By Meredith Turner Chapman
It never ceases to amaze me how inconsiderate people in general can be, but more specifically, people you think should know better, especially highly trained, skilled, health care professionals, namely doctors. There is a lot to be said for being considerate. I have been unlucky two times in a row in my choice of female doctors who practice on Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island. I chose them specifically because I thought they would be more empathetic as women with regard to women’s issues and aging. Was I wrong! I tell my story because I want to raise awareness about some sensitive issues particular to women. Three years ago, I changed doctors because I went in for my annual check-up at a local Family Practice. I noticed new pamphlets in the waiting room – my doctor’s office was now promoting Botox in a Family Practice! There are problems with this on so many levels, but this is the reality of our healthcare-for-profit system. Can you imagine the conversation with your child? “Mommy, what is this for?” Have fun explaining this procedure to your eight-year-old, especially if she is a girl! The multi-billion dollar beauty industry gets its hooks into women early, and it’s getting worse. Now you feel insecure whether you are young or old. Here is the cruel statement my doctor made. I walk in the office for my check up, and she points to my forehead. “We can do something about those wrinkles.” She hands me a card which advertises facial procedures; she tells me to mention that she sent me. Can you imagine how I felt at that moment? Of all people, why would a woman doctor, who is aging just as I am ask me this question out of the blue? Answer: money. I find this sickening and a true reflection of an age in which we are far too focused on the exterior and fail to develop our interior life. It is a sad state of affairs. So I changed doctors and went to see a new woman doctor recently for my annual check-up. This year I turned fifty. She told me I was obese. I was stunned into silence and later at home, I cried. Maybe I’m twenty pounds overweight, but obese! The strange thing is she appeared to take pleasure in telling me this because she smiled as she told me. We all know we are getting older, and some of us try to do it with grace and dignity, but we have so many forces working against us at every turn. People feel bad enough without their doctors dumping on them. Let’s keep this in mind and teach the next generation to be kind; it’s that simple.