This happened to me
How a Routine Physical Turned Into a Lifetime Movie Script Idea
Last year, I started seeing a new doctor…a doctor I liked so much I started calling him “Dr. Wonderful.” I started taking my children to see him (he specializes in family medicine), and I even talked my husband into making him his primary care physician (my husband is notorious for not going to see doctors — EVER).
What makes this doctor so wonderful is that he’s from Cuba, where they practice seriously good preventive care. And he makes that very much a part of his practice here in the United States. Plus, he really, sincerely cares about his patients more than he does the money…and that’s a rare thing these days.
So, how did a fabulous doctor/patient relationship turn into a dark Lifetime movie script idea?
It all started when I went with my husband to his initial visit with “Dr. Wonderful.” The visit was over, and he was walking with us down the hallway. He stopped suddenly and turned to me and said, “When was the last time I saw you?”
“I was here a couple of weeks ago with my daughter,” I replied.
He shook his head. “No, for a physical.”
I shrugged. “I don’t even know.”
“Schedule one on the way out,” he said.
“Okay,” I said. My husband and I both agreed later that I’m way too compliant…especially when caught off guard. And I totally was caught off guard by that encounter.
But I went to the reception desk and made an appointment anyway.
Since my appointment was going to be for a yearly physical, I had to fast for 8 hours beforehand. That meant no breakfast. And I don’t do well cognitively when I don’t eat breakfast.
The doctor was pretty busy that morning, so I had to wait for almost an hour before I got to see him. That meant 12+ hours without food. I could feel my brain cells dozing off, one by one.
He finally came in and asked the usual questions. And then he started asking about what I do for a living, and I told him I quit working at the daycare and started back freelance writing and editing.
“What do you edit?” he asked.
“Mostly academic papers for journal articles.”
“Oh,” he said, and his face registered interest.
I’m sure he’s read his fair share of journal articles. I smiled.
Then he put his hand on my knee, briefly.
I thought that was kind of weird, but it wasn’t nearly as weird as what came next.
“When was your last pap smear?” he asked.
“Oh, it’s been seven years,” I said. I knew he was going to mention that.
“We can do that today if you want,” he said.
“Wait. What? You can do that here?”
He nodded. “Yes.”
“Uh, okay,” I said. I wasn’t prepared for that. I was prepared for him to refer me to an OB/GYN or something, but I wasn’t prepared for him to say HE could do it.
My food-starved brain was only half processing the conversation. All it could think about was how it was cool that I wouldn’t have to schedule yet another appointment or meet yet another new doctor or pay another copay. It seemed like a very good, economical decision.
It wasn’t the best psychological decision.
See, I’ve had some really bad sexual experiences with men. Men have used and abused me, and I’ve let them because, as my husband noted, I’m overly compliant.
I want to say here that I don’t think my doctor did anything wrong. He was completely professional and was just being his usual caring, preventive-minded self. And if he ever reads this and identifies himself in it, I’m sure he’ll be mortified and completely apologetic.
Because he’s not a creep.
Obviously, I’m still in the process of healing from those past emotional scars. It’s my brain that’s creepy.
I’ve had pap smears before. I’ve given birth to two children via C-section. I’ve had doctors look at me and literally turn my organs inside out. But those doctors were straight women. They weren’t attractive, heterosexual males who weren’t very much older than I am; i.e., potential sexual partners, given different circumstances.
He tried to make the whole pelvic exam as non-creepy as possible, which, for some weird reason, made my brain register it as being even creepier.
“Let me know if it hurts,” he said. “Tell me to stop, and I will.”
Yeah, I’ve heard that one before.
He had a female assistant in the room too — maybe to protect himself, maybe to try to help me feel better. Who knows?
She was watching my face. My face always gives me away. “Are you okay?”
I laughed slightly. “Yes, I’m okay. Just a little uncomfortable.” And only part of that was physical discomfort.
“It’s going to be a little uncomfortable,” he said from down at my nether regions. “But it will be over soon. Just take a deep breath in and out.”
Oh, could you just please quit talking?
When it was over, he told me to get dressed, and he said he’d come back in and talk to me.
What could there possibly be to talk about after that?
He came back in a few minutes later and said, “Everything looks good.”
I wasn’t sure if he was talking about my test results (they couldn’t be back yet, could they?) or my body. I smiled, nodded, and started to walk out the door.
“So, we’ll get you to the lab for the blood test now,” he said.
“Okay,” I said. “Should I go back out that way, or — ?”
“I’ll walk you there.”
“Okay.” No, this isn’t weird at all. Most of my other one-night stands just dropped me off at the door and hightailed it out of there. And, even as I had the thought, I realized how unfair it was of me to compare this caring, thorough doctor to my past a$$hole sexual partners.
Then, when we got to the door to the lab, he turned to walk away and said, “You just come back and see me whenever you need to.”
I nodded and sighed in relief as the door closed behind me. And that’s when the whole Lifetime movie script idea came to me.
The hand on the knee (he’s Cuban; they’re touchy-feely; he probably meant nothing by that at all), the thorough exam (he’s thorough; it’s one of the things I like about him; why did I let it seem so creepy?), the offer to come back anytime (he’s caring; again, one of the things I like about him; oh, how quickly our perceptions can get skewed)…
My writer’s imagination ran away from me, and this is what it came up with.
A Lifetime movie character would take the doctor up on that offer and make up almost daily excuses as to why she needed to see him. With each visit, she’d get a little more familiar and forward with him. And then, depending on what kind of man the doctor was, the movie could go one of two ways. He could either reciprocate, and it would turn into a raunchy breach of both the marital covenant and the patient-doctor relationship. Or, he could try to shut down the advances, then she would turn into a crazy psycho b!t$h, and would stalk and try to kill him.
I choose to think of my doctor as the latter type of man (although I have decided to stop thinking of him as “Dr. Wonderful,” because that’s suddenly developed a super creepy connotation). And, from now on, my husband is going to have to accompany me to every doctor’s visit. That will hopefully help me feel more comfortable, because right now I’m praying I don’t get sick again for a VERY long time. Just the thought of looking that doctor in the face after he’s looked me in the you-know-what gives me the creeps.
In the meantime, I need to start working on pitching that movie script. I bet it would be a hit…