Tag Archives: doctor

How are you?

cat how are youWhen the nurse is taking me back to the cubicle where I will be imprisoned until the doctor drops by, he or she always asks. “How are you today?”  That question always stumps me.  My first thought is to scream, “I’m at the doctor’s office.  How do you think I feel?”  However, I do possess a thin veneer of courtesy and say, “Fine, thank you.  How are you?”

Then I sit in the little room and ponder that question.    Finally I decide the nurse is not really  asking for a health report. “How are you?” is a  polite social convention which really doesn’t demand an honest answer, only recognition that the rules have been applied and accepted.   Yes, I may be throwing up on the nurse’s feet, but I answer, “Fine.”  I may be doubled over in pain or spouting blood from every orifice, but that’s not what the nurse is asking.   The nurse is simply recognizing that I’m there and my answer merely says, “Thank you.”

But the question came up again six months ago  and again I had to work out what others were saying,  Only minutes after George died, one of our ministers asked, “How are you doing?”  My mouth dropped open.  I wanted to shout, “How do you think I feel?  They joy of my life is gone.”  I didn’t of course but had no good answer.  People asked that over and over in the months after George’s death and, every time, I thought, “You have to know how I feel.”  But I didn’t say that.  “As well as can be expected,” I’d say and that was the truth.  But why did they ask?  comforting friendsDidn’t they know?

Again I realized that, yes they all knew I hurt.  That question meant, “I care about you but I don’t know what to say.”  It meant, “He was my friend and I hurt.  How are you doing?”  It meant so many things my friends and George’s didn’t know how to ask, what words to use.  And thanks to all those friends and ministers and family members, I’m doing fine, sort of.  Thank you for asking.






Who cares how the game ends?


As I watched the end of the NFL game last night–Houston won on a field goal as time ran out–I saw something that made me laugh.  As soon as the ball went through the goal posts, a San Diego fan   grabbed the hand of a child and ran up the stairs toward the exit.  I know exactly what the man was thinking.  “We have to get out ahead of the crowd.”   I know that because that’s what my father would have said.  Actually, my father and I wouldn’t have been there that late in the game.  We would have left sometime in the middle of the fourth quarter,  to beat the traffic.

Dad was a very busy doctor.  He practiced in the fifties and actually made housecalls.   He was not a patient man.  I’ve inherited that trait from him but he had a better reason to be impatient.   He had gazillions of patients and the idea of sitting in a traffic jam when he should be at the hospital or on the phone (no cells back then) bothered him greatly.

So, we never saw the end of any athletic event.  I remember once sitting in Roys and Rays, a Kansas City hamburger place, listening to the A’s coming from behind and winning in the bottom of the ninth. 

We did see the end of plays or musicals but as soon as the plot was all tied up and with only a few notes of the final song being reprised, we were on our feet, long gone by the time the curtain fell and the curtain calls began.   imagesCAI0E38T

But the important part is that he was there.  The family went together to football in Lawrence, KS.  He took me to Kansas City Blues baseball games before Kansas City had a major league team and to basketball at KU.   So what if we left early?  We were there, together.  Thanks, Dad!