The Train of Life Keeps Moving Forward

by Nancy Wurtzel on April 17, 2012

When I was a kid we rarely went to the doctor.  Something had to be broken or one of us knocked unconscious — for a prolonged period — before my mother would toss the afflicted party into the back seat of the car and speed off to the only clinic in town.

That’s right, there was one medical group in our little Minnesota hamlet.  Our family doctor, a general practitioner who delivered me, treated all of us –mom, dad, my two sisters and me.  The town four doctors (all men) practiced together, which made it near-impossible to change physicians should you want to do so.

There was no ‘getting a second opinion’ or requesting your medical record and then discretely moving on to a doctor with a better bedside manner.  You made your choice and you stuck with him because it was a small town and options didn’t exist.

Writing this today, I have to laugh.  I’ve seen so many doctors as an adult that my head spins just thinking about it.

I can’t even count the number of internists and general practitioners I’ve seen over the years and if you add in specialists, well that number spikes pretty high.  Honestly, I’m not THAT picky and I’ve never had a really serious illness.  So why the plethora of docs?

Well, I’ve moved around, unlike my parents who stayed put.  I’m also pretty savvy, so I’m not afraid to change physicians if my symptoms are not being taken seriously.  And, I go to specialists rather than relying on just one doctor to take care of all my medical needs.

So I’m better off, right?  From a technical standpoint, absolutely.  However, there is something to be said about a medical person really knowing you as a person.

My daughter will soon be 18 and we’ll be transitioning to a regular doctor soon.

We’ve grown weary of the incessant cries of the newborn babies, the coughing toddlers stumbling about, the alphabet wallpaper and the dozens of little chairs lining the walls (once so cute!).  Not to mention the germ-infected toys scattered across the waiting room floor (not so cute anymore!).

Lizzie is almost an adult and beyond all that stuff.  We are both beyond all that stuff.  Ready. To. Move. On.

Yet, I’m starting to feel weird.  It’s not that I regret the decision, I just feel odd knowing that we may never again be in her pediatrician’s office.

Another phase in my daughter’s life has passed.  She’s not a kid anymore.  She’s a young adult who is getting ready to go off on her own.

I feel as though I’m on a train, which was once manageable because it lumbered along at a slow and steady rate throughout my daughter’s childhood.  Suddenly the train is moving faster and faster and I can’t seem to get my footing.  Off balance, I desperately want to slow it down, but it’s too late.

Like the train, life keeps moving forward, whether you want it to or not.

Note: I’m traveling for the next few days, and I thought you might enjoy reading one of my early posts.  This one was originally published in late 2010, and I’ve made just a few edits.

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