Playing Doctor

Being middle aged is not very glamorous. For months now, I have had to work extra hard to take blood pressures. I always pump the sphygmomanometer up higher than the nurses and release the pressure slower, and consequently have a reputation of finding more hypertension cases than most…

In simple conversations at home, I have had to ask my wife to repeat things a lot lately. I haven’t heard the crickets or the frogs on the river from our bedroom for a couple of years now, and my tinnitus once had me worry that the screech in the sound system at the symphony was an exacerbation of my own medical problem.

Today, I resolved to do something about it, and brought home my housecall bag. After dinner, which we in usual fashion had in the sunroom with a kerosene lamp on the table and a nice bottle of Cotes du Rhone, I asked my wife, who is a medical provider no longer doing the work I do, to check me for ear wax.

I had not anticipated the reaction I got. She broke down in hysterical laughter. In between paroxysms of giggling I heard her utter the words “middle aged” and “playing doctor”.

So, after our romantic dinner and her giggling spell, she checked my ears. The verdict was not what I wanted: No wax. So now I have to weigh my options. I am thinking I might get one of those fancy stethoscopes with built-in amplification. So far I can handle conversations if I pay close attention, and I don’t think I need a hearing aid just yet.

After all, I hear a lot of men during their annual physical exams say: “My wife says I don’t hear too well.”

I always reassure them: “They all say that!”

4 Responses to “Playing Doctor”

  1. 1 Isabelle October 2, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Hello. I happened on your blog the other day (via Jellyhead) and am finding it very interesting. I haven’t been able to comment up till now because I’ve been having a little work lunchtime blogread and I don’t feel I should comment from there… Our son is a very junior doctor, considering being a GP, and I’ve been reading somewhat gingerly, fearful to find that you’re completely miserable in the job. Haven’t read all that much yet – horribly busy at home and work at the moment – so am not quite sure how miserable you are, but this moving-to-France thing isn’t propitious. Anyway, just thought I’d check in meantime…

  2. 2 Isabelle October 2, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    I left a comment – or thought I did – a moment ago, but it seemed to vanish. So this is just a test.

  3. 3 acountrydoctorwrites October 2, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    I’m not miserable at all.

  4. 4 Isabelle October 4, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Aaarrgghh – I’d read two doctors’ blogs – both very interesting – and the second I’d left the comment on yours, realised that the other one was moving to France. But the comment didn’t seem to have arrived anyway.

    But it had. Sorry. I have a cold. I’ve been spending my evenings marking essays. My brain has died. (Do you have cure for this?)

    I’m delighted that you’re not miserable! I don’t think the other doctor is entirely either (haven’t had time to read full story yet) but he’s obviously had enough.

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Osler said “Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis”. Duvefelt says “Listen to your patient, he is telling you what kind of doctor he needs you to be”.



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