Baby boomers’ memories. That’s a big piece of BoomerCafé, partly because through these memories, many boomers can relate to others. That’s what we like about this story by Hawthorne, New York’s, Elizabeth Papazian. Do we really have to tell the doctor everything?
When I was a kid, I got nervous about going to the doctor because I’d have to get allergy shots. At least I felt better when my mother took me rather than my father, because my father drove too fast, weaving through traffic all the way.
In the car, my mother reminded me of how lucky I was to have such a fine doctor, one of the first female physicians in the area.
“This is a very exciting time for women, Elizabeth. They can be anything they want to be if they work hard,” she told me with enthusiasm.
It was nice to learn that I could become a doctor, now that I was in middle school and thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Little did I know about the feminist seed my mother was planting.
The waiting room in my doctor’s office was small and cozy, filled with wooden tables covered in worn Highlights magazines and soft comfortable furniture, unlike the hard chairs found in hospital emergency rooms. Glossy posters of the human body with pictures of organs and bones hung on the russet-paneled wall. Sitting in a comfy armchair, I would read one of my favorite books, Are you there, it’s me Margaret?
After I put on the paper gown, I hopped on the table. On the ceiling were bright stickers of stars and small animals. They made me feel safe and calm, especially on those visits when I knew the doctor was going to give me a shot to help me breathe. When she listened to my heart, the stethoscope was always freezing cold and I wished I had the nerve to tell her to warm it up first.
“How are her allergies this month?”, the doctor asked my mom.
“Oh, she’s breathing much better, thanks.”
“Glad to hear it. Remember to watch the dust in the house, and to keep her away from pets.”
Mom gave me a knowing glance and we smiled. I thought about our little black poodle Daisy who was waiting in the car in the parking lot with the window cracked open. I loved how Daisy stuck her head out as we drove and sniffed the fresh air with her wet nose. After I got dressed, I brushed off some of the fur from my pants, hoping the doctor didn’t notice.
I was so excited to get back to the car to hug my Daisy. I thought of the no-pets comment.
“Mom, is it dishonest to not tell the doctor we have a dog?”
“In this situation, it’s perfectly fine to omit a small fact,” she said, smiling.
Now, several decades later, I’m happy that my asthma’s been in remission. As I type, my border terrier Pip hops on my lap. I’ve found that he has become a great muse for my writing. When I take him to the vet, my teenage daughter insists on coming to calm him down. I love how she’s so much like her grandmother.