So many doctors, so little time


‘I’ve officially turned into an Old Person’

So I’m sitting on one of those crinkly paper thingies in an exam room when the door opens and this incredibly gorgeous woman walks in. Sort of a cross between J-Lo and Giselle Bundchen.

”I’m Doctor Exotic (not her real name)”, she says, extending her hand for a shake.

”You’re the doctor?!?” I exclaim, taking in her voluptuous figure, leopard-print leggings and long glossy locks.

”Yes, I am,” she responded with a blindingly white smile. “Who were you expecting?”

”An old white guy!” was my immediate answer.

Dr. E laughed, then proceeded to point out that more than half of all medical students these days are women. “Oh, I know,” I interjected. “My husband told me. He’s a doctor — an old white guy.”

Two Old White People out on the town — out in Amagansett. One of us is a doctor

This exchange happened during my second doctor’s visit in one day — yesterday. Too many doctor visits on a Tuesday is one of the reasons I’m late with this week’s post. I also needed an idea to write about, and — Silver Lining Time — the doctor visit gave it to me.

So back to how my life is organized around doctor visits and how that’s one of the ways I know I’m officially Old.

Younger Sister Laura and me making a Mom Sandwich. Three guesses which one of us gets mistaken for her sister

Those of you who read my posts regularly (Bless you, one and all!) know that since retirement (“retirement,” hmmm. Another Old Clue) I have essentially relocated from the City to Eastern Long Island. Amagansett, to be exact. I used to come in to the City for two or three days a week to go to classes or museums or plays. Now I still come in two or three days a week — but to go to doctors.

And I’m not the only one. I have a friend (hi, Helen!) who was recently featured in a New York Times article about downsizing. Helen mentions that she and her husband wanted to keep a small apartment in the City for “doctor visits.”

Two Young White People out in Amagansett. Back when I hardly ever hung out with doctors — except on dates

Like Helen, there’s nothing (thank the Health Gods) particularly wrong with me. But I see the dermatologist and the gynecologist and the dentist (all routine) and the endocrinologist and the physical therapist and the pain management specialist (for bone and back issues; the picture at the top of this post is me wearing a contraption prescribed by my neurologist). Oh, and let’s don’t forget the gastroenterologist (for those super-fun colonoscopies).

The only doctor I haven’t seen lately is the ophthalmologist. Mainly because he’s my husband and when I say that I’d like to make an appointment he just says, “Oh, just stop in some time.” Which, of course, never happens.

Oh, and just when you think you’ve caught up with these doctor visits, you get another one added on. It’s kind of like Wac-A-Mole. You cross off a doctor visit, and another one pops up. Yesterday at the gynecologist: “You’re due for a mammogram, I see.” “But I just had a mammogram,” I protested. “That was in January of 2020. At your age you need one every year.”

Me, not with a doctor this time. But at an age when no one ever suggested I get a mammogram. Not even braces

Which brings me (again) to the Age Thing. I am in complete shock to realize that next week I will be celebrating a birthday that is so Big and so Old that I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it. I will have attained an age so great that there aren’t any funny birthday cards for it. No silly rhymes like “Lordy Lordy, look who’s forty.” No sayings like “Fifty is the new thirty.” Nope. It’s just an age that’s — old.

Me, helping someone else celebrate turning The New Thirty

How old? I’m so old now that waitresses mistake me for my mother’s sister. So old that I scare myself when I glimpse my reflection in a store window. So old that, when I announce my age (as I did in Dr. Exotic’s office yesterday) people don’t react at all. Why, just a couple of years ago, if I had to state my age, the response was invariably “Oh my! You certainly don’t look it!” Now? Nothing. Just stone-faced silence.

The last time I celebrated a remarkable Landmark Birthday I was in Florence. Now I’m in Disbelief

But hey. Am I upset about attaining this Great and Venerable Age? No way, Jose. When I start to count up doctor visits and feel sorry-elderly, I just remind myself of what one of The Dude’s friends says: “Every day above ground is a good day.”

Of course, he is an old white guy.

New York City. October 2021



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

16 thoughts on “So many doctors, so little time

  1. Roy Edroso

    Oh, my dear, I’m feeling all of this. “Now? Nothing. Just stone-faced silence.” Elder Status has a lot of annoying downsides. On the other hand, cheap movie tickets!

    • Hah! So glad not to be alone in this, dear Roy. And yes, the cheap movie tickets totally rock. Though it is disconcerting to have the Younger-than-Springtime ticket seller ASK if I want the senior discount. *sigh*

  2. Debi

    Hard subject. But as always you attend to it was such Humour and grace and dignity. I’m trying to just stay away from that three letter word you talk about. I’m going to become very Zen and say I’m timeless 😜

  3. Ruth Meisenheimer

    Alice, you and my sister Judy will always be so much younger than me and very dear to my heart. Hope your birthday is a happy, healthy one!

    • Ah, dear Ruth. Thank you so much for the kind thought and the birthday wishes! Please tell Judy hello from me. I will always remember our Carlyle Lake brochure modeling adventure!

  4. Kate Perry

    Alice – I’m turning 70 on Friday 10/29 and it is so many things ….shocking…dismaying & horrifying among them. I am both in denial and also wish to announce Hey! This is what 70 looks like – thank you Gloria Steinem for saying that about her 50th. How I wish I could be in Europe for this one …thank you Covid. Still grateful tho – things can always be worse.
    Gratitude is better than regret ! Keep on with your great humour Alice !

    • Oh Kate. I remember working with you. Strawberry blonde, lovely face, even lovelier personality. I must admit that I am gratified to learn that you are also turning seventy soon. It just makes me feel better knowing that there is another person I consider lovely and youthful in the same boat as me (!) Crazy, I know. But if you readers don’t get it? Picture yourself turning (gasp) seventy (!)

  5. Jean Ball

    Hi Alice,
    Not sure how I came across this (prob scrolling some ogilvy sights and people) but I really enjoy your humor and writing style! Don’t know if you remember me. I was a research/planner (whatever that was…I wasn’t good at it) at Ogilvy. Left that to become a shrink! Now somehow ended up in phx.
    Anyway, hope your family and you are well.
    Jean Ball (Scheinert)

    • Dear Jean! So glad we found each other after oh so many years. I am impressed — but not surprised — that you were able to finagle your years at Ogilvy into a successful career as a shrink! Good on you (as the Aussies say). Also, so glad you found my blog. Hope you continue to enjoy my ramblings on career and whatnot (!) xoxo

  6. Alice, not wanting to push the auspicious day, but I do want to wish you a Happy Birthday!

    Today is Cousin Jack’s birthday (he and I both have one year — well, I have a year and a half — left till Heavenly Seventy). As Jack said to me today, a number is just that, a number. Meaningless. And I said, until you start answering the phone with the TV remote, or knock on wood for good luck and go answer the door. Or actually need an army of doctors (as I seem to these days).

    Enjoy life….and the doctors too. Our buddies as we age…ah so gracefully.

    • Ah, dear Madeleine! Your message finds me at a most opportune time! Thank you so much for saving me from the brink of despair. Kidding. Well, kinda not. Good to know that there are amazingly attractive incredibly interesting people out there who are also pushing the seventy mark. Thank you!

I'd love to hear from you