When I was very little I took it for granted nothing would change, the doctor would always be the doctor, the dentist always the dentist. Becoming an adult meant establishing those relationships all over. My very first “adult” doctor was my husband’s family doctor, Dr. Borland. One of his very first cases was the amputation of my husband’s great grandfather’s leg, and he was pleased as punch to end his career delivering his fifth generation of Noragon’s.
After he retired it was catch as catch can. I’ve always found a shake down period required with a long term doctor. Don’t brush me off, take time to answer my questions, believe me when I tell you a member of staff is rude, and so on. I didn’t get on with Dr. Killian, who replaced Dr. Borland, but he was a good doctor for the children. My oldest daughter still sees the doctor who bought Dr. Killian’s practice.
I concluded a doctor or dentist is, after all, a business proposition. My criteria were ability to come to a mutual understanding and being my age or younger. I was tired of them retiring on me. This actually has worked out quite well, except I look at my primary care physician, with whom I have gone to battle on more than one issue, and think, “My God, she’s reached retirement age. I don’t want to do this all over again!”
This whole train of thought commenced this morning, in the dentist’s office for my twice annual cleaning of the teeth. When the dentist dropped by to check the hygienist’s work she told me the filling between my two front teeth needed replaced.
My mind flashed back to that filling, the last one my parents paid for. I was twenty one, at Dr. Benson’s office in the Rockefeller Building in downtown Cleveland. The pain of the Novocain injection was so incredible that when the filling fell out a few years later I would not let my dentist replace it. I was in my thirties, and the dentist assured me that no Novocain would be involved, the teeth had not deteriorated, the filling merely needed replaced. It was done.
I told Dr. Kate (see how young they are now!) the history of that filling being placed when I was twenty one, losing it, going without, and ten years later finally having it replaced. “I wasn’t even born then,” she remarked, before snapping back to attention and telling me no Novocain would be required this time, either.
Contrasting Dr. Kate with my primary care physician’s age was disheartening this morning. Dr. J definitely was middle aged when I started seeing her twenty years ago. I feel that certified letter coming on, telling me she has retired. I wonder if the next PCP will look over her shoulder when I call her Dr. Real Last Name.