Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Is there a baker on board?

Everyone's parents do something. Some people's parents are bakers. So growing up you take for granted that at dinner there will be good bread every night and on special occasions very nice pastries (I know that the boulanger is not the same as p√Ętissier but they are connected, if you know what I mean. If your dad is a boulanger then his golfing or tennis buddies must include some p√Ętissiers, no? Just as if your father is an allergist then knows more than a few surgeons.)

You grow up not giving it a second thought. And probably your childhood friends take it for granted too. And then one day, later in life, much later in life, it hits you -- everyone didn't grow up the way you did, with this special luxury.

* * *

Well my parents aren't bakers, though that would be nice. They are doctors, which is also nice. The last time I went to see a regular doctor before this week was in 2002, when I suddenly decided that I need a checkup, since my regular phone calls home did not qualify as such. So I went to see one of my father's medical school friends from his days here in New York. His friend, who I remember when we used to visit NYC as children, is very nicely set up in an East Side brownstone, with his office on the ground floor and living above. Anyway, I went to see him and we chatted for a bit. He used his stethoscope, took my blood pressure and sent me on my way, pronouncing me in excellent health and "say hi to your father..."

* * *

Once I was on a flight when the stewardess actually came on the announcement system and asked "Is there a doctor on board?" I was only 6, but I had seen this on television so I waited and watched my parents. They didn't reach for the call button. I nudged them a bit, and still nothing. It's not that they were going to let a patient die or even suffer. All of this infinite waiting really only lasted a second. They had already motioned to a stewardess and were in consultation. It turns out there several doctors on board and everything was under control.

Some time later, I had a dream (or was it a day dream?). I was on a plane and the stewardess came on the intercom and asked "Is there a baker on board? A gentleman in first class is having some trouble with a crusty bread roll."

* * *

Well this week I realized what it's like to grow up without fantastic dinner rolls every night. I need to see a doctor regarding a problem I've been having -- nothing terrible really, but very annoying. And when it's been going on for 3 months (or is it 6?) you think it might be time to see a doctor. By my parents are in India at the moment, and for immigration reasons I can't travel right now. So I finally (after 3 years) chose an official doctor from my health insurance and went in, in the need of seeing a specialist (or so my father told me I needed).

The doctor wasn't available for 3 weeks, but there was an assistant (resident?) who could see me within 10 days. So I went to see him this week. Initially I was suspicious. I don't want to see the assistant, I want to see the real doctor. Actually it turned out he was really, well there's no other word, cool. Looked a bit like the kid on Scrubs. He agreed that I need to see a specialist without much fuss.

* * *

Imagine if you grow up, begin to live on your own, and then finally realize that most people are in 4-10 week wait lists to have some really nice dinner rolls. Well, there it is, and there I am. I have never waited more than 1 week to see a specialist and now I am told that if I'm lucky they can get me in March. I'm not complaining (well, yes I am), but not in a presumptuous way that I somehow deserve better. But truly I had no idea that the whole world doesn't eat eclairs for breakfast if you see what I mean.

I've always intellectually understood that even for the fortunate health care is a struggle and a matter of anxiety here in the United States, and probably in much of the world, because after all can you really trust a doctor as much as your parents?

Today I resolve that I will never, ever take my dinner rolls for granted again.

BB

9 comments:

Lola Is Beauty said...

hope it's nothing serious BB!

I heard from some doctors that when they ask if there's a doctor on board they always wait to see if they ask a second time and only step up if there isn't another one!

I've never got used to having to go out to buy milk/newspapers - not that my parents had anything to do with either, but there used to be milkmen and we had a paper delivered daily. Such luxury!

Anonymous said...

ok, i stand corrected: you are a contemporary Proust! :)
hope you are ok?!
well...fortunately i live in canada, so i am quite happy with the health care system...
but my parents were neither doctors nor bakers....but there are things, now that i am older, that i realise i totally took for granted! (i hang my head and shake it side to side...)...;)
nancy

Bombay Beauty said...

LIB & Nancy - Thanks for asking - should have been clearer in the post - nothing serious, just a nuisance more than anything... Indeed, so much that I took for granted too. Well, not too late for me to start appreciating!

xo

BB

Anonymous said...

well, glad to know it's just a nuisance, in any case sorry to hear about that...

couldn't agree with you more.
having a doctor in the family is such a great luxury... but even though my father is one, I did have to see other doctors occasionally, but it's like you say, you just don't trust them like you trust your father because, basically, they just don't care that much about you!
having said that, there's another thing that I need to point out.
when you experience some apparently minor health problem, fathers who are also doctors (or mothers, presumably) tend to think you are exaggerating the problem. for example, when I was thirteen and started having trouble reading on the blackboard at school, my father just said "you are just tired". It was only when I started catching the wrong bus home that it dawned upon him that I might actually have some problem. It did turn out that I was as blind as a bat (well, slightly exaggerating here) and of course had to wear extremely thick glasses. The doctor who saw me said that I should have started wearing them years ago. oh well, I've survived...
xxx
Mia

Bombay Beauty said...

Yes, that's exactly it -- for most complaints my parents' suggestion is always the same -- take an ibuprofen and sleep on it -- but every now and then I manage to convince them that something is actually wrong, and on those occasions I get the bread rolls straight from the oven, if I haven't carried this analogy too far... BB

mette/ungt blod said...

my sisters father in law is a doctor and after they had a child they love having him as reference. -so much actully that im beginning to wonder how i will manage if i ever have a kid -not knowing any doctors... well maybe by then my friends who study medicine will be done :) -and I tagged you

Bombay Beauty said...

This is the time to think ahead and ingratiate yourself with medical students! My 6/6 post will come soon! BB

Lola Is Beauty said...

Oh glad to know it's just a nuisance. Mia - now you've reminded me how when I had my tonsils out the consultant said they were so diseased I should have had them out three years before; but because my father worked for a pharmaceutical company they just kept giving me child cough mixture even though I had tonsillitis constantly for five years running...those were the days, cherry flavour amoxycillin.

Bombay Beauty said...

Oh, there was this strawberry flavored medicine I used to love to get... You grow old(er), and medicine just isn't fun anymore... BB

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