Say What?

 Quizical giraffe. 

“Why don’t you start doing Botox and microdermabrasion, expand your service line?” The older fellow, the group’s “lead” physician folded his hands across the desk from me.

“Because I am not a dermatologist.”

“There are plenty of family medicine people doing it.” He was referring specifically to a family physician that was not in our group but who practiced in our community. I had patients switching to me as their PCP, complaining they had gone in for an ear infection and were pressured to have Botox. “Just go to a seminar and learn how. You are a woman, you would be very popular…”

“I would have gone into dermatology if that was how I wanted to practice medicine. AND, just because I can does not make it right.” Not to mention the fact that I already had more patients than I could handle.

“Fine. Just think about it.”

I ended up leaving that group for many reasons, that being one of them…

Aside from the fact that I do not feel comfortable doing something that is not really in my purview, I did not want more pressure on how I looked. 

Real things people have said to me:

“You look a lot better than your photo.” Um, thank you?

“You need to go back to your old hairstyle.” The last patient liked it.

“I hate that outfit.” I actually felt really pretty in this.

“Maybe you should get your nails done? Those cuticles need to be pushed back.” Touché.

“Have you thought about wearing more make-up?” Ouch.

“You should go to contacts. Those glasses make you look ten years older.” Touché again.

“Is your hair purple?” NO!

“You should wear a white coat.” Ok.

“You should stop wearing a white coat.” Ok.

“You have gained some weight, Doc.” Actually, I just had a baby about six weeks ago.

Some days I am really grateful that I am in family practice. I cannot imagine the pressure that plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and bariatric surgeons feel. Hell, I am glad I am not married to one of them, either. I can imagine the pressure on the female spouse is probably just as great if not more so….

And on that note, have a great weekend!


105 thoughts on “Say What?

  1. I can’t imagine anyone having the nerve to say something that personal to his or her physician. How you dress, do your hair, or whether or not you wear makeup is really no one’s business so long as you’re competent. But maybe that’s just me.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. There are at least two gynecologists in my town offering Botox. Initially I thought that seemed a little weird, although it’s probably very common. I’d feel safer seeing a dermatologist or other related specialist for that kind of procedure. (If I could afford it, haha!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bwahaha! The background noise of the universe Victo. It burbles and murmurs continually presenting every possible opinion and it’s directly contradictory spin partner simultaneously, Ha! When you get that, be assured that you are sitting on the bedrock of existence and will miss nothing. On a CB there is an adjustment knob called squelch that lowers the sensitivity of the receiver to eliminate that noise.It is everywhere in all applications in the universe from the song of the celestial bodies to human thought. Do be aware that to make sure you catch what is important you will always get a bit of that – to adjust it out completely is to chance missing an important fact or communication – from an individual, from destiny or from the universe. “And the piano sounds like a carnival and the microphone smells like a beer.” – Billy Joel

    Colin Powell is one of my heroes. When he was a General and head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he gave a presentation on Leadership that is now considered historic. I have a copy of that presentation and Lesson 2 reads:

    “The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the
    day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost
    confidence that you can help them or concluded that you
    do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”

    And he elaborates:

    “If this were a litmus test, the majority of CEOs would fail. One, they build so
    many barriers to upward communication that the very idea of someone lower
    in the hierarchy looking up to the leader for help is ludicrous. Two, the
    corporate culture they foster often defines asking for help as weakness or
    failure, so people cover up their gaps, and the organization suffers accordingly.
    Real leaders make themselves accessible and available. They show concern
    for the efforts and challenges faced by underlings, even as they demand high
    standards. Accordingly, they are more likely to create an environment where
    problem analysis replaces blame.”


    Liked by 1 person

    • So because people feel free to be critical of my appearance, I have fostered an environment which allows patients to safely bring their other medical concerns to me? Well, then. I will have to look at this in a more positive light, then.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Absolutely. You do not have to let personal comments stand unanswered but on the flip side remember the lack of fear and the openness that must exist for most people to even make such comments. Most doctors I know have the squelch knob so far back that not only do I not feel comfortable making any comment at all for fear of recrimination, I am hesitant to even discuss my medical issues. You have the right atmosphere Victo (the hard part), just adjust the individuals so they know that negative personal comments are frowned upon. Believe it or not, what you are experiencing does,indeed, signal the achievement of an openness and communication that is rare and to be cherished. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Gosh, what next—drive-thru Botox treatments? “Here, stick your head out the window so I can shoot you up.” My dermatologist is wonderful (I had a melanoma about nine years ago and have to have skin checks yearly.) She doesn’t push any of that stuff and actually gets a little peeved with women who come in and fuss over every little wrinkle, when it’s their personalities that could use a little ironing out. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Wow! I cannot imagine critiquing the looks of my doctor. I like her for her ability to practice medicine, for not speaking to me like I’m an idiot, for making me better when I’m ill…not for her ability to accessorize. We still have so far to go as a society.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m highly entertained by the replies. I don’t care what my doc looks like as long as he or she takes me seriously. Not my place to judge their appearance. Not interested in Botox even though I’ve developed that deep V between the brows from my stressful year, so now I walk around looking surprised all the time to make them less noticeable! HA! Treat me like a person and I will do the same. Thank you to all the professionals that go above and beyond. There are far too few of you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been pressured by opthamologists and opticians to have my eyelids “done.” People I’ve never seen before who don’t even know that I’ve ALWAYS had a droopy eyelid (it’s a family heirloom). Besides, I am 63. No, I don’t think it’s the most beautiful age for me physically, but I like reality.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. (Snorts a “ha!”) Someday they’ll make a chip that requires people to have a license to open their mouths… Until then, you’re not alone.
    Not long ago I was so frustrated by the “encouragement” from a coworker-friend… telling me i was too old and too fat and wore colors, so of course no one would hire me. (Though that did nothing to answer my complaint that i couldn’t get interviews — those people haven’t seen my fat wrinkled colorful glory.) Heck, if she had been any more encouraging I might have jumped off the building…
    Some people… Mega hugs my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I find this shift in medicine, even for dermatologists, to be unfortunate. It makes me trust doctors, particularly dermatologists, less. I have a hard time considering dermatologists to be ‘real’ doctors, despite the fact that some do a lot of real doctoring. Skin cancer is no joke. However, it is hard to take someone who peddles Botox seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here are plenty of legit reasons to use Botox. Neurologists use it for migraines and spasticity. Colorectal surgeons use it to relax the rectal spinster to help fissures heal. Using Botox even for cosmetic reasons is not inherently evil. But if you are going to use it, make sure it is with someone who really knows what they are doing. This sort of thing is by far a minority so don’t let a few bad eggs ruin your whole view of medicine. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know it was probably just a case of overactive auto-correct, but I had to smile at “rectal spinster.” That just conjures up all kinds of images and connotations, most of them unprintable. Beats the heck out of “old maid,” though! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hah! “Here” was also supposed to be “there”. Stupid autocorrect! It also butchered Tim Hunt’s name in my previous post but unlike that one, I think I will leave this autocorrect intact because as you point out, it is much funnier. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I was away, and when I came back, both your last posts are really about sexism!
    And you were right to leave. Plus the other bon mot-it is not even funny, and it is patronising.
    What did he do when ” the girls” criticised him? Yelled? Left the room?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. When I received an email from my family physician advertising that she was conducting her semi-annual Botox treatments, she lost some credibility in my mind. Before I read your above response to another comment, I tended to equate Botox with dangerous and unnecessary medicine. But even so, she’s a family physician, and not a specialist. Anyway, I have a different family physician now.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I would have asked that adviser if he realized he was talking about what was once called the “noble profession” and not some grocery store that could start selling another kind of Kale while they were at it. You left that group, I left practice altogether.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree about Victo. But female strangers feel free to make these unsolicited comments to others with whom they have no relationship. In my life, I have had:

    more than once, total strangers touch my belly and ask me when I was due;

    more than once, in a bathroom, strangers quietly suggest I get my teeth professionally cleaned and bleached (they are permanently stained by Tetracycline, which bleaching cannot correct);

    more than once, strangers ask me if my hair color is my own, or first touch one of my braids and THEN ask if those are my own.

    Liked by 1 person

      • It is interesting to me that these are all part of that “have had”. Since moving back to Southern Cal in 2012, I have had a flood of compliments from strangers, as if I am a different person. It is most welcome and at the same time disconcerting–why now? Why not before? I just said to a fellow blogger yesterday, who is touched daily by strangers on her beautiful tattoos, that no one any longer touches my braids–why no longer? I think the secret is that I now look older and thicker and (this sounds conceited, but) less threatening. As someone who never knew she was considered good-looking, this was hard to accept, but I recently have realized many women hated or envied me for how I looked–some consciously, others not. When I was young and very slim, more hate or envy. Now, I am safer to ignore or admire. It is hard to say that, for I see a dumpy figure and an average or ugly face that sometimes looks better on a good day with makeup, but I know from the reaction of some men and women that even with crepey skin and lip lines, they see better than that.

        Add my flat-affect Aspie expression (“resting b#tch face”)–this could have brought on the desire to take me out that inspired all of those helpful comments when I was younger. Just guessing, mind you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Actually those are fascinating posts. Today’s was particularly poignant, trying to take care of a newborn through a flair. People do not have enough appreciation for the destruction and suffering that can come from lupus.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think I was fishing for a compliment–perhaps I was, subconsciously, though. Whatever the case, I am thoroughly pleased by this one from you–particularly because I had such a difficult time, for whatever reason, writing this one post and being satisfied with it (I am still not 🙂 . Thank you so much, Victo.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I must confess to having asked my doctor whether they liked poetry and on hearing she did providing her with a free copy of my book, “Dalliance”. I guess that wasn’t to personal a question though! Being blind I have had some really personal questions one of which went along the lines of “why don’t you find yourself a nice blind girl?” My instinct was to tell the asker to mind their own business. However I patiently explained that just because I was blind it didn’t mean that I was automatically attracted to blind women. My blindness does not define me. Its a component of who I am but there is much more to me than being visually impaired!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your doctor was probably very happy to receive a copy of the book! I love getting to see the creative side of my patients. It is easy for us to just see the diseases and forget the humanity. I bet people do feel freer asking/commenting on personal issues with you than they would some other person off the street. I am not sure why that is, but it is as if being different makes you an open target or magnet of sorts. I have observed the phenomenon often… I admire you for handling it so gracefully. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: My Article Read (6-14-2015) | My Daily Musing

  16. You’ve got to get tons of work to be a plastic surgeon yourself- so why even bother! At least that’s the plastic surgeons here on Long Island. I once saw a male plastic surgeon(the top one in NY) that had lip injections…Why?!

    Liked by 1 person

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