So I called to make my annual checkup appointment with my doctor, a pretty, sensible, and reasonably compassionate young woman from Chicago. The appointment slurdge on the other end of the phone informed me that she had no openings until October. ORLY? IS THAT SO? October. So I said well, NO. Slurdge tapped around on her computer and replied that I could see one of the physician assistants if I wanted to get in earlier. I was so very wanting to get my mams smashed before October, so I said fine, OK, whatever, yas yas. Doesn’t matter. Poke, prod, prod, poke, lift, smash, weigh, urgh. October? Come on now. Work more hours or take fewer patients, sweets.

I thought about being a doctor. I think I would’ve been a good doctor in many ways, and a terrible one in others. I like biology, I have a good memory, am interested in medicine, and affable, conscientious, and compassionate. However, I hate the crap – literal and figural -- that comes out of people and would flinch badly to hear their disgusting complaints. You really don’t want to be confessing some awful malady to your doctor and have him or her wince and say, “Oh, shit, that is vile, I gotta go! Good luck! EWWW!” I would’ve been too blunt with some people (“You are out of breath not because of the humidity, you are out of breath because you smoke and are 295 pounds! FACE IT!”). Or more likely, I would be reasoned and moderate to all in my practice, then would go home and smash plates for several hours. I would work tirelessly to solve everyone’s problems, and stay up all night every night looking for the answer if I could not. I would become Zombie Doctor, living on coffee and medical journals. When you are expected to be God, you have to put in a good effort.

What happens to those in the medical profession, I gather, is to compartmentalize. Physician, heal thyself! Oh, sure. I know a few. They all have some little, or big, spring loose. Smoke. Overweight. Obsessive. Unfeeling. Drunk. Workaholic. It’s too much. Everyone expects too much. Even to be able to get into the office before October. Bah. Obviously, you can’t fix everyone or everything, and of course then everyone dies at some point, which is like the Big Doctor Fail. People dying on you is not so good, Especially if they DIE RIGHT ON YOU, and you have to move them. So you have to build up walls, boundaries, tell yourself you did the best you could. There is a loss in that, a piece of your humanity gone to keep you from going crazy. In the end, that was the biggest problem for me. I wasn’t willing to cut off feeling for function.

I am sure whatever physician assistant I see will be just fine. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Say ahhhh.