After moving five years ago, I was due for an annual exam, and I decided to try and find a gynecologist close to my new home. (I know what you’re thinking: geography shouldn’t be the primary determining factor when choosing a physician. But it seemed to make sense at the time.)
Though I would have preferred a female doctor, the closest one that was listed by my insurance carrier, who was also taking new patients (red flag?), was an older man. OK. It wasn’t that big of a deal. So I went – and it was like a blind date gone horribly, terribly wrong.
Why? Nothing was all that strange initially. He seemed a little too paternal while asking me questions, and seemed annoyingly critical of my choice to wait a few more years before seriously considering the “having children” question, but that by itself didn’t throw me.
No, what ultimately did him in was when, after the exam, he said, “I like to give my patients a hug at the end of an appointment, as long you’re comfortable with that.”
Shocked, and not wanting to seem cold or rude, I reflexively held my arms out for this doctor’s bizarre, cursory embrace. Honestly, I didn’t, and don’t, think he was a dirty old man who got off on hugging women. I really do believe that he thought that this would foster an ease between patients and himself.
But that didn’t make the moment any less weird and uncomfortable. I couldn’t help thinking, “You were just elbow-deep up in my business. I need you to have some professional distance, sir, or this whole house of cards comes tumbling down.”
So I knew I wouldn’t be back, despite spending a good deal of time filling out paperwork. Alas, my first appointment with the hugging gyno was inevitably destined to be my last.
Why am I telling this story? Well, for one thing, it’s funny. But for another thing, it demonstrates how often things just come out of nowhere and throw us for a loop.
This has been all the more true since I became a parent. A couple of weeks, ago, for instance, we had a truly wonderful, fun weekend with Lily. She was a doll both days – playful, affectionate, talkative, active – as is summed up nicely by this short video I shot of her then. (By the way, she’s sporting camo shorts over the pink, orange and purple striped pants, but you can’t see them because of the electric pink and green tutu she pulled over the ensemble. I love when she chooses her own outfit.)
See? She was a happy little bug all weekend. So imagine our surprise when, an hour after we put her down to sleep on Sunday evening, we heard her whimpering over the monitor. I went up and saw her sitting up in her crib, shaking. “Do you want a bink?” I asked, reaching out to touch her and feeling that she was wet.
Wet? Why would she be wet? Holy cow. She’d gotten sick. Continue reading