What’s Up Doc?
Posted on November 17, 2014
So, I’ve been having an affair. Well, to be honest, I’m having more than one. You see – I’ve been cheating on my general practitioner for about five years now.
I know that cheaters always say this, but none of this was premeditated. It was an accidental mistake. Is that redundant? I don’t care. It was. I accidentally started seeing two doctors, and now I’m seeing eleven. The problem was that once I started, I couldn’t stop. It was a doctoral addiction to healing my undiagnosed ailments. And when I became bored with western medical practitioners, I began trying alternative ones on for size. I was open to anything: naturopaths, qi gong specialists, new age chiropractors, shamans, Australian gurus, hugging gurus, fairies, wizards, magicians, and everything in between. And what I came to realize over time is that dating doctors in New York City is synonymous with dating men.
Let me explain. One day last month a new disease came in the mail, in an envelope addressed to me. I rarely get mail, so I was excited when I ripped open the envelope with my name hand-written on the front. But to my surprise, I wasn’t receiving a love note from across the seas, but instead a diagnosis from Dr. Larry. “Dear Lisa, you have tested positive for celiac disease.” It was a love letter from the Upper East Side; handwritten by the eleventh doctor I just recently started seeing.
Now, let’s talk a little bit about Dr. Larry. He’s not my usual type. In fact, he’s nowhere near my type at all. I didn’t find him online, and my friends didn’t set us up; my dad did. And there is something you need to know about my dad – he never sets me up with anyone. There’s something else you need to know about my dad – he LOVES Dr. Larry. Actually, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this here, but Dr. Larry has been my dad’s gastroenterologist for over twenty years. Yes, Dr. Larry is a gastroenterologist. And so, I declined seeing him year after year because aren’t gastroenterologists for old people with bowel problems? “Dr. Larry is NOT my type,” I would shout at my dad, over and over again. To which my Dad would reply, “Just give him a chance! Maybe you’ll like the guy.”
The truth is, it wasn’t just because Dr. Larry was into stomachs. It was because I’m more into alternative guys – you know, kinesiologists and acupuncturists. So for me, seeing Dr. Larry was equivalent to dating a member of the Tea Party – ancient and against everything unconventional. But, my Dad kept the pressure on, and the sicker I became, the more desperate I was to find Dr. Right.
I know how it goes in NYC. When you’re single and searching, you have to play the field, so while my pops was putting on the pressure to “Give Dr. Larry a chance,” I was still dating ten others at the time.
The spiritual chiropractor
The barefoot Nigerian Bug juice importer
The NYC Shaman lady
The expensive alternative hip new age-y, as
seen on Dr. Oz, doctor
The acupuncturist who doubled as an actress
The Australian guru songstresses
The lady from Rosy Cheeks Wellness
The old woman who talks with wolves
That doctor who cures trauma by singing
twinkle twinkle little star
And of course, my general practitioner – who I hadn’t seen since 2010
So therein lies the problem: there were too many options. And too many options led to casual encounters, and casual encounters decreased the severity of the relationships. So, let me clarify by saying, I was LOOSELY dating ten doctors at the time. The commitment conversation had yet to come up, or if it did, I would skirt around the issue. Like when the lady from Rosy Cheeks Wellness asked me to schedule my next colonic, I politely replied, “Oh yes! I would love to see you again, but I have to check my schedule.” This is how I seemed interested without having to commit. I like to always keep my options open.
I finally agreed to see Dr. Larry in October, after the continued persuasion by his biggest advocate, my father. As I had assumed, his office was filled with people over the age of seventy, and when I went to check in at the front desk, the nurse gave me a look that I interpreted as, I’m pretty sure you’re not his type. It was my first blind doctor date, and already I was weary of judgment.
Dr. Larry looked younger than I had anticipated, and we spent quite some time talking. He asked me a lot of questions, and when I spoke, he maintained eye contact and I could tell he was really, like really, listening. I quite liked Dr. Larry, but was the feeling mutual?
“You’re a difficult case,” is what he said at the end of the visit. I appreciated his honesty, and as I sat on the cold sterile table, making eye contact with him in my light blue gown (that was open in the back), I had an overwhelming feeling. I felt warm and safe, yet vulnerable. When Dr. Larry put his hand on my shoulder and said, “We’re going to get through this,” it felt like the moment I had been waiting for all my life. Was this my guy?! Was Dr. Larry the one I had been searching for all along?
I don’t have the answers yet, but i’m getting closer. Tomorrow, Dr. Larry will take a look inside of me, witnessing things no doctor has seen before. Some might call this a routine endoscopy, but I like to think of it as a medical journey into the soul. Is he the one? It’s too early to tell. But, I do know this: in the city of endless options, I’ve learned to revel in these moments, and when Dr. Larry looked me in the eyes (while I was wearing my little blue gown) and said, “we’ll get through this,” it sure made this great big apple I call home, a little less sour.