignored my question but offered me what she thought might pass as great news, “I have booked three Thai massages.”