Now before the Politically Correct legions on the internet break out the Tar & Feathers, I am not suggesting that women are necessarily bad for the American Health System. On the other hand, recent experiences suggest that women seem to have a YUGE gap in one aspect of practicing medicine in a society where – last time I checked – males comprise roughly half the patient population.
Now this problem likely will not manifest should you be a male below the age of 10 or should you suffer from chronic or debilitative disease. No, the problem is much more pronounced if you are a relatively healthy male simply in need of temporary care for any number of Life’s more manageable maladies.
The problem? A significant deficit in Compassion!
Allow me to demonstrate with a few recent examples.
Over a recent stretch of 7-10 days I was afflicted with an annoying – but manageable – sinus infection. No big deal, right? But I just could not get rid of it. So after missing a day of work due to lack of sleep from a nagging, hacking cough, I decided to seek the assistance of the American Health System.
After making an afternoon appointment, I announced to my wife of
31 … oops … 32 years of my desire to make a doctor’s appointment . Carol – a Neonatal nurse for years and years – helpfully offered to accompany me. Despite my selfless insistence that her presence was not necessary, I acquiesced to her rather persistent interest in my well-being.
That was Mistake #1 …
Due to the immediacy of my condition, I was unable to see my regular physician – a male, I might add – but was completely satisfied with being place in the care of a Nurse Practitioner. When admitted to your typical patient treatment room, we were joined by the NP (whose name will be protected regardless of her crappy bedside manner) followed by her shadowing medical student … also female, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
As I launched into a brief synopsis of my symptoms and answering a few pertinent questions specific to the outbreak, my lovely wife felt compelled to add a rather over-dramatized version of my more audible coughing plus her preliminary diagnosis (“just a cold”), along with a completely unnecessary portrayal of my “needy behavior” during the peak of my critical debilitation. That’s when the NP turned to Carol and said, “Oh … He has the Man flu!”
The room broke down into spasms of hilarity. Well, most of it anyway …
I was hardly amused … And though I will credit the med student for breaking a noticeable sweat trying to contain her female guffaws, the complete lack of medical decorum was alarming. So once the laughter died down, I stared down the NP and mentioned that her remark lacked a certain sense of Compassion. She was almost able to wipe the smile off her face.
Then she turned to female medical student and told her, “Yeah … Don’t do that. It’s not nice … or professional.” At which point she looked at Carol, who was still doubled over in laughter, and broke out in tee-hees and titters all over again. By this time said female medical student was losing her battle with Propriety and was turning six shades of red.
Aside from the ruthlessly snide anti-Man remarks and goofy sick voices (I know I don’t really sound like that!), I was half expecting them to drag out the contraction demonstration belt in which so many women seem to take perverse pleasure in!
I felt lonely and minimalized.
Flash back roughly 23 years ago … After siring three sons, it was time for me to do my part to belay Carol’s stress over future pregnancies by doing the only manly thing I could, sacrificing my own mechanism of fertility to the wonders of Modern Medicine!
As I walked into my urologist’s office, accompanied by the ever “sympathetic” Carol, I was met with so many smiling (female) faces that I immediately relaxed as my stress over the impending procedure melted away.
Then the jokes started.
I will spare you the offensive images and suggestions that were rained upon my delicate mental state. But the psychological impact was demoralizing … even if I managed a nervous laugh here and there.
I was so unsettled I decided to take the issue up with my urologist … pre-sterilization. But when I mentioned that his female office staff could use a few reminders on Compassion and Empathy, Dr. HedgeClippers looked at me and said, “I can’t say anything. They scare me!”
It’s tough being a Man in a Woman’s world …